Adebajo on Mbeki – Criticism which reinforces Africa’s subordinate position in global affairs

On September 27th, Centre for Conflict Resolution’s Dr. Adekeye Adebajo wrote a critical appraisal of former President Mbeki’s article: “The African Union at 10 years old: A Dream Deferred” which appeared in last month’s edition of The Thinker magazine.

The response, entitled: “Is Mbeki correct to declare the AU a failure?” and published in the Business Day, argues that the former President’s critique of the African Union is “akin to infanticide”, presumably the murder by Mbeki of his own child.

To support this conclusion, Dr. Adebajo also makes some startling arguments, among them that:

(a)   Mbeki must accept some of the responsibility for the AU’s failures he has identified since he was President of South Africa for six of the 10 years of the AU’s existence;

(b)   “Many of the rent-seeking leaders Mbeki condemns were allies with whom he worked closely;

(c)   “The western governments he criticises as “neocolonial” were the same governments he went to year after year at annual summits of the Group of Eight industrialised countries to seek increased economic assistance and military support for Africa, which never arrived;”

(d)   As President of South Africa, Mbeki did much damage to its credibility of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM);

(e)   Mbeki’s criticisms of western intervention in Côte d’Ivoire and Libya are questionable since it was largely held that President Laurent Gbagbo had lost the November 2010 Presidential elections and there were, with regard to Libya, “no clear positions being communicated to African missions in New York from the AU Commission in Addis Ababa;” and,

(f)   Mbeki’s “curious post presidential “radicalism” sometimes seems little more than a useful stick with which to beat his presidential successor,” i.e. President Jacob Zuma.

Firstly, we should accept that former President Mbeki’s assessment and conclusions of the first decade of the AU might well be wrong, and as a result, can and should be challenged including by ‘public intellectuals’ such as Dr. Adebajo.

Contrary to what Dr. Adebajo suggests, one can find no evidence that Mbeki sought to distance himself in any way from blame about the weaknesses and mistakes of the AU during the period when he served as President of South Africa.

Proceeding from this assumption, Dr. Adebajo says that Mbeki “would surely have to accept some of the responsibility for the failures he identifies,” as though he has implied or had said anything to the contrary.

As a logical result of this fundamentally wrong assumption, he arrives at the entirely absurd conclusion that what he describes as Mbeki’s “curious post presidential ‘radicalism’”, as he put it, “sometimes seems little more than a useful stick with which to beat his presidential successor.”

One can find no evidence to suggest that when he served as President, Mbeki ever thought that he had the power singly to determine the future of the AU and the fate of our continent.

It follows that Mbeki would never accuse President Zuma of failing to do what he knows he could not do himself. To do so would be to abandon rational thought, to ascribe failures of the AU to a single individual, in this case President Jacob Zuma, thus “to beat his presidential successor.”

Nevertheless, one would like to challenge Dr. Adebajo to cite every instance in which Mbeki has, as he claims, opportunistically used his public commentary to “to beat his presidential successor.”

Dr. Adebajo’s other assertions are similarly difficult to understand. Their intellectual probity would not survive even the most cursory of intellectual peer reviews.

One of these is that as President of South Africa, Mbeki “did much damage to [the] credibility of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).”

One is aware that this assertion has been widely marketed in the media. Frankly, it bears no resemblance to the truth.

When the South African Peer Review was presented to the AU Heads of State and Government Summit in Accra in 2006, the sharpest and most pointed criticisms of the Review were not advanced by Mbeki but by his Peers, the Heads of State and Government, who thought that the Reviewers had, in part, not understood various specifics of South African reality.

These observations were accepted by the Reviewers, led by Professor Adebayo Adedeji.

Both the Peers and the Reviewers accepted that the “criticisms” of the South African Peer Review actually helped to improve rather than weaken the effectiveness of the APRM.

The South African Government accepted the overwhelming majority of the APRM criticisms and recommendations, and presented a detailed programme of action to the Peers to implement the APRM suggestions.

Perhaps the strangest is the suggestion that simply by government taking issue with one or more of its findings would damage the APRM’s credibility.

With regard to the conflict in Côte d’Ivoire, Dr. Adebajo is humbly advised to conduct research about that country, the its political and economic relationship with its former (some might say current) colonial master, France in general and during President Laurent Gbagbo’s tenure in particular and as it relates to the November 2010 Presidential elections. It is not enough merely and only to rely on the “feelings” of AU and UN member-states, however many they might be.

One cannot but agree with Mbeki that what should inform Africa’s response to its challenges is a deep and objective understanding of these challenges to enable us as Africans to solve our own problems.

As Africans, we did not do this with regard to Côte d’Ivoire, and will inevitably reap the whirlwind of the permanent instability of this important African country.

Those familiar with the order in which the Libyan events succeeded one another will find it strange that Dr. Adebajo argues that the AU did not communicate “clear positions … to African missions in New York” or, for that matter, a clear plan about the resolution of the conflict in Libya when the UNSC adopted its infamous Resolution 1973.

The argument is entirely false.

It is a manifestation of something deeply corrupt in the conduct of public and intellectual discourse, i.e. the abandonment of publicly available facts in fear to swim against the current of the powerful.

As a result of this, Dr. Adebajo finds nothing wrong with the UNSC/NATO intervention in the African country of Libya, as he believes that the relevant and solemn decisions of the AU Peace and Security Council taken on 10 March 2011, and immediately communicated to the UNSC, an entire week before its adoption of UNSC Resolution 1973 on March 17 2011, had absolutely no meaning!

One does not understand how he could make the bold and entirely false assertion that “no clear (AU) positions (were) communicated to African missions in New York from the AU Commission in Addis Ababa” ahead of the adoption of Resolution 1973, thus to justify both the adoption of this Resolution and its treacherous support by the then three non-permanent African members of the UN Security Council!

Why does Dr. Adebajo elect to market the perpetuation of the continent’s subordinate relations with the rest of the world by enthusiastically twisting publicly available facts?

On the strength of the available information and everything they know about the history of Africa’s relations with the West, many Africans have no hesitation in stating that the West intervened in Côte d’Ivoire and Libya to serve its own interests, with absolutely no regard for the views and interests of the peoples of our continent.

If Dr. Adebajo has any information to the contrary, he should make it available so as to empower all Africans to speak and act in a correct manner.

It may very well be true that while he served as President of South Africa, Mbeki did not do many things which could have served the African objectives for which he argues.

However, even if this is true, this can never mean that because Mbeki made the mistakes which he might have made, this empowers others of our leaders to make the same mistakes.

The young generation of Africans is watching carefully what the generations preceding them will do including correcting the wrongs committed by the Mbeki generation.

What this generation appreciates about what Mbeki wrote in assessing the first decade of the AU is that he did not cover up the faults of his generation, including himself, and has therefore provided it with a clear indication of what needs to be done to ensure that our continent achieves its renaissance during the current century.

It draws inspiration from the statement he made in his article that, “as a matter of fact the (African) Union achieved much during its first ten years.”

In the very last sentence of his article, Dr. Adebajo accuses Mbeki of a false “radicalism” relating to the fundamental socio-economic and political transformation of Africa and its relations with the rest of the world.

Anyone who is familiar with Mbeki’s views, which he has expressed over many decades, would know that any ‘radicalism’ in the article on the AU at 10, if any, is by no means ‘post presidential.’

Mbeki’s public policy comments made over the decades bear remarkable consistency both in the strategic framework and the tactical messages he has communicated publicly.

Whatever ‘radicalism’ Mbeki might have conveyed in The Thinker magazine article is perfectly in keeping with the ‘radicalism’ upheld by the ANC during these decades.

To return to the substance of Mbeki’s concern, it would have done the continent a great deal of good if the July 2011 AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government had taken the trouble to assess and publish a serious agreed document on “The State of the AU and Africa, 10 years after the Establishment of the AU.”

This would have provided us with the broad breath of African views about our immediate past, which would help the entirety of our continent, and the African Diaspora, properly to discuss and chart the way forward regarding the second decade of the AU.

The importance of this challenge will be emphasised by what our continent will have to do during 2013, as it marks the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity.

Mbeki’s faults notwithstanding, I am certain that Dr. Adebajo and I would be agreed on this.

One therefore looks forward to his own assessment of this half-century as one of our eminent ‘public intellectuals.’ Hopefully such assessment will not seek to reinforce Africa’s current subordinate position in global affairs.

A luta continua! vitória e cérta!


52 thoughts on “Adebajo on Mbeki – Criticism which reinforces Africa’s subordinate position in global affairs

  1. I read Dr Adebajo’s article on Business Day two weeks back and I was also surprised at his criticism, having read Mbeki’s article I was really confused at how he came about his conclusions, I respect him as an intellectual and I have been impressed with his analysis but I was also disturbed by his willingness to discard available facts to advance a clearly false proposition, especially on Libya, my conclusion about the article was Adekeye was so eager to find fault with Mbeki and was willing to ignore even the most basic of facts to achieve his objective. Lukhanyo

    1. I have read Adebajo’s unfortunate article which cast unfounded and desperate aspersions on cmrd TM. It is clear from the article that Adebajo’s selective memory is sponsored by some forces hellbent to perpertuate Africas subjugation. it is a well calculated piece of vitriol and an act of a wayward charlatan whose express purpose is to damage TM’s reputation but also silence his crittical and continued exposition of western colonial agenda. Africas leaders should condem Adebajo’s silly thoughts and expose him for what he is. The AU should respond to this wayward charlatan..

  2. we crafted response, Africans need not to bow to our colonial masters, but seemingly the soo called intelectuals are still content , their libarated minds are still chained by yorke of colonial bondage. truely soo this generation is closely watching and the time is ripe that we lead, the elder generation has run its coarse, let their wisdom be our light. we must lead, we must lead. Aluta continua

  3. Dr Adebajo’s criticism of President Mbeki “holds no waters”. He does not argue like a Public Intellectual….!

  4. We all have our own concepts, ideologies, understanding and our own thinking. He has the right to say what he says. But my questions are. What has he done to correct, unless being misinformed?, What about other African leaders, why are they spared from all this? my last would be why only now? Are we looking for all these last straws to hold onto? They say “What ever good I do no one remembers, whatever wrong I do no one forgets.” Mbeki ran his race and he played his part, why find faults?

  5. I remember reading the ANC government review of Government after 10 years in 2004. it was an astute and honest evaluation so i am in total agreement with the gist of this article i.e. that the REALITIES should be frankly identified, listed, agreed upon, and then dealt with. One of my personal MAJOR peeves, is that we, South Africans of all creeds, colours, orientations etc, like to deal with OUR PERCEPTION of what a particular situation is. We prefer NOT to deal with the REALITY that exists.

    This makes for the kind of comedy we see in our parastatals where government is still not prepared to admit that if you want to run a company which operates in amongst global competitors, you have to allow its CEO and leadership to appoint the BEST people they can find GLOBALLY. You cannot foist your friends and comrades on them as their staff. Putting in place a technocratic board of specialists to oversee them is simply laughable as a Board is NOT there to involve itself with the day-to-day technicalities of the business. But this is exactly what has happened at both Eskom AND SAA.

    Minister Gigaba, who has been acknowledged as hardworking and genuine by members of both boards is being provided with poor counsel in this respect. In order for a technical organisaion to work well, its STAFF needs to be able to take care of business and make the company run profitably. NO board can fix the appointment of mediocre staff members and such appointments have become the norm in parastatals. i have chosen to speak of parastatals specifically because in South Africa our parasatals still have some good people who have survived the slashing political machetes. New appointments, well, we are just lucky if senior appointments are based solely on merit.

    In the political realm, politics in Africa has been characterised by the enrichment of the elite. This has not yet been addressed seriously by any of the governments as far as i can tell. until it is and the development of all the people in our African countries is the focus of our leaders, any discussion of Leadership as a category of activity in the African context and particularly as it pertains to political leadership, is, in my view, pointless.

  6. i wish the intelectuals should channel their energy and do what the puplic can see and benefit rather than criticizing each other and enter into useless endless arguments as we all aware of the fact that no human can create paradise but less talking and more action will be appreciated

  7. Dr Adebajo makes many sweeping statements void of fact or consideration of facts. He seems or comes across as having been eager to put down the statement by the former president without taking time to apply his minds. That being said, he should rather engage in “solution finding” discussions rather than finger pointing. We should go past that stage as Africans. We need to own our continent, in turn own our problems (inherited or otherwise), in turn take responsibility and find solutions.

    Victory is certain.

  8. It appears clearly to me that Dr. Adebayo as an intellectual , is busy fighting for space within the African Continent , for what good reasons , one does not know ! However,one is also absurd and very much dissapointed on his assertion and perspective on the role played by President Mbeki , may be moving forward when we engage this article the following questions must be raised :
    1. Who is Dr Adebayo , within the African Politics?
    2. What role did he played as the famous or populist intellectual in the broader politics of Africa?
    3. Where is his loyalty , because he could clearly misrepresent our continet and align himself with the west , particurlaly on the issue Libya ?

    1. Exactly who is this guy? to start with,we don’t even know him for God’s sake, who is he with his shallow minded to criticise our former President, Mbeki has done so much for South Africa and Africa as a whole. This thing called Dr Adebayo or whatever he calls himself, his criticisim doesn’t carry any water, he might as well die and fertilise the soil and leave our President alone. why is he focusing on the negativities, rather than the positives, whether u like it or not, Mbeki is our President and will forever respect him for the contributions he has done for our Couuntry and the entire Africa

  9. I don’t have a problem with other responses of Mukoni to Dr Adekeye. However, I wish to say that Mukoni should also dispute (counter-argue) the ‘accusations’ of Dr Adekeye to Pres Mbeki by stating the facts as we know them, in particular the following two issues:

    (c) “The western governments he criticises as “neocolonial” were the same governments he went to year after year at annual summits of the Group of Eight industrialised countries to seek increased economic assistance and military support for Africa, which never arrived;”

    (e) Mbeki’s criticisms of western intervention in Côte d’Ivoire and Libya are questionable since it was largely held that President Laurent Gbagbo had lost the November 2010 Presidential elections and there were, with regard to Libya, “no clear positions being communicated to African missions in New York from the AU Commission in Addis Ababa;”

    The majority of Libyans &Ivorians, whether one is bitter about it or not, are pretty much better off without those two tyrants (Gadaffi&Gbagbo). People must learn to move on & accept that reality.

    If the AU wants to be taken serious, it has to be seen doing something meaningful for the people of Swaziland,Madagascar,Zim etc. Otherwise any intervention by external forces such as Nato will always find resonance to many Africans…I for one will always supported them.
    AU has becoming nothing more more than a library of talks, cheap talks, indecisiveness, eternal fumblings & rubber-stamping of illegitimate&discredited leaders.

  10. For me, there’s nothing wrong with criticising any other person. We must all be criticised and we shouldn’t take that personall. I have no problem with Thabo Mbeki criticiseng the AU. But he should also include himself as part of the reasons that the AU has failed. He has also been there since the days it was formed and has been at the for front of it. I don’t agree though that Mbeki does it because he is fighting some petty battles with Jacob Zuma. I don’t see what he has to gain from that. But he himself has always been intolerant of all those who criticised him when he was president of SA. Many politicians in the ANC were sent by him to political wilderness because they held different views to his. This is immature of any leader. He should be the first to uphold the constitution of SA which protects everyone’s beliefs and views.

  11. I have not read Adebajo’s article in the newspaper, however, the summary I get here makes it hard to believe that these are his original assumptions. The Dr knows the challenges that Mbeki’s regime faced as-to use his own words, a “potential hegemon” in the continent. In his article, THE PIED PIPER OF PRETORIA, available at, he clearly articulates Mbeki’s visions and challenges in relation to African unity, and the issues raised here seem to reflect a different perspective altogether.

  12. Let’s call a spade a spade: Professor Adebajo is fundraising by the well known opportunistic method of ‘Mbeki-bashing.’

    He wants research grants from quarters he knows are ever ready to fund anti-Pan African academic and political output. Mukoni should have addressed this directly rather than take a long voyage along the Garden Route when he wants to come to Johannesburg.

    The professor’s response to President Mbeki is populist, vulgar, repugnant and ethically suspect. The fact that President Mbeki went to annual G8 summits to seek increased economic assistance did not then make the countries any less imperialist then.

    President Mbeki knew this then as he still does. He does not need Adekeye Adebajo to educate him and us of a fact so simple and straightforward. Prof Adebajo did not expect President Mbeki not to deal with western countries because they are imperialist.

    If the economic assistance which President Mbeki sought and was promised by western countries did not come, surely the blame cannot be laid on President Mbeki’s door but the western countries for not fulfilling their promises.
    Similarly, the fact that President Mbeki condemns “rent-seeking” African leaders does not preclude him from working with them. Only someone who wishes to operate in a perfect and ideal world can make such a shamefully uneducated remark.
    But it is Professor Adebajo and not an illiterate that we are talking about. His critique is at best populist and at worst vulgar.

    Lastly and perhaps most disconcerting is that Professor Adebajo wants to use his academic platform to silence President Mbeki. That is why, in addition to what I have raised above, he accuses President Mbeki of undermining President Jacob Zuma in his public comments.
    The fact that he does not so much as attempt to argue this point is deliberate. It is intended so that we, the readers, must dismiss President Mbeki as a consumer of sour grapes each time he makes a public comment.

    For a distinguished academic such as professor Adebajo to stoop so low is repugnant and ethically suspect. There must be better ways to raise research grants than these dubious means.

  13. Dr Adebajo allowed his focus to drift away from the content of the article but allowed it to target the author. Criticism allows ideas to e sifted and thus perfected but it needs to be constructive particularly when coming from an intellectual of Dr Adebajo’s calibre. Hindsight is never brave nor innovate but it is very good a tool to asses where one could have erred – if one gets such analysis from somebody who has traveled the road then listening could be very helpful towards finding better solutions.
    The issue of Côte d’Ivoire is one example where former president Mbeki was very vocal from the onset. French and UN interventions were never honest as the breached many standing agreements meant to bring lasting peace. In this respect they overlooked the issues of disarmament which resulted in no-go areas leading to disputed results. The issue of the constitution with its contractions led to the controversy around results announcement. It also worsened the conflict that is still continuing to this day proving military intervention was not the best solution for such a divided and strife torn nation.

  14. I’m astounded by Dr. Adebajo’s criticism of former President Thabo Mbeki’s analysis of the AU performance. According to Dr. Adebajo, it would be wrong for a parent to criticize their child’s behaviour simply because the parent gave birth to and raised the child. Dr. Adebajo needs to be reminded that it’s now four years since former President Mbeki vacated the Presidency of SA, and over such a period a lot of things happened within the AU for which he (Mbeki) couldn’t he held responsible. I’m particularly perturbed by his assertion that the AU failed to communicate a clear position to whoever it was supposed to do so hence the invasion of Libya by foreign NATO forces. What kind of reasoning is this? Does a failure to communicate a specific position warrant an invasion of a sovereign state by foreign forces? This is nothing short of shocking especially coming from a learned individual! The AU seems, as a continental body, to have jettisoned the goals for which it had been established. This is a view held by many people across the African Continent, and Mbeki, as a citizen of the African Continent, has every to express an opinion on the performance of the continental body. It’s morally reprehensible for Dr. Adebajo to try to ascribe the woes of the AU to former President Mbeki for the mere reason that he (Mbeki) helped set up this body (AU).

  15. Professor Adebajo’s critique of Thabo Mbeki probably ranks as one of his most unimpressive works.

    Surprisingly, he does not devote sufficient critical reflection to “rent-seeking leaders” and those “AU leaders” he says “can still routinely ignore the unenforceable judgments of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights.”

    In fact he equates this breed of leaders to Mbeki since they were “allies with whom (Mbeki) worked closely” and since, above all, Mbeki “did much damage to (the) credibility” of the African Peer Review Mechanism.

    If, according to Prof Adebajo, Mbeki’s critique of the AU “comes across as akin to infanticide,” the substance of his argument suggests that Mbeki committed infanticide years before.

    The professor rightly points out that it is “certainly much too early” to declare the AU a failure after barely 10 years in existence and draws a comparison with the European Union’s 35 year experience to establish a single economic market and the continuing struggles to that end.

    Yet, the professor at one and the same time rubbishes as “a toothless talk shop,” the Pan-African Parliament, one of the plethora of AU institutions which Mbeki cites as part of the Union’s successes. Is it not “certainly much too early” to declare the Pan-African Parliament as a toothless talk shop after only a few years of existence?

    So, whereas Prof Adebajo correctly argues that the AU should not be dismissed as a failure, he dismisses and thereby undermines his own argument, the AU successes which Mbeki catalogues.

    He also glosses over and confuses the issue when he discusses the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire. He writes: “The UN had 8,000 troops in the country as well as electoral monitors, and it is unclear what Mbeki would have wanted the AU to have done in this case.”

    Mbeki briefly served as the AU’s Special Envoy to Côte d’Ivoire after the November 2010 Presidential elections. He submitted a Report which made recommendations about what needed to be done to address the crisis. The recommendations were over taken by events, not the least important of which was the deployment of UN troops into the conflict on the side of one of the belligerents, Alassane Ouattara.

    The fact, as Prof Adebajo knows well, is that UN troops are deployed into conflict situations on the authority of a resolution of the UN Security Council (UNSC) which prescribes when and how to use force.

    The expressed objective of the UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire as contained in the UNSC Resolution 1528 of February 27, 2004 is “to facilitate the implementation by the Ivorian parties of the peace agreement” of January 2003 which aimed to end the war between the Forces Nouvelles de Côte d’Ivoire (FNCI) and the government.

    Nowhere did UNSC Resolution 1528 and subsequent resolutions authorise the use of force against either the government or the FNCI or later the government of Laurent Gbagbo or Alassane Ouattara’s group.

    The deployment of UN troops, fighting side-by-side French forces and the FNCI to remove President Gbagbo by force was not only immoral but also illegal.

    Both the immorality and the illegality tell us a story about the imbalance of global power relations which gives rise to the “neocolonial” instincts by former colonial powers of which Mbeki is rightly concerned. Prof Adebajo does not address this and instead rubbishes a concern which affects Africa and the developing world as a whole.

    He is rather more than willing to descend into the lower depths of cheap populism such as when he asks: “as president, where was his outrage when France intervened twice with military support to save the autocratic regime of Idriss Déby in Chad in 2006 and 2008?”

    (If French interventions in Chad were as simple as Prof Adebajo projects them to be, it would be tempting to pose the same question he asks of Mbeki to him.)

    What Prof Adebajo does not explain is that unlike the French military intervention of November 2004 in Côte d’Ivoire, the Chadian interventions were at the consent of the Idriss Déby government. It would therefore be unwise and futile for a President Mbeki to make public pronouncements against French military intervention in Chad when the Chadian government rightly or wrongly does not find such intervention objectionable.

    Yet another factor is that the Déby government was then fighting the Front uni pour le changement – United Front for Democratic Change – rebel alliance which was receiving much of its support from the Omar Al-Bashir government of Sudan as a quid pro quo for Derby’s support of the late Khalil Ibrahim’s (Darfur) Justice and Equality Movement.

    More generally, it is to be expected that the imperative for diplomacy does serve as a factor of restraint to serving Heads of State and Government from expressing certain positions directly and in doing so, in ways mindful of diplomatic sensitivities.

    The attempt to silence Mbeki by levelling unfounded accusations on him such as the insulting remark about “a curious postpresidential “radicalism,”’ which Prof Adebajo claims Mbeki deploys as “a useful stick with which to beat his presidential successor,” is most unfortunate and says more about the accuser than the accused. It sounds more like the excess verbiage of one of the henchmen of Luthuli House in years quite unlike the present year.

  16. The thrust of Dr. Adebajo’s article is holding personally former president Mbeki liable for the failures of the AU in the past ten years. He deliberately (deliberately because anyone who can punch his way out of a wet paper bag can understand what ten year review means) ignores the fact that what the former president wrote was a review which would suggest that there is an appreciation that the collective leadership at the AU in the past ten years could have done better and most importantly, to highlight the issues that should be avoided in the next decade of the AU existence. Dr. Adebajo’s response can be ignored as a cry for attention at a time when he finds himself irrelevant.

  17. President Mbeki must continue to be vocal on african issues n we will also love him to share his views on SA’s approach on African issues,since 2009

  18. This article does well to eloquently articulate and demonstrate the inaccuracies and inconsistencies in Dr. Adebajo’s article.

    The Dr clearly exposed himself as an individual who chooses to reconfigure facts in the attempt to grandstand in the interest of trying to portray the misdemeanours of the West as a fault of Africans, primarily the African Union.

    It seems that it is beyond the Doctors comprehension that the quest for Africa’s sovereignty is a quest that will be gradual in its process and will have to begin with the State of mind of the African being corrected to not see the West as superiors but to see them as equals.

    I am proud however that there African Intellectuals who have the tenacity to correct other African “intellectuals” who have a misguided understanding on international relations.

    Brilliant article.

  19. The learned doctor has sadly missed the ethos and essence of the Mbeki article, to probe his miss further will not help but derail the importance of the debate that the article sort to provoke. Let Africa initiate the debate on AU since establishment and chart the way forward…

  20. I am quite disappointed by Adebajo takes on a range of issues that he is raising. I must admit though, that I have not read his original work but from the article above outlining his take, I must say, its really sadden me to digest some of his outrageous rants, especially for someone, who is supposedly on a better ground to understand and put things in proper locations, given his proximity to the realities of the continent, president Thabo Mbeki personal contribution and his administration stance on a spectrum of African matters, that SA under Mbeki’s stewardship, championed on behalf of all of us on and off the continent. The disappointing part about not only the substantive issues that the dear Prof is alledging, is also the irritating tendency amongst those in politics, academic world etc who suddenly are protraying Former President TM as an African demon, when in fact they know better. Its sad that, people now have decided to summon enough courage, to distort our history, misrepresent facts and are even willing to go to extremes to display their the relevence and appeal in today’s realities, flawed and misleading as Prof Adebajo’s take!

  21. “…intellectuals have a special contribution to make to the development of our nation, and to Africa. And I am asking that their knowledge, and the greater understanding that they should possess, should be used for the benefit of the society of which we are all members.”
    Julius Kambarage Nyerere…

    Thus I am Troubled by Dr Adebajo’s findings or rather understanding of (the AU a Dream Deferred article). We really are in need of critical thinkers that will always drive the African Agenda forward for its full emancipation as we all know its not yet UHURU. I honestly don’t understand what Dr Adebajo hopes to achieve with his findings but it would be interesting to find out.

  22. Dr Adebajo has personal issues with former President of South Africa,President Thabo Mbeki.

    Africa will never stand on her own two feet if African countries still have political relationships with their colonial masters.
    The AU was created to address African issues by Africans and the silence of South Africa on the Libian issue implied that the AU is nothing but a spineless structure.
    Being able to critisize shows concerns and the Dr’s analysis is way out and bias.
    One might even think the article was written for him.

    President Thabo Mbeki is the best solution to African problems,he has the flames that President Samora Machell had.

  23. To follow Dr Adebajo’s criticism of President Mbeki’s recently expressed critique of the AU one must look at the key points of Dr Adebajo’s reasoning as follows:

    1. Mbeki must accept some of the responsibility for the AU’s failures he has identified since he was President of South Africa for six of the 10 years of the AU’s existence.

    One imagines that the point being made by Dr Adebajo here is that since President Mbeki was around for quite a while in the life of the AU he is disqualified from being critical of how it has been functioning in the recent past. This is rather curious, not so much because it is not informed by a well-reasoned departure point but because it appears based on a choice to ignore telling facts about the six years President Mbeki was in the scene in the life of the AU. My recollection of the period in question is one characterised by signature tune calling for Africa to be allowed to find its own solutions to its problems. This reasoning also wishes away the amount of work put into efforts to resolve the problems of the DRC, efforts that culminated into the Global Political Agreement of Zimbabwe. The amount of work that went into making Nepad a reality can hardly be so insignificant as to be forgotten easily when one seeks to critique President Mbeki’s work for the continent and its structures like the AU. In fact, one would dare to take this matter further and draw a relationship between Nepad and the modernisation of the OAU into the AU.

    2. “Many of the rent-seeking leaders Mbeki condemns were allies with whom he worked closely;

    Dr Adebajo probably had constraints of space and time when penning his article for there can be no other reason why he does not appear to find time to expatiate how working with other African leaders makes it amiss to criticise them when they take the eye off the ball. It cannot be that Dr Adebajo suggests that initiatives to turn Africa into a functioning continent should have been the responsibility of a single leader or country. One cannot help but remember the counsel given to the leadership of the democratic South Africa by one of the most eminent sons of the continent, Julius Nyerere when he addressed the South African parliament. Dr Nyerere warned South Africa not to fall into the trap of attempting to play Big Brother of the African continent. If anything, it would be precisely because these other leaders should have been expected to know better than commit some of the political, strategic faux pas they have in the recent past leading to the destruction of Libya and the polarisation of Côte d’Ivoire.
    3. “The western governments he criticises as “neocolonial” were the same governments he went to year after year at annual summits of the Group of Eight industrialised countries to seek increased economic assistance and military support for Africa, which never arrived;”

    One struggles to understand how the failure of requested aid to arrive could be the fault of the one requesting. The tragedy of this shortcoming in Dr Adebajo’s submission is that it can easily be a reflection of submission penned with a specific intention to impugn the subject of the criticism. The political dynamics of AID are well documented and within reach of anyone seeking to use them to enrich their understanding of how the West uses AID to pursue its own agenda. It is precisely how the West uses the sensitive issue of AID that one cannot help but conclude that they remain ‘colonialist’ in their outlook towards the African continent. Does anyone remember how an ageing President Mandela stood on the stairs of one of his official residences, using President Clinton’s shoulder for balance and support, took issue with the West for this very issue declaring that US was not going to play the police of the world and try to choose friends for South Africa.

    4. Mbeki’s criticisms of western intervention in Côte d’Ivoire and Libya are questionable since it was largely held that President Laurent Gbagbo had lost the November 2010 Presidential elections and there were, with regard to Libya, “no clear positions being communicated to African missions in New York from the AU Commission in Addis Ababa;”

    Say one accepts Dr Adebajo’s assertion that the AU was not giving clear signals to its missions in New York regarding as matter as important as Libya was, wouldn’t this be a plausible basis to conclude that the dream for an Africa ready to resolve its own problems was under threat. Looking at the destruction that was visited on Libya as a result of the ill-conceived UN Resolution 1973, shouldn’t African leaders have known better? It’s not like we do not have the fate of the Iraqis as a reference point for how easily the West suspends adherence to democratic values and respect for sovereignty when their interests are at stake.

    5. Mbeki’s “curious post presidential “radicalism” sometimes seems little more than a useful stick with which to beat his presidential successor,” i.e. President Jacob Zuma.

    I don’t know but all I could do, reading this part, was suppress a burning need to burst out and laugh myself to a standstill. I mean, really now. How insipid can one get? Firstly, President Mbeki has eschewed expressing himself on the politics of the Republic. Secondly, one hardly needs to create straw arguments to raise issues of worry about this subject.

    Having gone through all of these points raised by Dr Adebajo one is left wondering what the haste was with the penning of his article that he took as many shortcuts as he seems to have, overlooked so many facts that he should have considered in making the arguments he makes in his article. Could it be to impugn, cast aspersion or just plain silliness?

  24. Adebajo is an executive director of Centre for Conflict Resolution in Africa and my question will be what contribution has this organization did in African conflict.Most parts of Africa are at peace since the inception of AU(Siera Lionne,Liberia,DRC,zimbabwe and recently Sudan).

  25. I have few things to ask Dr Adebajo. Do you know why Mbeki was removed from his position? I think may be you can share something that we do not know as ordinary South Africans. Fortunately Mbeki is still alive and he’ll remain the pain to those who believe that Africa deserves less. The Dr here seems to be some who has more information but does know how to apply it, so Dr be WISE. Dr Adebajo including other Africans who working with Western countries to undermine Africa may tell you that YOU TOO LATE MBEKI HAS ALREADY POISONED US, he has opened our eyes. He has produced offsprings that are waiting for the right to show their true colours. Mayibuye iAfrica.

  26. My assertion to the comment by Dr. Adebajo is that it can be that former SA president may have been ” a kin infanticide”,however when one sees that the infant is not growing as he/she wanted the infant to be,has an obligationto rectify it and make sure that it goes to be what it is suppose to be. Our Continent is still under siege from the imperialist and it is up to us to make it a point that we assist the AU to go bad to its founding principles as the new AU chair has said.In deed Aluta Continua

  27. well articulated Manenzhe, my take on this is that Dr Adebajo is either misinformed or conviniently want to mislead the masses of African continent about one of its sons, who has galantly continued to fight imperialism. on the other side, he might be reading a lot of western media reports without verifying and taking them as facts.

    the credentials will be the first thing that throws his argument out, he was never there when people were meeting and make good or bad statements that we, the ordinary people never get to know ion diplomatic account. for an intellectual that he claims to be, he lacks facts and enjoys sweeping statements that are dangerous to unsuspecting masses

    i guess, if it was not for the fact that left unattended it will mislead many of our people, i’d would have loved not give him airtime for fear of wasting time.

  28. Hey comradeship what I only know is that Mbeki knows nothing but to work for his people. Mbeki was TOLD go to school and abroad by his elders not his choice but of the country then. I never heard Mbeki working for salary for himself before until he was deputy president and president. He never beatified his surroundings, house or home. I fail to understand know where do all these critisism come from that he might have been trying to discredit Jacob by one way or another. To me the selfless intellectual leader like bra Thibos can and must never be compared to a selfish less intellectual person like Jacob, its a non issue for an intellectual to compare Jacob and Thabo, the ground is not even come on. Mbeki might be wrong nhe but who said he can never be wrong, is a person who is wrong for te 1st time to be plublisiced? Is THIS THE SUGGESTION THAT ONE WAS ALWAYS CRITICAL OF THE GUY AND WAITING FOR A MOVE AND THEN A BULLET? Who’s interest is the publication? Peer review mechanism. Please peers peers peers, were peers under tthe rule of Mbeki? Rich countires Mbeki used to go to for financial aid that never came, what exactly bad and wrong about that, this I just dont understand, its just LIKE Jacob querrY tthat (lol) not an intellectual. Guys leave Mbeki alone or engage with him to get a better understanding of him and not seek popularity out of unfounded critisism.Out OF THIS ALL I CANT SEE WHERE HIS THIS GENTLE WAS TRYING TO SHOW OR WAS IT TO DOWNGRADE THABO? BUT WHY?

  29. It is indeed a pity that “academics” can invest time in such pointless exercises. Making statements that have absolutely no evidence to back them up. Thabo Mbeki was and still is a great leader. I read the South African Peer Review and in my opinion the findings had no bearing on the real situation on the ground. The report did not do justice to the achievements of South Africa as a country. Maybe someone should rather do a lengthy academic critique of that. I see Adebajo as no more than a celebrity wanna-be “academic” just desperate for attention.

  30. Is it wise to continue to beat a Man even when he is down and out? It is very sad to hear such bad thing about the father of African renaissance. I can proudly said I’m an African because of T. M. God bless Africa!

  31. It is not possible for a person of Dr Adebajo’s caliber to miss readily available facts such as events and decisions that led to the brutal murder of the loyal and committed lybian patriot (Muammar Gadhafhi). It is also not possible for him to have missed the crystally clear appreciation of President Mbeki’s acceptance of his own contribution in the failures of the AU. Being a South African that has always been fascinated by President Mbeki’s critical thinking with regard to the West’s selective interest in the state of African democracy, his subsequent removal and humiliation as the President of the Republic of South Africa by the party he loyally served for 52yrs, I can only conclude that Dr Adebajo’s deliberate decision to abandon substantive criticism of President Mbeki’s article smells of “rent an intellectual of their own” tactic of the west normally used to silence those who are brave enough to question them. Those who think that he is defending the current order in SA when he asserts that President Mbeki is in a way criticizing his successor needs to be reminded that Zuma himself has taken decisions that suggests that he is himself an agent of the west.

  32. In my view Dr Adebajo is out there seeking some opportunistic and popularity stunt in criticism of Mbeki for his own benefit in seeking a space in the African continent. The young generation of Africans is watching carefully the kind of leadership which is willing to distribute the imperialist ideas within the African continent in view of seeking approvals. In so doing, we encourage debate and criticism where it’s warranted with honesty at its best, not this kind of attention seeking accusations of Mbeki in every opportunity.

  33. It is disturbing and somewhat disheartening when public intellectuals such as Dr Adebajo critique an opinion piece on the basis of western media propaganda. As young Africans who do read and spend time interrogating issues affecting our continent on a daily basis, Dr Adebajo’s statements not only insults our intelligence but force us to question the institution that is the Centre for Conflict Resolution. Personally, I am interested in reading Dr Adebajo’s own reflection on the successes and failures of the AU over the past 10 years and how he, were he in a position to do so, would have done differently.

  34. The response to the good Doctor deliberate and fatal ignorant criticism of Dr Mbeki is upstanding and against all facts it comes top. The good doctor, it would appear, harbours bitternes that the country that he had hoped will be the leader where african issues globally are concerned was not only because Mbeki was the President for close on 8 years. I differ sharply with Mbeki’s view of Ivory Coast, Liby and Zimbabwe. Yet as a leader he alone has done much to get the people of the west to regard Africa as the giant that she is. Mbeki did much to shape the AU -formally OAU- from the toothless dog it was for many years preceding his leadership, to the roaring lion it now is. You may argue a hungry lion, a lion nevertheless. The ANC being populist sought through the Chair of SACP Gwede, to demonise Mbeki’s handling of The Zim question. Only to do absolutely nothing themselves. History is beginning to judge Mbeki a victor for the African agenda.

  35. Firstly, if someone has a larger political agenda than you, and that agenda has hidden facets, the person will mostly likely need a cover up (story, witness and a body/organisation) seemingly in support of any deluded view they will portray about you. This phenomenon is called centre-bait in politics, which I suspect is also hitting Malema. Secondly, there is another theory that is used here, where Dr Adebajo is blackmailing former Pres. T-Man, as someone who is trying to retaliate, and get back into Power/Possession as if, Mbeki is fighting a battle he has lost. As if, there was a fight between him and his successor (Pres. J Zuma).
    This Dr Adebajo thinks he is the only person who collects and collates facts for drawing a reasonable conclusion on political matters. Lastly, he blames Thabo Mbeki that, while he was President, he sort of messed up by giving suggestions to the APRM body, leading to it being weakened. He does not understand that by giving to much of his criticism unto Mbeki’s endeavours for resolving stagnant matters in Africa, he in turn is exposing himself of being some type of a lumpen, remotely controlled by some UN/EU body to fault find Mbeki and, divert African Leaders from focusing on real issues. You will also recognise how far Mbeki’s intellectual capacity is, by the respect he received from Robert Mugabe and the late Maummar Ghadaffi when he made suggestions on pressing matters on the Continent. Can we now compare him to any other President in South Africa, which seemingly he wants to flog behind the curtains? Dr Adebajo will expose the motive by continuing like this…. This is my free opinion.

  36. I have read the article and lets not pull the gloves out here…yes it is true Thabo Mbeki did a great Job during his 10 years as President and AU member altogether but he also came up with costly and unfathomable plans that couldn’t have worked in Africa..
    For Mbeki to criticise AU and pointing out failure only after his term is not proffessional…as an Academic and intellectual he knew that Africa still needed a fresh approach in dealing with changes..economic,social and development…and that Africans should be Producers than Consumers….Under Mbeki and his policies Africa adopted a begging bowl and the so called AID..he pushed the blame on the past indirectly by constantly preaching Africanism that suited particular time and angry people and that didn’t represent entire African Philosophy .APRM was just a dream and costly one.
    Mbeki was part of AU that he now says it Failed…yes collectively with him included.
    His biggest mistake was intention to make South Africa like a watchdog and thinking cap of Africa and many countries felt sidelined….The Eastern,The Arab community and Ecowas as well as SADC region devided more in his ten years stint than before…PAN Africa Parliament costly as it is …no fruits yet after so many years and energy wasted.
    In South Africa(Mbeki’s country)during his term South Africa bred more Blacks kids trying to be Whites than Whites trying to be Black…and Moral decay is still order of the day and thanks to his funny ideology!

  37. Are we now the Continent where we give credit where is not due to quench our living times?
    We must remember that africa needs solutions Faster than costly exercises that requires patience…and this is a lesson Mbeki learnt a hard way(unfinished hair cut due to black out)when he was kicked out before realising some of his dreams except with his sad “I am an African Poet”.African renaissance was never well defined and thought before,APRM,AU,Pan Africa,Parliament,Ivory Coast feuds,Sudan(on going)…where can Mbeki honestly declare that there is peace in where he laid hands?
    We need creative critism to make Africa grow,Trade imbalances in Africa is still a problem…Mbeki not only sold South Africans but Africans by bringing Harvard and Oxford theories hoping they will work here forgetting just simple thing that “you don’t send boys to collect bees”
    Africa is divided into two political grounds
    1.not so educated(Majority)
    2.well educated (minority)
    therefore some of us understanding politics a bit and how economy works are few and divide into smaller groups like here pointing fingers and Majority who careless whether fracking the gas from the ground might allegedly have negative impact in water and nvironment(eg)or they should not be employed in mines because the site is respected by UN heritage council…these people only care to eat and feed their families not planning …and these people are united so much and need situations favourable….Mbeki failed Africans in his personal capacity as Academic and President of SA…and all his talk of Africa unite was emotional Blackmail…Mbeki was very close to President Bush than any president at a time…Bush constant attack on Mugabe and visa/versa was nothing than Double sided sword.
    Apologies after pressure was not anything to do with strategic planning…when the country was in trouble of HIV AIDS…
    hope one day we would be able to be creative in criticising so that our leaders shouldn’t relax!

  38. We should actually request for proper citation of the documents where Dr Adebajo drew his conclusions from, which hence bring the following issues where former President T Mbeki suggestion have made alliances weak, and he is endeavouring to reach a goal or is aiming for something else greater unforeseen by other African intellectuals/Leaders.

  39. Dr Adebajo did not read the article objective instead he chose to be biased and criticised President Mbeki. Mbeki noted that they is a tendency of some African leaders to become a rent seeking cabal and choosing to be members of the political elite to enrich themselves. Mbeki was right in criticizing the shortcomings of the AU and he also applauded the wonderful work and the instutional foundation laid in the past ten years. All this was fact. In no instance does that reflect any Post Presidential Radicalism posaited by Dr Adebajo. At no point did Mbeki also exclude himself from the blame of the inefficiencies of the AU. Intellectuals are welcome to criticie but also they should applaud the job well done. Mbeki is an Architect of the African Rennaissance, holding the same stature as Kwame Nkrumah, Marcus Garvey, WEB du Bois & Mwalimu Julius Nyerere amongst others. So we should, as Africans not take lightly the ideas posited in Dreams Deferred: Annalysis of the AU after 10 years.

  40. Luambo

    It is failure to check and double check facts that African intellectuals find themselves selling out to the forces of destruction that have no interest in a free and prosperous African continent. Or, is this intellectual naivety deliberate? history will judge.
    Starting with HIV/AIDS – The Mbeki government was courageous enough to take on the pharmaceuticals that were bent on using Africa as a dumping ground. It was, then, necessary to persuade the greedy pharmaceuticals to lower prices and not to sell to SA drugs that were toxic and were not even used in their countries of origin. While doing that his government had to seek alternative ways of dealing with the pendemic. Something that was not raised by the propaganda machine of pharmaceuticals who wanted to dupe SA into buying very very toxic ARVs that they were not using in their own countries. This was, seemingly, one of the means of dealing with the economic crisis that was looming in the western world. As a result Mbeki’s life was in danger. He was asking these unscrupulous pharmaceuticals hard questions and he had to be stopped.

    The Mbeki that Luambo is telling us now that he was very close to Bush will never tell African children that this is the same Mbeki who refused George Bush’s request to put up an American military base in SA. Mbeki did not only do that, He went further to lobby other African states to refuse to allow the same in their countries. Unfortunately Botswana succumbed. No amount of lies and propaganda is going to fool South Africans and Africans in general. Many already know the truth. By coming into these comment pages to promote falsehoods and misrepresent the facts is going to be met with well researched facts let me warn you

  41. Dr Adebajo views are not suprising at all, they represent what is at the core of African diplomatic weakness in the international arena; the substitution of facts and principles for politically expedient solutions, more often then not intended to serve the material interests of former colonial powers. In short: his views are sponsored and asre devoid of fact.

  42. Luambo
    I was going to respond to your limited knowledge but I realised midway your thoughts that you are a lost cause. It will probably take you longer for you to be on the same intellectual level and pragmatic stage that many on these blog are. I wish you the very best of luck. Thank you.

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