INSTEAD OF MUSEVENI DEFENDING OTHER LEADERS, IT IS BEST TO GET UGANDA TO MEANINGFUL ECONOMIC STAND
WHY GEN MUSEVENI CANNOT SAVE GADDAFI
Is This the same guy M7 who went to USA okulonkoomayo Gadafi that he wants to kill him ?
I think he should board his jet fry it through a none fryzone, he shouldn't be worried about being smoked up there as he is a revolutionaly
Written by Edris Kiggundu
Sunday, 20 March 2011 17:03
President Museveni and four other African leaders are unlikely to make significant headway as they take on an African Union mandate to seek peace in Libya because of overwhelming Western interests.
Other leaders on the team are: South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, Gen Sassou Nguesso of Republic of Congo, Amadou Toumani Toure of Mali and Mouhammed Abdul Aziz of Mauritania.
The AU commission president, Jean Peng, and the incumbent AU chairman, Teodore Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, are also members. The crisis that has raged on for five weeks now has provided the biggest test to Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year- old leadership of the oil-rich country, leaving in its wake thousands dead and a trail of destruction.
Yet, if the leaders – currently stationed in Mauritania as they seek permission from the United Nations to fly to Tripoli – are to succeed, they will have to overcome the larger-than-life personality of Gaddafi, the influence of Western powers, and add more bite to the African Union, which has a poor record in resolving conflicts among member countries.
These hurdles, according to political observers, could be hard to overcome and the situation is not helped by the contradictions and the lack of influence of the AU over its member states – factors that were brought to the fore during the passing by the United Nations Security Council, of the resolution on Libya.
While the continental body made it clear, from the onset, that it would not support the imposition of a no-fly zone over Libya, all the three African non-permanent members on the UN Security Council – South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon – voted in favour of tough action against Libya.
“It [AU intervention] is a non-starter because it has been overtaken by events,” said Dr Philip Kashaija, an expert in International Relations at Makerere University. “How will Zuma face Gaddafi, yet his country voted against Libya [at the UN]?”
In an article after the vote, The New York Times, an influential US newspaper, detailed how Obama cajoled African countries to support America’s position at the UN.
The report said South Africa and Nigeria, along with Brazil and India, had all initially opposed the idea of authorising force against Libya, but US officials somehow convinced them to change their mind.
“Mr Obama had already been on the phone pressing President Jacob Zuma of South Africa to support the resolution… Eventually, the South African representative showed up to vote yes, as did the Nigerian representative, giving the United States one vote more than required,” the article noted.
From what transpired at the UN, it is clear that the United Sates and its allies – and not the AU – will have the last say on how the Libyan crisis is resolved.
The hard stance adopted by Obama in the wake of the resolution, in one instance telling reporters that the UN position was “not negotiable”, shows that the US is already in charge.
Secondly, some European countries such as Spain and France have more to lose if the Libyan conflict persists, given that they are already experiencing an influx of refugees from Libya, which is putting a strain on basic services at home. This explains why they have been outspoken in the way forward on Libya.
In fact, France has already pledged troops in case a military option is chosen. Besides this geo-political aspect, what makes Libya even more important to the West is her oil reserves. Such overwhelming European interests are unlikely to be subjected to an African Union opinion.
The other important entity in Libya’s case is the Arab League, a body that brings together Arab nations. In fact, the UN resolution requests “the cooperation of the Arab League” if its implementation is to be successful.
The African Union is not mentioned because it doesn’t really matter.
Most Arab speaking African countries tend to regard highly their membership of this organisation and that is why they are most likely to listen to it than to the AU. The Western powers also take this group’s opinion more seriously.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise that Obama and other world leaders consulted widely with the Arab League and not the AU, as they drafted the resolution. Once the body agreed with most of the proposals, including a no-fly-zone, America and its allies went ahead and tabled the resolution.
Matters have not been helped by the fact that during the most recent political flare-ups on the continent, especially in the Arab world,
the AU has been a by-stander.
It’s pressure from the US, Western countries and Arab nations that forced the leader of Tunisia, Ben Ali, and later Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to step down following popular protests against their leadership. The AU had no say in those crises and is highly unlikely to have a say in the Libyan issue.
Weak AU Vs Gaddafi
With the exception of South Africa, many African countries, including Uganda, regard Gaddafi very highly. Gaddafi is said to fund a sizeable portion of AU’s annual budget and pays subscription fees for a number of member countries.
Even if such countries were to be listened to on the Libya question, they would be heavily compromised in their opinion. That partly explains why, apart from vocal and wealthy Botswana, no African country has publicly criticised Gaddafi’s military excesses during the crisis.
Libyan companies have invested heavily in a number of African countries and, for Uganda’s case, the North African country has a stake in seven companies with a value of more than $375 million, according to figures from Uganda’s embassy in Libya.
Gaddafi’s larger-than-life image in Africa was detectable in the tone of Uganda’s Foreign Affairs minister, Sam Kutesa, during an interview with Daily Monitor last week. Emphasizing that Gaddafi needed to yield to the idea of peace talks, Kutesa was quick to add that the Libyan leader, despite the people’s uprising, had served the Libyans well.
“(Being) a revolutionary, I think, you are trying to serve the larger interests of society and that includes people’s freedoms and wellbeing,” Kutesa said.
While the AU can point to some cases as evidence that it is capable of resolving political conflicts on the continent – such as the impasse in Kenya in 2008 and the one in Zimbabwe in 2009 – it has largely failed to stamp its authority and enforce political discipline among its member states.
The list of countries where AU-led mediation has failed is long, but the best case study currently is the political impasse in Ivory Coast, where the incumbent, Laurent Gbagbo and his rival Alassane Ouattara have each maintained that they won last year’s presidential elections.
An AU mission led by Kenya’s Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, has so far failed to resolve the impasse and, over the past week, several civilians have died as a result of clashes between supporters of Gbagbo and Ouattara.
Some analysts believe that part of the reason why the continental body goes slow on leaders like Gaddafi is because the leadership in many of its member states is not much different. Even where there are periodic elections, they are not free and fair, while in many African countries, there is limited or no freedom of expression and of the press.
The fear for some leaders is that if they support tough action against countries like Libya, tomorrow could be their turn.
It is also for this reason that many African leaders argue that African states should solve the problems on the continent, not foreigners who might impose tough restrictions.
In fact, both Museveni and Zuma of South Africa were unhappy with the UN declaring Outtara elected president of Ivory Coast, proposing an African “solution” that involves investigating who actually won those elections.
Despite the hurdles, government officials here remain hopeful that the AU mission will play a significant role in the achievement of peace in Libya.
James Mugume, the Permanent Secretary at the ministry of Foreign Affairs, told The Observer on Saturday that other global efforts will instead galvanize the work of the AU.
“Everyone recognizes that war will not end the conflict in Libya. We believe that the peaceful efforts by all players [and the AU] will pay off,” Mugume said, adding that the tone of the UN resolution hints on a need for a peaceful end to the crisis.