Tanzania Challenges AU to Focus On Solving Continent's Problems


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Nov 6, 2010

[h=1]Tanzania Challenges AU to Focus On Solving Continent's Problems[/h]
Paul Amoru8 October 2011

Johannesburg — The indecisiveness and internal contradictions within the African Union has resulted in the proliferation of wars and conflicts in Africa and exposed the continent to external interference, Tanzania's representatives to the Pan African Parliament (PAP) have said.

Engineer Hamad Yussuf Masauni and Mr Stephen Julius Masele, in reference to the Libyan conflict, also accused the United Nations of negating its duties and leaving Africa at the mercy of NATO.

Eng Masauni described western governments as insincere. "Western governments have double standards and breathtaking hypocrisy when it suits them in propping up some of the most hideous and undemocratic regimes in Africa and elsewhere in the world. What I am however concerned about for now is the relevance of the African Union in finding lasting solutions to Africa's problems," he said and added: " The major weakness of AU is its inability to be proactive rather than reactive to spontaneous conflict situations in Africa."

During the intense deliberations, his counterpart Mr Masele said: "Mr President, I am very concerned with the way UN is handling issues and conflicts in Africa. Apparently, the UN has failed to perform its duties thereby leaving all the major and crucial decisions to be taken by NATO."
He cautioned AU to be more cohesive, lest it loses relevance in the Affairs of the African people, and described the UN as becoming functionless. "As a young leader, I am very sad, afraid and also getting worried about the future of Africa. It would be very unfortunate if AU followed the UN steps," the Tanzanian representative added.

The MPs implored members of PAP to intensify efforts to pressurise AU to make stronger statements with regard to the problems of Africa. For his part, Mr Luhaga Joelson Mpina observed that AU's seeming lack of independence is caused by poor funding rendering the institution needy and toothless.

"Africa Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) whose role is to deal with prevention, management and resolution of conflict in Africa is getting funds to finance at least 90 per cent of its budget from the European Development Fund (EDF)," Mr Mpina said, adding that however poor Africa is, its leadership should not allow the funding of its programmes on peace and security to be financed by western powers.

The MPs were responding to the State of the African Union address, sent by Mr Jean Ping, the chairperson of the AU Commission, for plenary discussion by the Pap's fifth ordinary session which reopened at Midrand in South Africa last Monday.

PAP is the legislative arm of the AU, constituted by elected Members of Parliament from across Africa. Mr Ping, who sent a written statement, had, however, raised among other challenges the issues of security, service delivery, good governance and the rule of law which he urged Pap to address. The Parliament still suffers legislative limitations limiting it merely to an advisory organ.

However, Pap is now seeking to redefine its role at a time when AU's credibility and image has suffered severely over its perceived indecisiveness in the handling of the recent political standoff in Ivory Coast and Libya, among others.

During the debate, Uganda's leader of delegation, Ms Cecilia Atim Ogwal, also challenged the leadership of AU to immediately develop a workable strategy on ways to mitigate the devastating impact of climatic change being experienced across the continent.

The AU continues to face many challenges, including health issues such as combating malaria and the HIV/Aids epidemic, undemocratic regimes and mediating in the many civil wars like Somalia and improving the standard of living.

A total of 38 new legislators drawn from the continent were sworn-in this week to the Parliament, which is currently in its seventh year of existence. On Thursday, March 18, 2004, the African Union took another giant stride by inaugurating the Pan-African Parliament, one of its most important organs.

The Pan-African Parliament, within the initial period, shall have consultative and advisory powers only, with the aim of ultimately evolving into an institution with full legislative powers.

allAfrica.com: Africa: Tanzania Challenges AU to Focus On Solving Continent's Problems

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