AU Summit that Muammar Gaddafi attended in Malabo


Staff member
Yesterday I heard a story that made me so sad and disappointed. During the last AU Summit that Muammar Gaddafi attended in Malabo, at a closed session he informed the present heads of state and government that he was intending to step down from Power. But he explained that he didn't have a structured government like the rest of them and asked for their assistance in creating structures that would facilitate a successful hand over. Roles were divided and heads of state were assigned different sectors in helping Libya with the transition. Kenya was going to assist in the public service sector. At the end of the meeting, not a single word was communicated to the world about that resolution. Not even a press briefing by the African Union to inform the International community that Gaddafi wanted to step down and a mechanism had been set in place to facilitate this within the next six months. Shortly after that summit the West led by France not knowing what had transpired in Malabo decided to enforce a regime change in Libya by having Gaddafi overthrown. In the thick of things President Jacob Zuma planned on getting Gaddafi out of Libya, but the West learned about it and the UN Security council declared Libya a no fly zone so that South Africa would not manage to get Gaddafi out. The alternative was to have Gaddafi move by road and cross over to Mali.... the plan seemed to work but somewhere along the way he was cornered and the rest is history.

Why am I disappointed you may ask? I am disappointed by AU's failure to communicate. If after the Malabo summit the world had been informed that Gaddafi was willing to step down, the Western countries despite their interest in taking over Libya's resources and killing Gaddafi's dream of a United Africa would have slowed down on their plan to enforce regime change, and African leaders would have managed to plan a successful transition. Libya would still be standing tall to date. But instead everything is now lost. The country went to the dogs and what has remained is an empty shell. We can only hope that the current mechanism that the AU has set up in Libya with former Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete as its special envoy will succeed and we can have back a real state called Libya.

The Gaddafi scenario is just one example which clearly points out at AU's failure when it comes to communication, and the mess that this failure creates. The union does quite a lot for the continent, but it continuous to neglect the aspect of communication....a very costly mistake. Africans barely understand the workings of the union and its agenda. It is very frustrating to see how most Africans are ignorant about the undertakings of the AU. For example in Kenya, majority of people think that AU summits are all about the ICC because that is all that the Kenyan media focuses on, while in actual sense, the ICC matter is only a tip of the ice berg, besides it there are very many critical agendas that are addressed at any given summit. Meanwhile if you ask the same Kenyans what is AU's theme for the year 2016, 99.9% of them would not have the answer. The African Union needs to review how it communicates, and develop strategic ways of reaching out to its members and the rest of the world. The Union should take a pen and write the African story, otherwise outsiders will continue writing the story from their own perspective and that is what will keep selling.