Probing the phenomena of “African unity” as the pillar of the African union

07 Oct 2016

The dawn of the 21st century has witnessed the transformation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) into the African Union (AU). Thabo Mbeki and other pioneers of this transformation were concerned about the failure of the OAU to adapt to the changes in the international system. They saw an urgent need for Africa’s continental body to shed its image of being seen internationally as the “dictator’s club”. As such, they envisaged that the newly born AU would elevate the promotion of unity and solidarity among African states from a political rhetoric into a principled action. It was also hoped that AU would tap into its unity and solidarity for the purpose of harnessing the notion of “African solutions for African problems”. It appears that since the pioneers of the AU’s transformation have left the presidency of their countries (South Africa, Nigeria and Burkina Faso), the AU is regressing towards the culture of the defunct OAU. If the response of the AU to the 2011 crisis in Libya and the circumstances leading to the election of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the AU Commission Chairperson is anything to go by, it is safe to state that “African Unity” remains a farfetched dream. Against this background, this Afrocentric article uses discourse approach and document analysis in their broadest form to examine the road navigated by the AU to bring about “African Unity"