Next week's annual summit meeting of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) could be the signature summit of the decade, according to some observers.
Next week's annual summit meeting of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) could be the signature summit of the decade, according to some observers. They say the assembly of African leaders will be making decisions that will outline the shape of African affairs for he nineteen-eighties. It will be the sixteenth ordinary summit of the OAU, and it is to be held in Liberia, on the west coast of Africa.
SYNOPSIS: The choice of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, as the setting for the conference seems symbolic.
Liberia is Africa's oldest republic, and the only African country never to have been colonised. It was in a small Liberian village that Ghana's first President, Kwame Nkrumah, first called for the creation of Pan-African organisation twenty years ago -- and to some Liberia symbolises total African independence.
But, while the setting for the setting for the conference may be ideal, the problems facing the 49 African leaders attending are difficult ones. The Monrovia Summit will have to pronounce itself on issues that could alter the character of the OAU, and mean re-defining its charter. Tanzania's involvement with Ugandan exiles in the war which culminated in the overthrow of Idi Amin has set a dangerous precedent in the eyes of some Africans. They believe Tanzania went beyond the bounds of the OAU charter.
The Tanzanian issue could cause controversy over Libya's increasing involvement in Black Africa. Such a development will have a bearing on the contentious issue of the Middle East, with both Libya and Algeria calling for Egypt's expulsion because of its peace treaty with Israel. The possible recognition of Zimbabwe Rhodesia by Western countries is a topic also expected to cause controversy.