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From the OAU to the AU

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108 pages
From 1986 to this date the author works at the OAU/AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as a Translator and Reviser, and was thus a direct witness od the development of the Pan African organization. He was the President of the Editorial Board of the "Forum", the magazine of the AU Staff Association, to which he was also a Secretary General until 2005.
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e Odyssey of a
Continental Organization
About the author
Muhammad I.S. Gassama was born
in Banjul, The Gambia, in 1947. He
obtained a BA (Hons) degree in Arabic
Literature from the Islamic University
of Oumdurman, Sudan, in 1973. He
also had a degree in English language
from Cambridge, England, in 1979.
Gassama started his carrer as a teacher
of Arabic in 1973, and was appointed at
the Gambia Embassy in Tripoli, Libya,
as Consular Attaché from 1976 to 1978
and at the Gambia High Commission
in London, UK, as Second Secretary/
Acting First Secretary up to 1980.
From 1986 to this date he works at the
OAU/AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as
a Translator and Reviser, and was thus
a direct witness of the development of
the Pan African organisation. He was
the President of the Editorial Board of
the “Forum”, the magazine of the AU
Staff Association, to which he was also
a Secretary General until 2005.
Muhammad I S GGassama is also a prominent Arabist,
a writer and poet in Both English and
Arabic. He published so far three RASDISBN : 978-2-343-05956-3books in English, besides a Poems
Collection. He also published various
articles both in English and Arabic
in many newspapers in African and
internationally. RASD
RASD
RASD
RASD
From the OAU to the AU Muhammad I S G
RASD From the OAU
to the AU
The Odyssey of a
Continental Organization
Muhammad I S Gassama© Muhammad I S Gassama
Second Edition 2014
L'harmattan RASD
N: 14-2015
Tel: 0021349924421
Email: lharmattan.rasd@gmail.com
First Edition 2013
Fulladu Publishers
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by
any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording,
or otherwise, without the permission of the author.To: My dear parents, Ah Ahmameh
Gassama and Ajah Fatou Njie Funneh
of blessed memory to whom I owe
everything in life.Table of Contents
Preface to this Second Edition ........................................................................... 8
PREFACE .......................................................................................................... 9
Acknowledgements ........................................................................................... 12
INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................... 14
Learning on the Job . 17
At the Beginning Tere Was OAU ..................................................................... 20
Te OAU Governance Structure ........................................................................ 24
A House of Antiquities ...................................................................................... 27
Tripoli I and II ........ 30
Supprimé: A Reforms Process Tat Went Terribly Wrong ................................. 34
How the OAU Secretary General and Te AUC Chairperson Are Elected ......... 36
Change of Guard .............................................................................................. 39
From the Charter to the Constitutive Act .......................................................... 44
What Distinguishes the AU From the OAU ...................................................... 47
Te Unfnished-Job of Union Building ............................................................. 52
Te Trinity of Vision, Mission and the Strategic Planning ................................ 56
A Disappointed Konaré .................................................................................... 61
Why Did Successive Attempts at Staf Evaluation Fail ...................................... 63
Te Gaddaf Factor and its Impact on the OAU/AU andAfrica As a Whole ....... 66
Te Watchdog role of OAU/AU Staf Association .............................................. 71
Te Way the OAU/AU Does Tings .................................................................. 74
Te Anglophone-Francophone Dichotomy ....................................................... 78
Internal Consultation and Coordination .......................................................... 81
Transformation and Renewal ............................................................................ 86
Matters of Grave Concern ................................................................................. 92
Does the AU Need to Reinvent Itself? ................................................................ 95
Conclusion ....................................................................................................... 97
Appendix 1: Founding Fathers of the OAU ...................................................... 100
Appendix 2: Secretaries General of the OAU/Chairpersons of the AUC ........... 102
Appendix 3: Te 54 African Union Member States .......................................... 103MIS Gassama
Preface to this Second Edition
It is barely a year and half since the frst edition of this Book
has seen light of day. In terms of both space and time, the reader
may surmise that not much water had gone under the bridge since
to warrant the publication of a second edition. This may be so to
a point.
However, given the plethora of comments, observations
and advice that the frst edition surprisingly attracted from a large
coterie of friends and colleagues and indeed some other readers
who commended my efforts to come up with what they ranked as
a must-read, like them, I equally felt the need for a second edition
whose primary objective is to attend to the discernible information
gapdiscoveredin thefrstedition.
Asitisall too natural,mostfrst attemptsofthesortIembarked
upon may fall short of being capable of readily capturing all the
necessary components. Hence the need for a second attempt
designed to suffciently cover gap-flling events and major
enabling players left out in the original text, albeit inadvertently.
We shall thus try to the best of our ability, to refect in this edition
all the points in the absence of which the yawning missing links
alluded to earlier, could not be reinstated in a manner that would
prove reassuring to the readership.
That said, it is worth noting that the additional issues
addressed in this edition are so wide-ranging and far-reaching
that I may not be able to do them deserving justice. As a matter
of fact, my intention is simply to present to the reader a much
broader picture of those issues for a greater appreciation. It is
consequently my sincere prayer that I register a measure of success
in bringing that about.
M I S Gassama
Addis Ababa
March 2014
8From the OAU to the AU
PREFACE
The riddle in trying to construct one’s recollection of events,
incidents and issues that unfolded during the long period one
has pleasantly for the most part, expended in the service of the
defunct Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and much later its
successor, the African Union (AU), is deciding where to take off as
memories of all those years start pouring in from all directions in
an avalanche. This is hardly surprising as well over two and a half
decades of working for Africa’s premier Organisation is bound
to have exposed one to a vast array of in-house knowledge and
experience that needs to be faithfully captured for what it is and
imparted to the readership and posterity. Having grown up with
the General Secretariat of the OAU as a young lad eager to learn
and to serve the African Continent, I am now in a vintage position
after a well – earned retirement to tell the tale of my experience
and career.
Another diffculty in reducing to record this life time
experience acquired and enriched over a protracted period of
time, is how to resist the temptation of wanting to say it all when
one may not necessarily be at liberty to do so. This is because
like any other institution, the OAU/AU has in its skeleton the
good blended curiously with the bad. I would therefore like to
crave the indulgence of all those into whose hands these notes
may fall, including particularly those associated in one way or
another, with the management of the Organisation, past and
present, to recount my personal version of the story. In doing so, I
am mindful of the fact that I happened to be among the few who
have been privileged to be at Africa’s service on the continental
plane in a mini-United Nations-like environment where a rich
blend of cultures and backgrounds converge, thereby rendering
this unique Pan-African forum a veritable universal melting pot
for Africa.
It has to be said at this juncture that the OAU/AU is many
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