Is criticism levelled against African Union within reason?

The African Union has over the years come under increased criticism, with commentators labelling it a "toothless" organisation.

Naysayers have lamented the continental body's track record in poor conflict resolution, weak democratisation efforts and human rights concerns.

702/Cape Talk's Eusebius McKaiser (standing in for Redi Tlhabi) spoke to political analyst Prince Mashele and former diplomat Tom Weiler regarding the matter.

Listen to the conversation below:

Mashele said there's little evidence suggesting any effectiveness of the AU according to its own mandate. He said political instability in Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Rwanda are examples of ongoing governance challenges.

Inter-governmental organisations by their very nature are held hostage to national interests of member states. The AU is not an exception, the UN suffers the same problem, the EU is in turmoil because of the same problem.

Prince Mashele, political analyst

Wieler said that the AU has done well in coordinating talks between regional bodies (SADC, ECOWAS and EAC) as it's important for African leaders to talk.

If the member states choose a strong leader to replace her [Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma], perhaps then that person can turn the organisation around.

Tom Wieler, former diplomat
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