Business - DailyNation - Nairobi - Kenya 
Monday, November 24, 2003 

Group wants AU scrapped


A US-based organisation has called for the dissolution of the African Union and the establishment of a new continental body strictly for democratically elected governments.

The Free Africa Foundation president, Mr George Ayittey, from Ghana, said the AU could not solve conflicts because its leadership comprises "mafia states" practising politics of exclusion.

He suggested that the new body to take over from the AU should ensure independent and free Press in member states, independent Judiciary and electoral commission.

The new body, said Mr Ayittey, must also promote independent central banks and neutral and professional armed forces. 

"Africans must stop putting too much faith in leaders but institutions that can make the countries develop and create wealth for all instead of few individuals who use their positions to steal," he said.

Mr Ayittey, an associate professor at American University, said there were 14 civil wars in Africa at the moment and none of the countries could explain why they were fighting.

The Free Africa Foundation boss was speaking at Whitesands Beach Hotel, Mombasa, when he presented a paper on "Why Africa is poor" at the Africa Resource Bank workshop that ended on Saturday.

He said civil wars had devastated the continent's agriculture leaving Africans poorer by the day.

"What I do not agree with is the way African leaders blame colonialists for their woes. We know that African governments got independence many years ago. What have they done with that independence for their people?" he asked.

He appealed to the continent's youth to salvage Africa by taking a new approach to leadership that would promote democracy, investment and free trade.

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