Home | Comment & Analysis    Friday 15 April 2011

AU Peace and Security Council Communiqué on Darfur is a disgrace

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By Mahmoud A. Suleiman

April 14, 2011 — The African Union (AU) is a merger of all African countries, except Morocco, has 53 members including Sudan. It replaced the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on the 9th July 2002. Some political satirists said at the time that “African countries made news by dissolving the old Organization of African Unity (OAU) and creating a new organization, modeled on the European Union, called the African Union (AU). Despite the public relations nonsense that this would bring more accountability, etc. etc. to Africa, the African Union is the same Old Dictators Club”!

The AU Secretariat, the African Union Commission (AUC) is based in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. Moreover, the AU has a body akin or similar in intent and operation to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) by the name Peace and Security Council (PSC) which was proposed at the AU Lusaka Summit in 2001 and established in 2004 under a protocol to the Constitutive Act and later adopted by the AU in July 2002.

The protocol defines the Peace and Security Council (PSC) as a collective security and early warning arrangement to facilitate timely and effective response to conflict and crisis situations in Africa. Other responsibilities conferred to the Peace and Security Council (PSC) by the protocol include prevention, management and resolution of conflicts, post-conflict peace building and developing common defence policies. The Peace and Security Council (PSC) has fifteen members elected on a regional basis by the Assembly.

In response to the ongoing Darfur conflict in Sudan, the AU has deployed 7,000 peacekeepers, many of whom from Rwanda and Nigeria, to Darfur. The under-funded and badly equipped AU mission was set to expire on 31 December 2006 but was extended to 30 June 2007 and merged with the United Nations African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) in October 2007. The AU force is only allowed to use force to protect themselves or civilians in their vicinity. On occasions, they even failed to protect themselves and/or the representatives in the Ceasefire Commission (CFC) as has happened on several occasions. The mandate that the UNAUMID Hybrid force has is very limited.

In July 2009 the African Union ceased cooperation with the International Criminal Court (ICC) , refusing to recognize the international arrest warrant it had issued against Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir, who was indicted for two counts of war crimes (pillaging and intentionally directing attacks against civilians)., five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture and rape) on 4 March 2009 and on Monday 12 July 2010 with three counts of genocide ( killing members of the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa ethnic groups; causing these groups serious bodily and mental harm; inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about these groups’ physical destruction).Accordingly and in spite of all that, the ICC indicted Omer al-Bashir travelled freely without being apprehended. He visited African States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) such as the Republic of Chad which joined the ICC on 1st January 2007 and Kenya which joined the ICC on 15th March 2005. The Gabonese diplomat and politician and the currently Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union, Jean Ping made the remark after talks with Omar al-Bashir in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum that “the ICC had chosen a bad time to pursue the case against the Sudanese president to put more oil on the fire by taking the decision". Furthermore, Mr Ping was reported to have urged the UN to suspend its investigation into al-Bashir. The AU commission chairman Jean Ping said, during his visit to Khartoum, that the regional organization (African Union) was drawing up a list of top lawyers to investigate Darfur war crimes in response to the ICC move.

Thabo Mbeki instead of championing the cause of black African majority in Sudan, he chose to become subservient to the racist National Congress Party (NCP) regime led by the Omer Al-Bashir who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) and charged for annihilating the people of Sudan in Darfur.

Chairman of the AU High Level Panel on Darfur (AUPD), former South African president Thabo Mbeki continues to be a complicating factor of the problem of Darfur rather than a facilitator of its solution/resolution. Thabo Mbeki was reported to have been inviting the NCP president Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir to attend the upcoming AU meeting. Thabo Mbeki’s impartiality has been tainted beyond repair. The status of the Wise Elders of Africa does not apply to him now and even not in the future. He chose to become a full member of the ‘Association of African Dictators ‘.

The crucial role expected to be played by the Republic of South Africa in the 8-year crisis in the region of Darfur has been clouded by the harmful behaviour of Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki. The former president of South Africa, Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki has been unable to separate the conflicts of his business interests from the official role he is tasked with in Sudan. Thabo Mbeki has been colluding and collaborating with the génocidaire who remains fugitive from appearing before the judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Mbeki is currently promoting is promoting al-Bashir’s so-called Darfur peace from within or the (New Mbeki-Ghazi Strategy for Domestication of peace) which is an alleged internal solution for the 8 –year suffering of the people of Sudan in Darfur. The evil strategy is meant to cutting out the Darfuri liberation movements of Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), Sudan Liberation Movement/ Abdel Wahid (SLA/AW), Sudan Liberation Movement Minni Minnawi (SLA/MM), Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) and other Movement factions. This strategy does not address the root causes of the Darfur issue and allows the génocidaires to become the ‘Judge and the Juror’. The problem of Darfur is an issue of ‘Liberation’ akin to those of the former apartheid South Africa where struggle was needed to liberate the indigenous population from a racist despotic minority rule. Mbeki endorsed the most hated al- Bashir’s referendum to determine the administrative status of Darfur region. The génocidaire Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir signed a presidential decree on March 29th 2011 to that end and purely for political point scoring the purpose of which was to put a ceiling to the demands of rebels in the Qatari peace talks platform of Doha.

Many political observers thought that the former South African president is dealing with Sudan’s serious problems on a’ business as usual basis’. He appears to be more concerned with the war booty he is expecting from the NCP government in Khartoum than the task he is entrusted with for implementation as a chairman of the AU High Level Panel on Darfur (AUPD).

And the great disaster came with the issuance of official announcement of the 12-clause Communiqué of the 271st meeting of the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC); ironically, the meeting was attended by the Sudanese presidential adviser Ghazi Salahaddin Atabani who is behind the so-called new strategy for Darfur peace (Domestication of peace) and tasked with Darfur portfolio. The Communiqué after making negative remarks about the Joint UN-AU Mediator and the progress of Darfur peace efforts in Doha, requested Djibrill Bassolé to provide a "comprehensive report on his activities and any future plans by 30 April 2011". The Shortcomings of the Communiqué of the (AUPSC) lie in the following:

(1) The UN-AU Joint Mediator Mr. Djibrill Bassolé, who is responsible for the Darfur file, was not invited to brief the African Union Peace and Security Council on the progress that has been made in Doha.

(2) The AUPSC invited the government of Sudan which was represented by Dr. Ghazi Salahaddin Atabani, presidential advisor and holder of the Darfur portfolio

(3) The famous Mbeki and Gambari duo are certainly aware that no inclusive process can take place under their purview, given their lack of trust of the people of Darfur and their one-sided approach to the matter.

(4) Many observers are of the opinion that the communiqué of the (AUPSC) lacks credibility as it was most likely drafted by the Mbeki Panel and was imposed on the Council; a recipe for bias and prejudice.

(5) The communiqué is full of insolent language and treats the Doha process with so much spite and disrespect without showing any regard to the efforts of the host country, the State of Qatar and its people.

(6) The Communiqué intimates that the Mbeki’s AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) which an ad hoc body of the AU has necessarily replaced the African Union (AU) by directly calling on the UN Security Council(UNSC) to strengthen partnership with it, under the leadership of the AUHIP. What a pomposity and self-importance!

(7) The people of Sudan in Darfur and Kordofan feel betrayed by the African Union and by its Commission, Peace and Security Council and obviously by the Mbeki’s AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP).

(8) the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) blamed Bassolé for ignoring its decisions for peace in Darfur and not coordinating with head of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) for Sudan led former South African president Thabo Mbeki .It is a known fact that the mandate given to Mr. Djibrill Bassolé by the UN and AU jointly did not include any clauses for his subjugation and bending to the orders from Mr. Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki!

(9) The AUPSC Communiqué Denies that the statement was all the great efforts made by the strenuous joint mediator HE Djibrill Bassolé to reach a negotiated peaceful solution to the issue of the people of Sudan in Darfur in the Doha Forum.

The flimsy credibility of the African Union (AU) has, alas, irrevocably tarnished and vanished in the Communiqué of the 271st meeting of the Peace and Security Council on Sudan, held in Addis on 08 April 2011.

The African Union (AU) represented in the so-called AU High Level Panel on Darfur (AUPD), led by the former South African president Thabo Mbeki is considered to be one of the major constraints facing the resolution of the 8-year conflict in the restive Region of Darfur. The people of Sudan in Darfur feel better off without the intrigues of Mr. Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki who has become part of the problem and fueling the conflict. Moreover, the complicity of the African Union (AU) through its council for Peace and Security (AUPSC) with the government of Sudan is fragrantly clear and will not help in resolving the 8-year conflict in Darfur but would lead to more suffering of the people by prolonging the crisis.

Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is the Deputy Chairman of the General Congress for Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). He can be reached at mahmoud.abaker@gmail.com



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