Crises In Africa’s Libya And Zimbabwe: Time To Replace Failed AU & UN With New Int’l Bodies
(Intersociety, Nigeria: 3th December 2017)-The political and humanitarian crises rocking the African Continent especially the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Libya and recent political crisis in Zimbabwe clearly point to the fact that the United Nations and the African Union have totally failed Africans and the world in general. That the two international organizations still sit by and watch agents of evil and destruction to wreck havoc on Africa and the world is saddening and alarming. Time is therefore ripe for invocation of doctrine of necessity at regional and international scenes; by ousting the two failed bodies and replacing them with new ones capable of meeting the aspirations and expectations of the global community especially in the areas of security, peace, human rights, development and democratization.
Nature has always provided an alternative or replacement to failed international system especially in modern times or since the era of Holy Roman Empire which ended with a devastating civil war of 1618-1648 and replaced by Holy Alliance; later followed by the Concert of Europe, to the League of Nations and present United Nations. In Africa, the Berlin Conference or formalization of western colonization in Africa and demarcation of colonial boundaries served as core foundation upon which the Organization of African Unity-a post independence regional body was formed in 1963; for the purpose of ending colonialism, among others.
Formation of regional or international grouping is powerfully driven by aspirations, expectations and visions and whenever these become unrealized, replacement of such regional body such as AU and international body such as UN becomes inevitable. This was the case with the Concert of Europe when it failed to meet its foundational targets. Its failure threw up worries and concerns leading to formulation of the famous 14-point program for the formation of the League of Nations, espoused by one of the then world’s respected leaders- President Woodrow Wilson of the United States; leading to its official formation on 10th January 1920 with 58 member-States as at 1935.
Yet, when the League of Nations (LN) failed in its core duties especially its inability to prevent and manage the Second World War (1939-1945), the world became worried and agitated, leading to rise in agreement by international legal personalities and respected persons including then leaders of China (modern day Taiwan), USSR, US and UK, and later France.
The formation of UN originally started with a joint declaration in USA by the leaders of US and UK made in August 1941-the Atlantic Charter. The “United Nations” was coined by then US President-Franklyn Roosevelt, whose wife-Elisabeth later chaired an 18-member UN committee that gave birth to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR) on 10th December 1948. While UN formally came into existence on 24th June 1945 with 51 member-States, the League of Nations was formally dissolved on 18th April 1946. The peak of UN achievement was in 2001 when it won a Nobel Peace Award.
We had on 21st and 22nd September 2017 raised an international advocacy alarm; stating clearly that UN is speedily leading the world back to the cave and must rewind or face extinction. Today, UN is still facing seeming intractable decimation; owing to its gross incompetence; with political and humanitarian challenges of intractability enveloping the world especially in its troubled regions. The threats of perilous nuke warfare has steadily reared its ugly head from Tehran to Pyongyang; and from Tel Aviv to Sinai Peninsula; with UN folding its hands, sitting by and doing nothing. The only thing Africans and the world can make out of present AU and UN are “issuance of statement of condemnation and sharing of foods, drugs and clothing” in the event of eruption of complex humanitarian emergencies or widespread violent conflicts.
Specifically and sadly, the UN and the AU are sitting by and watching idly the African Continent going up in flames with floodgate of political and humanitarian crises. A clear case in point is the resurgence of neo Atlantic Slave Trade and Egyptian Saladin-like human cannibalism in the battered Republic of Libya. Through the same gross incompetence of UN and AU, Libya was allowed to slip into turmoil and failed State after being under Ghadafi’s iron grip for 44 years or 1967-2011. It may also be most likely correct to say that Libya presently hosts several training grounds for hard line Islamists or terror groups. It is recalled that prior to its 2011 internal violence, Libya earned notoriety as Africa’s most weaponized and radical Islamism friendly country. It was also fingered in several coups and violent uprisings in some African countries.
Libya is presently one of Africa’s most lawless countries and criminality markets; and a safest haven where human parts, human beings, illicit drugs and small arms and light weapons are traded or bought and sold. Libya also plays host to Africa’s criminally minded and greedy nationals who survive on sundry beyond border criminal activities including prostitution and trafficking in illicit drugs, arms, persons and human parts as well as illegal border crossings into Europe. The number of Africans including Nigerians dying yearly while attempting to cross Mediterranean Sea into Europe is shocking and alarming. The country is a major smuggling route into West and Central Africa for forbidden drugs and arms.
Further, out of Africa’s 55 member-States, more than 30 are unstable or engulfed in political leadership propelled internal uprisings, sit tight or dictatorship, mass poverty, violent conflicts, diseases and widespread under-development. Through gross incompetence and failure of UN and AU, African leaders stay and perpetuate themselves in power or office by maximally exceeding their tenures of office and resorting to violent crackdown and other repressive policies and conducts against their sleeping and agitating populations; leading to their retaliations by way of violent uprisings including asymmetric warfare of terrorism and other attributes of divided societies.
Through the same gross incompetence and failure of UN and AU, the same African leaders who breed terrorism and instability are the same people attending anti terror conferences in Paris, Berlin, New York, Riyadh, Muscat, Washington DC, London, Brussels, Vienna, Hague, Addis Ababa, Abidjan and Amman. These breeders of terrorism, mass poverty, political exclusion and instability are on the same page with western countries and their leaders who manufacture and sell small arms and light weapons or consent to same to Africans to kill themselves; in return for blood dollars; only to take over the helm of affairs of bodies for “humanitarian aids and post conflict reconstruction” in African conflict zones.
A case of Zimbabwe is tragically a reference point. The Zimbabwean case was one of the reasons why African Union (AU) was formed or transformed from the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on 26th May 2001 and launched on 9th July 2002; with 14 core objectives including promoting peace, security, and stability on the continent; promoting democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance; promoting and protecting human and peoples’ rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other relevant human rights instruments; promoting sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies; promoting co-operation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of African peoples; and working with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent.
Till date, none of these 14 core objectives of AU has been fully realized. Comparatively speaking, the defunct OAU extensively achieved its formation aims and objectives especially in the area of ensuring that all African countries under colonialism got their independence. But in the case of AU, it has remained a monumental failure since official birth on 9th July 2002. Apart from failing to stabilize African Continent democratically and in the area of human rights, the AU’s boast of ensuring $65billion annual direct foreign investment (FDI) into Africa is a mirage and grossly unrealizable. Contrarily, the 55 member-States of AU and their sub national entities have notoriously earned the status of Highly Indebted Poor Countries; with Nigeria under Muhammadu Buhari leading the way in local and foreign borrowings.
The central Government of Nigeria has now been joined in borrowing spree by most, if not all its sub national entities or States; whereby Cross River State, for instance, recently made a hyper loan infested 2018 budget presentation of over N1.3trillion or $4.1billion. This is a State with annual non debts economy of less than N200billion or $650million and with existing cumulative debts of over N300billion. In its totality, it is safe to say that the $65billion annual (FDI) target of AU has now become “$65billion annual debts inflows target” for African Union. That is to say the present total annual local and foreign borrowings of the 55 member-States of AU and their sub national entities may most likely be in the neighborhood of the same $65billion.
Allowing or consenting to perpetuation in office of African leaders; by AU and UN is the worst crime against Africans and the world. Longest serving African leaders now rule as long as they want and only step down in accordance with their whims and caprices; with UN and AU watching and doing nothing. In the case of Angola, former life President Jose Eduardo dos Santos who had been in power since 1979, willingly ceded power in a makeshift presidential poll of August 2017; leading to handing over of power to his handpicked new President Joao Lourenco.
In Republics of Gabon, Togo and Congo DRC, sons of their former dictators were elevated and made presidents in 2008, 2005 and 2001 respectively. They have since perpetuated their stay in office with makeshift polls. Several other African leaders have long outstayed their tenures; but refused to step down. In all these, AU and UN are looking the other side; waiting for those countries to go up in flames before shedding crocodile tears.
Military incursion into African politics; declared as a taboo by AU, has bounced back with a change of style of diarchy form; with tacit support of AU and UN. We saw it in Mauritania and Burkina Faso; with AU and UN saying and doing nothing and now it has reared its ugly head in Zimbabwe and the AU and UN are silent again. Except ZANU-PF, nothing is heard of Zimbabwean Parliament; to the extent that 22 ministers were appointed without recourse to the Parliament; suggesting that Zimbabwean constitutional and democratic order is on the brink. This is more so when the country’s army and air force chiefs are now made “foreign and lands ministers” while still in their military fatigues.
We therefore make bold to say that AU and UN have outlived their usefulness and collective importance to Africans and the world. It is time for internationally respected persons and legal others to return to the drawing board and come up with alternative regional and world organizations for the replacement of the present AU and UN. Due to gross incompetence and failure of AU and UN, African Continent has remained a conflict, misery and poverty prone frontline in the world. Little progress made in the area of democracy and human rights has dashed. Democratic leadership has brutally eluded the Continent; to the extent that for years running, no African president has won the prestigious Mo Ibrahim Award for Leadership; with a staggering $5m cash value.
Specifically, the living winners of Nobel Peace Prize for leadership and winners of similar awards at international levels as well as internationally respected former statesmen and women and democracy, law and human rights experts and members of the world academy of sciences are respectfully called upon to congregate and aggregate so as to fashion out ways of bringing new regional and international groupings into existence for their immediate takeover of the functions of AU and UN. It is our warning that members of the global community must no longer sit idly and allow Africa and the world to be left in the hands of incompetent regional and international groupings or bodies.
Owing to a truism that Africa and the world are facing the greatest threats in the hands of agents of evil and destruction; relentless efforts and bold steps must be made and taken to rescue the global community; in part or wholly before its becomes too late and irreversible. The triumph of evil and its agents is as a result of the idleness of good men and women or their decision to do or say nothing!
Emeka Umeagbalasi, Board Chairman
Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety)
Mobile Line: +2348174090052
Barr Ndidiamaka Bernard
Head, Int’l Justice & Human Rights Program