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Africa Day commemorates the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963.

Morocco withdrew in 1984 to protest the admission of the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic, or Western Sahara. The OAU was dissolved in 2002, when it was replaced by the African Union founded in Durban on 9 July 2002.

OAU useless, pretentious, expensive and greedy

Emperor Haile Selassie (1892–1975) of Ethiopia advocated a loose association of sovereign states that allowed for political cooperation at the intergovernmental level.  For this reason, the OAU charter promotes the “sovereign equality of all Member States,” leaving the OAU without powers and without relevance.

The OAU charter made no mention of Human Rights.

Article 3 of the OAU Charter included among its guiding principles the sovereign equality of all member states, noninterference in the internal affairs of states, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, the peaceful settlement of disputes, and the emancipation of dependent African territories. Its own founding Charter rendered it utterly useless. Except for internal matters, like FAT SALARIES its resolutions were nonbinding.

The Council of Ministers, composed of government ministers (usually foreign ministers), normally met twice a year or in special session. Subordinate to the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, the council’s principal responsibility was preparing the assembly’s agenda.

The General Secretariat became mired in controversy in 1982 when it allowed Spain to keep de facto control of a colony called Western Sahara, and even allowed it membership in OAU.   The United Nations is still trying to settle this dispute.

The Commission of Mediation, Conciliation, and Arbitration, established as the OAU’s dispute settlement mechanism, had jurisdiction over disputes between member states only. Member states, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government, and the Council of Ministers could refer disputes to the commission, but only with the prior consent of the states concerned. The commission never became operational because African governments never trusted it – a gigantic waste of money.


The African Court on Human and Peoples’ rights was established under a protocol to the Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights that came into force in 2004 under the AU, which replaced the OAU.   States can submit cases to the Court, as can individuals and nongovernmental organizations with the permission of the accused state. Its judgments are binding, but it can also give advisory opinions.  A vast improvement over the dismal failures of the OAU to address Human Rights abuses.


During the OAU fiasco, the elite pretended to promote economic cooperation.  In 1991 they “decided” to set up an African economic community, which in time was intended to lead to a customs union, a common market, and African monetary union. Little progress was made.

Overall, the failures of the OAU outweighed its successes. Arguably, its major failing was its inability to bring peace, prosperity, security, and stability to Africa. The OAU was found wanting in its responses to the tyrannies and plutocracies ruining Africa, a deficiency that undermined its credibility. Its powers were too weak and its influence inadequate to deal with the internal and external conflicts, poor governance, human rights abuses, poverty, and underdevelopment from which much of Africa suffered. The OAU was also considered incapable of meeting the challenges of globalisation. By the end of the century, reform so comprehensive was required that it was decided to start afresh with a new organisation, the African Union, devoted to the political and economic integration of Africa based on respect for democratic values, good governance, the rule of law, and human rights.

CMOSA will celebrate AFRICA DAY on 9 July.  We do not celebrate failure.  We demand excellence and respect for Human Rights.  Join CMOSA by visiting CMOSA Someone Campaign