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

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tries. The South African based Business Day praised the AU in its
early days for "present[ing] an opportunity for the continent to shrug off
the interlude of denigration that some believe should be the continent's
eternal fate"

(Business Day, 16 August 2002). Generally speaking, there

had been high hopes in Africa and beyond that the continent would
move towards peace, stability, and socio-economic development after
the AU superseded the OAU.

Contrary to the OAU, a strident defender of national sovereignty

and the principle of non-interference in other states' internal affairs,
Article 4(h) of the AU's Constitutive Act allows for

the right of the Union to intervene in a Member State pursuant to a
decision of the Assembly in respect of grave circumstances, namely:
war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity as well as a
serious threat to legitimate order to restore peace and stability to
the Member State of the Union upon the recommendation of the
Peace and Security Council

(African Union 2000).

As a result of this reorientation, the AU sent peacekeeping missions to
Burundi (2003), Darfur (2005), Somalia (2007), the Comoros (2008),
and most recently to Mali (2013) and the Central African Republic
(2013). Furthermore, the AU adopted a policy to condemn any uncon-
stitutional change of government by automatically suspending the
country from the AU, indicating that non-interference is no longer
sacrosanct. As a consequence, the Central African Republic, Egypt,
Guinea-Bissau, Madagascar, Mali, and Niger have been suspended in
the past after coups in these countries. The AU also takes a strong
position on political violence. A recent example is when the AU Peace
and Security Council turned against one of the AU's main sponsors,
Libya's former head of state Gaddafi, during the early phase of Libya's
transition process in 2011, and condemned his regime's and the oppo-
sition's violence (African Union Peace and Security Council 2011). Yet,
it is also true that the AU's approach is not coherent. For instance, as
discussed in more detail below, the AU did not address the crisis in
Zimbabwe in a sustainable manner.

The APSA is only one frontline. The list of further challenges is

long and includes a democratic deficit, lack of respect for human
rights, rule of law, economic decline, brain drain, poverty, starvation,
marginalisation, poor infrastructure, and the persistent weakness of
African states (Herbst 2000; Cilliers 2003; Murithi 2005; Makinda and

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

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