A "culture of conservatism" : How and why African Union member states obstruct the deepening of integration (21 pages)

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(African Union 2000). This tension between strict adherence to the sov-
ereignty principle and collective responsibility is reflected in the way
the AU currently operates. While the AU member states — represented
in the Assembly and Peace and Security Council — want to maintain
their influence and control, the AU Commission often pushes ahead,
sets the agenda, and tries to convince member states to follow its
lead. The vast number of decisions adopted by the Peace and
Security Council, for instance, were initiated by the AU Commission,
specifically by the Department of Peace and Security, and not by the
member states. In other words, we can observe a tendency to erode
the AU member states' predominance that might result in a slow
undermining of member states' sovereignty.

Thirdly, the sovereignty question goes hand in hand with the

personalisation of power in many African countries. Even though there
is a growing number of African leaders that leave office after having
lost elections or when a constitutional term limit does not allow for a re-
election (for example, Ghana, Mauritius, Namibia, Senegal, South Africa,
or Zambia), there are also several African leaders that amended their
constitution to allow for re-election despite earlier term-limits (for ex-
ample, Algeria, Burkina Faso, and Uganda) or try to stay in power by
using coercive means as the events in Côte d'Ivoire in 2011 suggest.
The personalisation of power is part of the reason for the image of the
OAU as a 'Club of Dictators' and the AU should carefully watch that it
will not be depicted similarly.

Lastly, regional economic communities are often considered more

attractive for African states than the continental integration project.
This becomes apparent for instance in Burkina Faso, which champions
ECOWAS. The landlocked country in West Africa conducts 26.5 per
cent of its trade within the ECOWAS region (calculated with figures in
Cernicky 2008). This large figure reveals that it uses the regional group-
ing for economic purposes. But it also aims to intensify political integra-
tion, including free movement of people within the community and the
use of a common passport. The same is true for Uganda, where Presid-
ent Yoweri Museveni is a strong supporter of fast-tracking regional
integration in the context of the East African Community (EAC)
(Braude 2008, Welz 2013a). Similarly, Mauritius shows sympathy with
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) project and
hopes that the community will develop further so that trade is intensi-
fied in the region, which in turn will support Mauritius' economy. Al-

Strategic Review for Southern Africa, Vol 36, No 1 Martin Welz

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