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African Union Summit

Spirit of Pan Africanism and Unity must remain priorities says Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma

Anne-Marie Bissada

In the opening of the 30th Ordinary Session of the executive Council of the AU, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma made a few indirect remarks that seemed to hint at Morocco’s possible re-entry into the AU as problematic.


When speaking about what Africa needs to do achieve its goal for 2063, she noted that “first and foremost, it requires that we revive and strengthen the spirit of Pan Africanism, unity and solidarity. It means we have to guard our unity, and not to allow ourselves to be divided and diverted from our agenda”.

For some time now, Morccos’s King Muhammed VI has been travelling all over the continent trying to ensure support for its bid to renter the African Union.

Morocco has long standing conflict with the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR)- after it annexed it 1975. In 1984, after the AU recognized Western Sahara's independence and membership into the union, Morocco left the organisation in protest.  But in the eyes of many, Morocco’s annexation is viewed as a form of colonization.

In its bid for support, Morocco has asked those to stand behind its reentry to also support a motion to exclude the Western Sahara. At the last summit in July in Kigali, 28 members agreed to support a call to exclude the Polisario from the AU. Those 28 include: Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cap-Verde, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Eritrea, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Equatorial, Liberia, Libya, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Swaziland, Togo and Zambia.

The main issue of course is that if its bid for membership is accepted, what will happen to that of the Western Sahara?

Excluding the Western Sahara remains an unlikely scenario given that there still remains strong support behind its membership, and many view such an exclusion as a detriment to the vision of Pan-Africanism that the AU represents.

In her concluding remarks, Dlamini-Zuma once again underlined the need for  maintaining the unity of the African Union:

Whatever we do at this Summit, we must ensure that we preserve the precious and principled unity of this continent and our Union. This unity is our legacy that we bequeath to future generations, as this is the African Year of Youth.

For the time being, the issue of Morocco’s membership remains unknown until it is put to a vote during the 28th African Union Summit next Monday and Tuesday.

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