How the African Union failed Tigray

The Evolution of the African Union
  • On May 25, 1963, the Organization of African Unity was established in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia by 32 African nations.
  • In 2002, the OAU evolved into the African Union (AU) with a more ambitious agenda of promoting peace and democracy. Relying on soft power, the member states normalized using diplomatic efforts toavoid conflicts or resolve them.
  • Ethiopia took the lead in creating the African Union and the organization’s headquarters is still located in the heart of the capital, rebuilt on the site of Ethiopia’s notorious prison, aptly named Alem Bekagn, “farewell to the world,” because prisoners rarely made it out alive during the Derg Regime’s Red Terror.
  • A generation later, the capital of the AU is terrorizing its own citizens, ethnic Tigrayans, while jeopardizing the body’s founding principles, becoming a fine example of how a collective determination to establish and maintain democratic principles can go terribly wrong.
The War Against Tigray
  • On November 4, 2020, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed began his “law and order” operation by declaring war on the northern region of Tigray.
  • Abiy claimed it was to bring TPLF regional government leaders to justice, but it became clear that it was a collective punishment on Tigrayans, filled with genocide and looting of resources by the Ethiopian National Defense Force, Amhara Special Force, Fano Militia,& foreign forces, i.e. Eritrean Soldiers.
  • On November 22nd, the Ethiopian Government warned Tigrayans that they will be shown “no mercy” if they don’t distance themselves from the region’s leaders as it indiscriminately bombs civilians. The fighting has internationalized as Eritrea has been involved from the very beginning, refugees flood into Sudan in the thousands, and Sudan begins fighting with government supported Amhara militias over disputed land.
  • The fighting threatens to destabilize Ethiopia and the strategic Horn of Africa as a whole.
The Failure of Mediation
Joaquim Chissano
former President of Mozambique
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf
former Liberian President
Kgalema Motlanth
former President of South Africa
  • On November 20, 2020, the AU proposed sending a special envoy to mediate talks between the central government and Tigray regional government to end the deadly conflict.
  • On November 26, 2020, shortly before the three former African heads of states arrived in Addis Ababa to seek a peaceful resolution, PM Ahmed ordered the “final phase of rule of law operations,” a rebuff tothe mediation efforts and challenging the foundational principles of the AU itself.
Ethiopia’s Impunity in the Eyes of the AU
  • AU’s blatant acceptance of Ethiopia’s rejection to mediation made a mockery of the AU’s principles of peacemaking.
  • Ethiopia has an outsized influence on the AU because it hosts the HQ. Other African countries have long suspected that it has a double standard.
  • The Ethiopian government has purged Tigrayan officers from the AU and UN peacekeeping missions and demanded the AU Commission dismiss its Tigrayan head of security, without a single reproach.
The AU Failed Tigray

  • Instead of condemning the Ethiopian government’s war against its own citizens in Tigray by employing genocidal Amhara militias and Eritrean forces, HE Moussa Faki condoned Ethiopia’s “law and order” mission in his speech during the IGAD summit.
  • Members of the AU Staff Association, said the AU Commission is crumbling with chronic cronyism and corruption, and Accused Chairperson Faki Mahamat of “running a cartel.”