Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Gaddafi Dreams Of Leading United States Of Africa

Colonel Gaddafi called for the creation of a "United States of Africa", and appeared to be positioning himself to be its first leader. The Libyan leader's outburst came as the continent's 53 heads of state gathered for an African Union (AU) summit in Accra, the capital of Ghana. Flanked by his usual coterie of female bodyguards and wearing a shirt covered in images of African presidents, he said: "My vision is to wake up the African leaders to unify our continent. Long live the United States of Africa. Long live African unity." But critics, angered at Mr Gaddafi's grandstanding, said that the gathering should focus on Zimbabwe, Darfur and Somalia, and upon the continent's chronic corruption and poverty.
Muammar Gaddafi
Privately, officials from Africa's leading economies, including Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya, were said to be distancing themselves from Mr Gaddafi's statements. The AU is currently the only continent-wide body. But despite promises made at its last summit in January, only Uganda has sent troops to a peacekeeping mission in Somalia, which is still looking for 6,500 troops. Meanwhile, the AU mission in Darfur is so chronically underfunded it is seen as all but useless. Reports show that only seven of the AU's members are up to date with their annual payments to the organisation. In addition, a study by Ernst and Young, the accountants, claimed that more than £1.5 million had gone missing following an AU conference for African academics last year.