“The African Union We Want” booklet was launched on Wednesday by the Centre for Citizens’ Participation on the African Union (CCP-AU) at the AU headquarters in the Ethiopian capital Addis-Ababa. CCP-AU executive director Janah Ncube said the booklet is a compilation of the views of African citizens and civil society – views based on their aspirations and expectations about the AU, and what kind of AU they would like to have.
Some observers say the project is a major public relations exercise, adding that it will go a long way towards enhancing the image of the organisation, which is constantly seen as futile, distant and inefficient, especially in times of conflict resolution.
The latest ‘scandal’ about the lack of funds by Ecowas to transport African troops to Mali destined for military intervention has made many Africans questioning the role of the AU in Africa. Countries such as Russia, Germany, Canada and the US have agreed to provide transport and other logistics to help Africa out.
Ncube said: “The CCP-AU mandate is to bring the voices of African citizens to the AU and to the continental decision-making process.” She said more than 250 submissions were made through Twitter, emails, smses and the AU website from Africans of all walks of life and from all corners of the continent, including the diaspora.
The AU said the views expressed include, among others, the organisation’s over-dependence on donors from non-African sources, the low record of implementing decisions and the harmonisation of the continental and regional agenda by Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
“I want to see an African Union with real teeth, an AU that can push Africa at the international stage while also putting its own house in order economically, infrastructural and development wise,” said one of the citizens.
The aspirations that citizens have shared include a union of citizens not only of leaders and states and the Freedom of movement for Africans within Africa.
*Photo: The African Union headquarters in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia.