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Posted on Wednesday, 09 July 2014 15:44

Should Egypt's suspension from the African Union be lifted?

By The Africa Report

The African Union (AU) was the first international body to condemn the ousting of President Morsi in July 2013. now that the 'ouster', Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is Egypt's elected president the au looks likely to lift its suspension.

 

Yes However, I have a 'but' to my yes. The African Union [AU] has rules on sanctions that govern any unconstitutional change of government. And there is no doubt that what happened in Egypt was an unconstitutional change of government. There is another rule that says in the case of an unconstitutional change the authors of that change should not contest any elections that follow. This rule has been clearly ignored by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, so in principle the AU should not admit Egypt back. However, I don't think the AU has anything to gain by keeping this important member out of the Union for four years. The AU has a dilemma: either to violate its own principles or to keep this contributing member outside. I am in favour of the readmission of Egypt. First, the principle of the non-participation of the authors of a coup d'état has already been violated by the AU itself in the case of Mauritania, whose president is the current chairperson of the AU. Second, sanctions have not been fairly or equally applied in the past. Until the AU clearly defines the scope of the implementation of the rules that govern unconstitutional changes of government I believe that Egypt should be readmitted, but under certain conditions – the establishment of the rule of law; civil and political liberty for all; the dismissal of the death penalties against the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood; and concrete steps towards national reconciliation. ● Désiré Assogbavi, Head of Oxfam International Liaison Office with the African Union.

No One of the African Union's biggest successes has been its zero-tolerance policy towards unconstitutional changes of government: using a stick – sanctions and suspension – to promote democracy, good governance, fair and free elections and constitutional order in the continent. Receiving Egypt back would be wrong on many levels. It sends a very wrong signal to other member states. It will be affirming accusations that the AU is an Orwellian society where some are more equal than others. It will be contradicting not only the AU's documents and previous practices and precedents but also its stance a year back. The AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) didn't call the events in Egypt a military coup but they came out and said that there was an unconstitutional change of government and they suspended Egypt. There are no legal grounds that can lead to the reinstatement of Egypt's membership to the AU. First, the army took a very active part in the removal of the democratically elected president. Second, it is the figurehead of the coup who has won the election. This is unacceptable. As an African I am furious. I think it would be a big, big blow to the achievements of the AU and the efforts of the PSC to set precedents and norms and a political culture in the continent. It will be a setback. ● Hallelujah Lulie, Researcher, Institute for Security Studies, Addis Ababa



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