• Failure to air out political differences of African states, during the Nigerian civil war of 1967-70, Tanzania, Zambia, Ivory Coast plus Gabon remained in total isolation with Nigeria because they supported the Biafran secession. This was blamed on OAU because it had not made enough sensitization in the need for African unity.

  • OAU failed to create a standing army that would solve African problems. It only relied on soliciting support from African countries in times of crisis and therefore it failed to iron out dictators like Jean Bodel Bokasa of Central Africa, failed to end Amin’s rule in a short period, people like Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Ghadafi of Libya did not uphold on to the democratic principles of elections and this created confusion in African politics.
  • OAU failed to end Neo-colonialism throughout its existence, African countries were depending on the former colonial masters and to make matters worse the 1982 OAU summit that was to take place in Libya flopped because of the influence of USA and it was shifted to Addis Ababa. Therefore it is urged that OAU failed to achieve the desire for total independence.
  • The OAU failed to attain the desired unity of Africa. African countries throughout its existence were more concerned about their home problems rather than the continental issues. This created divisions against the future unity envisaged by its founders.

  • OAU failed to end inter state conflicts for example between 1977 and 1978 Ethiopia was at war with Somalia around 1979 Tanzania and Uganda were also at war, this disunity hampered economic development.
  • OAU failed to amend the OAU charter which emphasized the principle of non interference in the affairs of other states, the dictators always used this clause to prolong their stay in power and abuse human rights a case in point is Apartheid South Africa which constantly called OAU members to respect the non interference clause, other leaders like Ghadafi always told other leaders to mind their own business.
  • OAU failed to establish an economic integration of the continent, African states remained very poor and surprisingly 90% of the total trade in Africa was done outside the continent thus regional groupings like COMESA, Preferential Trade Area (PTA), SADCC failed to realize their objectives.
  • The continuation of civil wars was another undoing of OAU. By the time OAU was dissolved in 2002 a number of wars were going on in different parts of Africa for example in Uganda Kony was fighting on, in Sudan SPLA was fighting on and in Somalia civil war was going on, civil conflicts existed for example in 1992 Babangida of Nigeria declared the elections as narrow and void yet in the same country Chief Abiola was detained by Sun Abacha. This shows the extent to which OAU failed to create lasting peace.

  • OAU failed to safeguard the sovereignty and respect of the members states for example in 1968 USA troops bombed Libyan cities of Benghazi and Tripoli, in Congo the Belgian troops occupied without the blessing of the OAU, various military take over were partly influenced by foreign countries and Africa did not rested yet OAU did not do enough guarding.
  • OAU failed to enforce non-alignment as member states became aligned either to the east or the West for example where as Kenya adopted capitalism, Tanzania adopted socialism which limited continental unity.
  • OAU failed to discipline member states which did not pay their membership for example Chad and Rwanda for long refused to pay this fee. According to the 1995 statistics out of 53 countries only 17 fully paid and it was estimated that about 583 million dollars were in debts.
  • OAU was also faced with personal conflicts, misunderstandings by Heads of states in Africa for example Nyerere boycotted the OAU summit in Uganda in 1975 because of personal conflicts with Amin, Nasser and Nkrumah disagreed on the form of unity to adopt in Africa. All these were blamed on OAU for failure to create peace and unity.
  • OAU failed to prevent assassinations of African leaders and Africa lost dynamic and political leaders like Lumumba, Sylvanus Olympio of Togo, Anwal Sadat of Egypt, Melicio Ndadaye of Burundi, Juvenile Habyarimana of Rwanda, and the people who were believed would ensure unity in Africa.
  • OAU failed to iron out differences between black Africans and the Arab North Africans. This was significant in the 1977 OAU summit in Somalia. The Arabs wanted a Somali to be elected as secretary General of OAU as opposed to a black from Zambia. This almost fragmented Africa into the Arab North and Black South. However this was solved by the election of a Cameroonian.

  • OAU failed to protect human rights. Most African states were headed by dictators like Amin, Mobutu Seseko, Sun Abacha who even banned political parties, censored the press but OAU simply condemned and could not remove such dictators.
  • Failure to improve the social welfare of Africans. Africans remained very poor, suffered from curable diseases like Bilharzia, there was poor feeding and mal-nutrition yet OAU did little or nothing to improve on this.
  • Failure to stop ethnic nationalism in Africa. OAU completely failed to stop the 1967 to 1979 Nigerian civil war, failed to unite Southern and Northern Sudan and thus the crisis continued. It failed to cement relations between the Hutus and the Tutsis in Rwanda thus it is argued that the Cardinal objective of peace and stability was not fully achieved.
  • OAU failed to improve on the transport network in Africa which hampered economic progress for example the plan to construct the Trans-African high way from Mombasa to Lagos and from Johannesburg to Tripoli never materialized and this endangered African unity.
  • OAU failed to eradicate the white settlers in Kenyan highlands, Ethiopian highlands, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

  • OAU remained a back bencher in the UNO forum and the problems of Africa were not clearly stipulated that is why African countries did not get enough sympathy and support from foreign states especially during civil wars.


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