Organisation of African Unity
||This article's lead section may not adequately summarize key points of its contents. (March 2010)|
|Organization of African Unity
Organization de l'Unité Africaine
|Political structure||International organization|
|-||1963 - 1964||Kifle Wodajo|
|-||1964 - 1972||Diallo Telli|
|-||1972 - 1974||Nzo Ekangaki|
|-||1974 - 1978||William Eteki|
|-||1978 - 1983||Edem Kodjo|
|-||1983 - 1985||Peter Onu|
|-||1985 - 1989||Ide Oumarou|
|-||1989 - 2001||Salim Ahmed Salim|
|-||2001 - 2002||Amara Essy|
|-||Charter||25 May 1963|
|-||Disbanded||9 July 2002|
|¹ The headquarters were based in Addis Ababa.|
The Organization of African Unity (OAU) (French: Organization de l'Unité Africaine (OUA)) was established on 25 May 1963 in Addis Ababa, with 32 signatory governments. It was disbanded on 9 July 2002 by its last chairperson, South African President Thabo Mbeki, and replaced by the African Union (AU).
||This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
The OAU had the following primary aims:
- To promote the unity and solidarity of the African states and act as a collective voice for the African continent. This was important to secure Africa's long-term economic and political future.
- To co-ordinate and intensify the co-operation of African states in order to achieve a better life for the people of Africa.
- To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of African states.
- The OAU was also dedicated to the eradication of all forms of colonialism, as, when it was established, there were several states that had not yet won their independence or were minority-ruled. South Africa and Angola were two such countries. The OAU proposed two ways of ridding the continent of colonialism. Firstly, it would defend the interests of independent countries and help to pursue those of still-colonised ones. Secondly, it would remain neutral in terms of world affairs, preventing its members from being controlled once more by outside powers.
A Liberation Committee was established to aid independence movements and look after the interests of already-liberated states. The OAU also aimed to stay neutral in terms of global politics, which would prevent them from being controlled once more by outside forces – an especial danger with the Cold War.
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The OAU had other aims, too:
- Ensure that all Africans enjoyed human rights.
- Raise the living standards of all Africans.
- Settle arguments and disputes between members – not through fighting but rather peaceful and diplomatic negotiation.
Soon after achieving independence, a number of African states expressed a growing desire for more unity within the continent. Not everyone was agreed on how this unity could be achieved, however, and two opinionated groups emerged in this respect:
- The Casablanca bloc, led by Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, wanted a federation of all African countries. Aside from Ghana, it comprised also Algeria, Guinea, Morocco, Egypt, Mali and Libya. Founded in 1961, its members were described as "progressive states".
- The Monrovian bloc, led by Senghor of Senegal, felt that unity should be achieved gradually, through economic cooperation. It did not support the notion of a political federation. Its other members were Nigeria, Liberia, Ethiopia and most of the former French colonies.
Some of the initial discussions took place at Sanniquellie, Liberia. The dispute was eventually resolved when Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I invited the two groups to Addis Ababa, where the OAU and its headquarters were subsequently established. The Charter of the Organisation was signed by 32 independent African states.
At the time of the OAU's disbanding, 53 out of the 54 African states were members; Morocco left on 12 November 1984 following the admission of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as the government of Western Sahara in 1982.
The organisation was widely derided as a bureaucratic "talking shop" with little power. It struggled to enforce its decisions, and its lack of armed force made intervention exceedingly difficult. Civil wars in Nigeria and Angola continued unabated for years, and the OAU could do nothing to stop them.
The policy of non-interference in the affairs of member states also limited the effectiveness of the OAU. Thus, when human rights were violated, as in Uganda under Idi Amin in the 1970s, the OAU was powerless to stop them.
The Organisation was praised by Ghanaian former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan for bringing Africans together. Nevertheless, in its 39 years of existence, critics argue that the OAU did little to protect the rights and liberties of African citizens from their own political leaders, often dubbing it as a "Dictators' Club" or "Dictator's Trade Union".
The OAU was, however, successful in some respects. Many of its members were members of the UN, too, and they stood together within the latter organisation to safeguard African interests – especially in respect of lingering colonialism. Its pursuit of African unity, therefore, was in some ways successful.
Total unity was difficult to achieve, however, as the OAU was largely divided. The former French colonies, still dependent on France, had formed the Monrovia Group, and there was a further split between those that supported the USA and those that supported the USSR in the Cold War of ideologies. The pro-Socialist faction was led by Kwame Nkrumah, while Félix Houphouët-Boigny of the Ivory Coast led the pro-capitalists. Because of these divisions, it was difficult for the OAU to take action against states involved in internal conflicts because it could rarely reach an agreement on what was to be done.
The OAU did, however, play a pivotal role in eradicating colonialism and white minority rule in Africa. It gave weapons, training and military bases to rebel groups fighting white minority and colonial rule. Groups such as the ANC and PAC, fighting apartheid, and ZANU and ZAPU, fighting to topple the regime Rhodesia, were aided in their endeavours by the OAU. African harbours were closed to the South African government, and South African aircraft were prohibited from flying over the rest of the continent. The UN was convinced by the OAU to expel South Africa from bodies such as the World Health Organisation.
The OAU also worked with the UN to ease refugee problems. It set up the African Development Bank for economic projects intended to make Africa financially stronger. Although all African countries eventually won their independence, it remained difficult for them to become totally independent of their former colonisers. There was often continued reliance on the former colonial powers for economic aid, which often came with strings attached: loans had to be paid back at high interest-rates, and goods had to be sold to the aiders at low rates.
The USA and USSR intervened in post-colonial Africa in pursuit of their own objectives. Help was sometimes provided in the form of technology and aid-workers. While useful, such external assistance was often perceived[who?] as not necessarily in the best interests of the former colonies.
Autonomous specialised agencies, working under the auspices of the OAU, were:
- Pan-African Telecommunications Union (PATU)
- Pan-African Postal Union (PAPU)
- Pan-African News Agency (PANA)
- Union of African National Television and Radio Organizations (URTNA)
- Union of African Railways (UAR)
- Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU)
- Supreme Council for Sports in Africa
- African Civil Aviation Commission
List of Chairpersons 
|Chairpersons of the Organisation of African Unity|
|Name||Beginning of Term||End of Term||Country|
|Haile Selassie I||25 May 1963||17 July 1964||Ethiopia|
|Gamal Abdel Nasser||17 July 1964||21 October 1965||Egypt|
|Kwame Nkrumah||21 October 1965||24 February 1966||Ghana|
|Joseph Arthur Ankrah||24 February 1966||5 November 1966||Ghana|
|Haile Selassie I||5 November 1966||11 September 1967||Ethiopia|
|Joseph-Désiré Mobutu||11 September 1967||13 September 1968||Congo (Kinshasa)|
|Houari Boumedienne||13 September 1968||6 September 1969||Algeria|
|Ahmadou Ahidjo||6 September 1969||1 September 1970||Cameroon|
|Kenneth Kaunda||1 September 1970||21 June 1971||Zambia|
|Moktar Ould Daddah||21 June 1971||12 June 1972||Mauritania|
|Hassan II||12 June 1972||27 May 1973||Morocco|
|Yakubu Gowon||27 May 1973||12 June 1974||Nigeria|
|Siad Barre||12 June 1974||28 July 1975||Somalia|
|Idi Amin||28 July 1975||2 July 1976||Uganda|
|Seewoosagur Ramgoolam||2 July 1976||2 July 1977||Mauritius|
|Omar Bongo||2 July 1977||18 July 1978||Gabon|
|Gaafar Nimeiry||18 July 1978||12 July 1979||Sudan|
|William R. Tolbert, Jr.||12 July 1979||12 April 1980||Liberia|
|Léopold Sédar Senghor (acting)||28 April 1980||1 July 1980||Senegal|
|Siaka Stevens||1 July 1980||24 June 1981||Sierra Leone|
|Daniel arap Moi||24 June 1981||6 June 1983||Kenya|
|Mengistu Haile Mariam||6 June 1983||12 November 1984||Ethiopia|
|Julius Nyerere||12 November 1984||18 July 1985||Tanzania|
|Abdou Diouf||18 July 1985||28 July 1986||Senegal|
|Denis Sassou-Nguesso||28 July 1986||27 July 1987||Congo (Brazzaville)|
|Kenneth Kaunda||27 July 1987||25 May 1988||Zambia|
|Moussa Traoré||25 May 1988||24 July 1989||Mali|
|Hosni Mubarak||24 July 1989||9 July 1990||Egypt|
|Yoweri Museveni||9 July 1990||3 June 1991||Uganda|
|Ibrahim Babangida||3 June 1991||29 June 1992||Nigeria|
|Abdou Diouf||29 June 1992||28 June 1993||Senegal|
|Hosni Mubarak||28 June 1993||13 June 1994||Egypt|
|Zine El Abidine Ben Ali||13 June 1994||26 June 1995||Tunisia|
|Meles Zenawi||26 June 1995||8 July 1996||Ethiopia|
|Paul Biya||8 July 1996||2 June 1997||Cameroon|
|Robert Mugabe||2 June 1997||8 June 1998||Zimbabwe|
|Blaise Compaoré||8 June 1998||12 July 1999||Burkina Faso|
|Abdelaziz Bouteflika||12 July 1999||10 July 2000||Algeria|
|Gnassingbé Eyadéma||10 July 2000||9 July 2001||Togo|
|Frederick Chiluba||9 July 2001||2 January 2002||Zambia|
|Levy Mwanawasa||2 January 2002||9 July 2002||Zambia|
List of Secretaries-general 
|Secretaries-general of the OAU|
|Name||Beginning of Term||End of Term||Country|
|Kifle Wodajo (acting)||25 May 1963||21 July 1964||Ethiopia|
|Diallo Telli||21 July 1964||15 June 1972||Guinea|
|Nzo Ekangaki||15 June 1972||16 June 1974||Cameroon|
|William Eteki||16 June 1974||21 July 1978||Cameroon|
|Edem Kodjo||21 July 1978||12 June 1983||Togo|
|Peter Onu||12 June 1983||20 July 1985||Nigeria|
|Ide Oumarou||20 July 1985||19 September 1989||Niger|
|Salim Ahmed Salim||19 September 1989||17 September 2001||Tanzania|
|Amara Essy||17 September 2001||9 July 2002||Côte d'Ivoire|
OAU Summits 
|International opposition to
apartheid in South Africa
|Instruments and legislation|
|UN Security Council Resolutions|
|This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the African Union
It includes ordinary and extraordinary summits.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 22–25 May 1963
- Cairo (Egypt) : 17–21 July 1964.
- Accra (Ghana) : 21–26 October 1965.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 5–9 November 1966.
- Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire) : 11–14 September 1967.
- Algiers (Algeria) : 13–16 September 1968.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 6–10 September 1969.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 1–3 September 1970.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 21–23 June 1971.
- Rabat (Morocco) : 12–15 June 1972.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 27–28 May 1973.
- Somalia (Mogadishu) : 1974
- Kampala (Uganda) : 28 July – 1 August 1975.
- Port Louis (Mauritius) : 2–6 July 1976.
- Libreville (Gabon) : 2–5 July 1977.
- Khartoum (Sudan) : 18–22 July 1978.
- Monrovia (Liberia) : 17–20 July 1979.
- Freetown (Sierra Leone) : 1–4 July 1980.
- Nairobi (Kenya) : 24–27 June. 1981.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 6–12 June 1983.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 12–15 November 1984.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 18–20 July 1985.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 28–30 July 1986.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 27–29 July. 1987.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Extraordinary Summit : Oct. 1987.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 25–28 May 1988.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 24–26 July 1989.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 9–11 July 1990.
- Abuja (Nigeria) : 3–5 July 1991.
- Dakar (Senegal) : 29 June – 1 July 1992.
- Cairo (Egypt) : 28–30 June 1993.
- Tunis (Tunisia) : 13–15 June 1994.
- Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) : 26–28 June 1995.
- Yaoundé (Cameroon) : 8–10 June 1996.
- Harare (Zimbabwe) : 2–4 June 1997.
- Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) : 8–10 June 1998.
- Algiers (Algeria) : 12–14 July 1999.
- Sirte (Libya), Extraordinary Summit : 6–9 September 1999.
- Lomé (Togo) : 10–12 July 2000.
- Lusaka (Zambia) : 9–11 July 2001, the last OAU summit.
OAU members by date of admission (53 states) 
- 25 May 1963:
- Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Léopoldville). Dahomey, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, The Sudan, Tanganyika, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Upper Volta, Zanzibar
- 13 December 1963: Kenya
- 13 July 1964: Malawi
- 16 December 1964: Zambia
- October 1965: The Gambia
- 31 October 1966: Botswana, Lesotho
- August 1968: Mauritius
- 24 September 1968: Swaziland
- 12 October 1968: Equatorial Guinea
- 19 November 1973: Guinea-Bissau
- 11 February 1975: Angola
- 18 July 1975: Cape Verde, Comoros, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe
- 29 June 1976: Seychelles
- 27 June 1977: Djibouti
- June 1980: Zimbabwe
- 22 February 1982: Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (Western Sahara)
- June 1990: Namibia
- 24 May 1993: Eritrea
- 6 June 1994: South Africa
See also 
- Bamako Convention
- Casablanca Group
- List of Linguistic Rights in Constitutions (Africa)
- African Union official site: Former Secretaries General of the OAU
- 1966-71 and from 1997 Congo (Kinshasa); 1971-97 Zaire.
- From 1975 Benin.
- From 1985 Côte d'Ivoire.
- Suspended December 2001 - 10 July 2003.
- Suspended 4 August 2005.
- Withdrew 12 November 1984.
- Tanganyika and Zanzibar merged 26 April 1964 to form the United Republic of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, which was renamed Tanzania 1 November 1964.
- Suspended from 25 February 2005.
- From 1984 Burkina Faso.
Further reading 
- "OAU After Twenty Years"; Pub. Praeger; ISBN 0-03-062473-8; (May 1984)
- "Africa's First Peacekeeping Operation: The OAU in Chad, 1981-1982" by Terry M. Mays, Pub. Praeger; ISBN 0-275-97606-8; (30 April 2002)
- "African Exodus: Refugee Crisis, Human Rights, & the 1969 OAU Convention" by Chaloka Beyani, Chris Stringer, Pub. Lawyers Committee for Human Rights; ISBN 0-934143-73-0; (July 1995)
- CEC.rwanda2.free.fr, Report on the Rwandan Genocide in 2000.
- Black-king.net, Emperor Haile Selassie I speaks at the OAU conference, Addis Ababa, 1963