Hads of the African Union (AU) members and guests pose for a group photo during the 26th AU summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Jan. 30, 2016.
Hads of the African Union (AU) members and guests pose for a group photo during the 26th AU summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Jan. 30, 2016.

On Wednesday, May 25, Ghana will join the rest of the African continent to mark the Africa Union Day.

Hads of the African Union (AU) members and guests pose for a group photo during the 26th AU summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Jan. 30, 2016.
Hads of the African Union (AU) members and guests pose for a group photo during the 26th AU summit in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, on Jan. 30, 2016.

The day is celebrated each year to provide an opportunity to assess the achievement of the people and governments of Africa.

Even though some modest progress have been made in terms of development outcomes across the continent, many argue that the continent, especially the Sub- Sahara part and part of East Africa continue to wallow in misery and poverty as a result of prolonged conflicts with no sense of direction from an organisation that had been envisioned to provide that leadership.

Critics have lashed out at the Organisation, for its inability to act when it matters the most. In particular they argue that the organisation’s failure to deal with the raging crisis in Burundi, the civil war in South Sudan, and the Ebola epidemic in West Africa confirm that the AU lacks the impetus to contribute meaningfully to improving the lives of Africans.

The AU, they say, did little to protect the rights and liberties of African citizens from their own political leaders, and therefore there is nothing to celebrate.

Such views though uncomplimentary of the AU serve to afford African leaders the opportunity for sober reflection on the almost sixty years of Africa’s independence.

As we celebrate the AU day, we encourage all Africans to reflect on how we can collectively move the African Agenda forward and ensure that the problems of the continent are addressed in a participatory and sustainable manner. The day should remind us of the common challenges that confront our countries, such as poor resource governance, illicit financial flows, weak democratic accountability, corruption, human rights abuses, all of which combine to thwart our efforts at breaking loose from the yoke of under-development.

On this day, it is important for African leaders to be reminded that the indignity and disrespect that their people suffer under their rule reflects on how the leaders of the developed countries view them when they visit these countries or when they meet at international conferences. The unguarded uncomplimentary remarks that Prime Minister Cameron is reported to have made about Nigeria in the run-up to the recent UK Anti-corruption Summit, clearly demonstrates that the amount of respect the respective African countries earn internationally are measured by the quality of governance back in their countries.

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