African Union Must Stand With The Oppressed Not Morocco

It all took a concrete-form when King Mohammed VI of Morocco wrote a
lengthy letter to the 27th Africa Union (AU) Summit in Rwanda in July 2016. In the letter the ruler indicated their intention to return to the AU. Morocco had initially walked away from the AU; which at the time was called Organization of African Union (OAU) in 1984 as part of a protest against the AU’s recognition of Western Sahara as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Even then when Morocco had walked away it continued to have a special status within the AU and enjoyed services available to
AU members like the African Development Bank. This is a country which was rejected by the European Union, a country which once refused to host African Cup of Nations due to fear of Ebola shunning fellow Africans. They
have never seen themselves as part of the glorious African Continent. Nothing has changed to date, what then informs Morocco’s stunts and the voting patterns which transpired at the recent 28th AU summit in Ethiopia.

This time around the Summit had 5 candidates with countries like Botswana,
Kenya, Chad, Equatorial Guinea and Senegal having interest to lead the
Commission. South Africa’s Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had not availed herself as she served a four year term. She is the first female to lead
the 50 year old continental organization. Chad’s Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat was elected the new chair of the Commission.

Disappointing is how a majority of African leaders have agreed with the
return of Morocco shunning the oppressed. In majority these are leaders
who continue to oppress their people in their respective countries. It is not shocking that Chad, Sudan, Tunisia, Senegal and Equatorial Guinea see
nothing wrong with the return of Morocco. They too have a long standing
history of abusing their people. As a people we note that countries like
Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Algeria, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa were and are still opposed to this move by the AU. For they know how it feels to be oppressed in your own country.

The return is an insult to the people of Western Sahara and Africans in general. It is saddening because as a people, with our history of blood shed, human slavery, abuse to human rights and refusal to self determination a country like Morocco can do as it pleases and African leaders affirm their actions. Their return is that affirmation. Their
return compromises our leaders.

It is understood that Morocco has no plans to back-down on their oppression against the people of the Western Sahara. Their return to the Union is a plot to disadvantage and eventually push for the removal of Western Sahara out of the AU.

Before the election they were nowhere because in the Arab block they are
suffocated, EU rejected them and their only hope was AU. Africa leaders are being used with a very weak memory of remembrance. They seek to silence the voice Sahrawi people. The move is going to set the continent aback, the Sahrawi people must be liberated.

African leaders are faced with a huge problem, how will they manage the
crisis of human rights abuse in the Northern Country and their illegal
occupation? What these leaders have done is to undo the continuous positive efforts by member states in assisting the people of Western Sahara. They have played into a wrong gallery which says ‘ African leaders careless about the well being of their people’. They have affirmed a formalized apartheid. It being a serious crime.

As the new term for the recently elected Moussa Faki Mahamat starts, he enters in office with a huge task at hand a midst the already existing turmoil in the continent. The recent election will test his commitment to a better continent. He also must prove to us that he wont be a puppet of France.

Rhulani Thembi Siweya is the founder of Africa Unmasked and also an NEC member of the ANCYL. She writes in her personal capacity.



  1. I heard the Gambia’s first republic president Jawara, had always voted for a free Western Sahara but who knows Africa’s separatist groups should be ready to indulge in serious politics and activism rather than armed struggles which will never get them an inch farther.

  2. More integration and closeness as a SINGLE political and economic entity with diverse peoples, cultures and religions is what Africa needs today.

    We don’t want to see any more of our nation fractured into even more smaller, weaker and non viable so called “independent” states, to be manipulated and controlled against our interest. An arid desert region, with less than 600,000 people is better off being part of Morocco, than “independent”, even if there is prospect of oil.

    What the AU and the UN, with all its agencies should be doing, is putting pressure on Morocco to create a fairer and more equitable society where all her citizens, including the Sahrawi, will be granted equal citizenship and enjoy equality.

    The Sahrawi should be regarded as Moroccans, if they are not already so, and be granted, not only equal citizenship, but guaranteed investment to fund development projects in their region. They should also be guaranteed the ploughing back of a healthy percentage of wealth derived from resources located in their region, to create jobs, improve infrastructure and public services for the people.

    We must all guard against the further complication of the African debacle and be very wary of attempts to break countries up. South Sudan is a complete disaster for the people and the must NEVER be allowed to be repeated.

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