The progress made towards cooperation and understanding within the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) will be severely tested next week at the OAU summit meeting in Addis Ababa.
The progress made towards cooperation and understanding within the Organisation for African Unity (OAU) will be severely tested next week at the OAU summit meeting in Addis Ababa. Two major issues will dominate the Assembly.
The subject likely to lead to the most dispute is the question of a peaceful dialogue with South Africa, proposed last April by President Houphouet-Boigny of the Ivory Coast and supported by at least seven other African states. A Tanzanian motion tabled at the Ministerial Council which is currently paving the way for the summit, seeks a categorical rejection of a South African dialogue. The Ivory Coast has already said she would defend a dialogue at the summit.
The second issue is the summit change of venue from Kampala in Uganda to Addis Ababa following the military coup in January when General Idi Amin ousted Dr Milton Obote. Uganda and Congo-Kinshasa will boycott the Addis Ababa summit, in protest at the alleged high-handed manner with which Dr Kaunda, the Zambian Chairman of the OAU, changed the venue - interpreted by General Amin as an expression of disapproval of the new Ugandan government.
This situationer for the summit, which begins on Monday(21 June), traces the development of these two disruptive issues. It shows the new government taking over in Uganda - and the breaking-up of the 16th ministerial session last April on this issue - and the speech by President Houphouet-Boigny proposing a "peaceful dialogue" with South Africa.
SYNOPSIS: Kampala, Uganda, at the end of January - cheering crowds celebrated the fall of Dr Milton Obote, after General Idi Amin had ousted him with a military coup and declared himself President. Now, one of the major issues facing the summit meeting of the Organisation for African Unity when it meets in Addis Ababa on Monday is the question of Uganda. The summit was originally planned for Kampala -but Dr Kaunda, the Zambian Chairman of the OAU, changed the summit venue from Kampala to Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia. General Amin saw this as a biased move in favour of the former President of Uganda, Dr Obote.
Dr Obote still has many supporters among the African leaders, including the influential President of Zambia, Dr Kaunda, seen here on an earlier visit to Kampala.
Many African states supported the deposed government and the present Ugandan leaders felt that this sympathy for Dr Obote from the individual states had persuaded the OAU secretariat to change the venue of the summit - this showed partiality against Uganda, the Ambassador of Uganda to the current Ministerial session said last week. And because of this, Congo-Kinshasa has joined Uganda in boycotting the summit. There was no agreement at the ministerial session last March on who should represent Uganda....and the session broke up in disagreement.
Dr Obote also has friends in neighbouring Tanzania. Immediately after he was deposed, a mass rally was held in his support in Dar Es Salaam. The President, Dr Julius Nyerere, attacked the new leader of Uganda, saying he would not hold talks with him. And he gave asylum to Dr Obote. But other countries accepted the new regime.
While the arguments over recognition raged, General Amin continued work on the conference centre in Kampala intended for this week's summit. The General opened the completed Hall earlier this month, even thought the summit venue had by then been moved to Ethiopia. The Ugandan issue is likely to cause considerable stress in the summit, and pose a great challenge to the cooperation and understanding the Organisation for African Unity has so far achieved amongst African nations.
Another issue will dominate the summit. It's the question of a "peaceful dialogue" with South Africa that the President of the Ivory Coast, proposed in April. Seven other states support the Ivory Coast, but many countries are strongly opposed. President Houphouet-Boigny has already said he'll defend his proposal at the summit.. .so with the issue of Uganda, the summit could be a bitter confrontation.