The Organisation of Africa Unity is just 15 year old. Its charter was signed on?
The Organisation of Africa Unity is just 15 year old. Its charter was signed on May 26, 1963, in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa. When its Heads of State hold their next regular meeting, in Sudan in two months time, they will probably be facing more urgent and complex problems than at any of their meetings in the organisation's history.
SYNOPSIS: When the leaders met in Gabon last July, President Mobutu of Zaire had his troubles with Shaba province -- but nothing to what they are now. Other topics considered at that meeting -- Rhodesia, Namibia, Chad's dispute with the Libyan Jamahiriyah, Ethiopia's with Somalia -- have since become more acute or more pressing.
Since then, an interim government has been formed in Rhodesia, headed by Mr. Ian Smith and three black leaders. The Council of Ministers of the O.A.U. has condemned it -- but has not so far given explicit recognition to Mr. Joshua Nkomo and Mr. Robert Mugabe, of the Patriotic Front. The "Front-line" Presidents support them, but the O.A.U. must decide quickly whether to do so. Elections with universal suffrage are due by the end of the year.
Namibia, or South West Africa, faces elections and independence by the end of the year. The multi-racial Democratic Turnhalle Alliance is ready to take part. So, on certain conditions, is SWAPO, the South West African Peoples Organisation, which enjoys O.A.U. backing. Its leader is Mr. Sam Nujoma.
Further north, three member states are involved in the smouldering war in Western Sahara. Morocco and Mauritania divided the territory when Spain withdrew. Algeria backs the Polisario guerrillas who want independence. O.A.U. postponed a special session on this question last October.
The Republic of Chad and the Libyan Jamahiriyah, its northern neighbour, are also in deep dispute. Only three months ago, their leaders met to settle their differences, arising out of Libyan support for the FORLINAT rebel movement in Chad. Libyan troops were sent to Ndjamena, the capital of Chad, as a peacekeeping force; but the accord has since broken down. French troops are supporting the Chad government, and the French allege that Libyan forces have been moving south in support of FROLINAT. Yet a third war between member states -- Ethiopia and Somalia -- has left tensions in its wake. The Somalia were driven out of the Ogaden, leaving devastation behind, them, and taking bitter feelings with them.
Finally, in the past two weeks has come the invasion of Shaba province of Zaire, with its mass killings of European and Africans by the rebel former Katangese. The assistance given by French troops to the central government will no doubt attract the attention of the O.A.U., which is strongly critical of non-African intervention in African affairs. The Organisation may also be forced to take a view on whether the rebels received foreign help. The Soviet Union and Cuba have both denied charges by Zaire that they were involved.