Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription Access

The O.A.U. and Crisis Diplomacy: A Study in Regional Conflict Management

Ekundayo Audifferen


PhD Thesis, University of Aberdeen, December 1987

The 25th of May 1963 marked the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity. This dissertation is an assessment of the conflict management role of the O.A.U. Chapter One proves the background to this study. It traces the history of Pan-Africanism between 1958-1963 and sets out the reasons why the O.A.U. emerged in the way it did. Chapter Two describes in detail the Addis Ababa Summit Conference of May 1963 which produced the O.A.U. Charter. In this chapter the characteristic features of the organisations charter and conflict management machinery are also analysed; thus providing an early insight as to how the O.A.U. operates. Chapter Three provides the first case study. It examines the role of the O.A.U. during the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) highlighting the limitations of the organisation, and the political impact of O.A.U. support for maintaining Nigerian unity and territorial integrity. Chapter Four assesses the conflict management role of the O.A.U. during the Angola crisis (1974-1976). The variety of problems encountered by the organisation following large-scale foreign intervention which led to its failure are also high-lighted. Chapter Five constitutes the final case study. It is devoted to the O.A.U.'s role during the Tanzania/Uganda War (1978-1979). Though devoid of extra-African intervention, the O.A.U. failed to resolve the conflict within the context of African Unity. The conclusion of this dissertation is that Pan-Africanism in 1963 did not transcend the political/ideological, socio-cultural and religious differences that have produced fissures in African unity. Equally significant is member state commitment to their sovereign rights and independence. The logical consequences of the above is the absence in the O.A.U. Charter of any provision by which the individual policies of the member states can be judged in line with the letter and spirit of the O.A.U. Charter. Both factors have had a direct impact on the O.A.U.'s effectiveness at resolving conflicts as the case studies demonstrates. A much closer collaboration by member states in the political, economic and socio-cultural spheres would be needed if the organisation is to play a more effective and significant role in African conflict management. Finally, any changes or modifications aimed at strengthening the O.A.U. cannot avoid the lessening of state sovereignty in deference to the organisation.

Full Text:


Biafran War Database.
Editor: Azuka Nzegwu.

Published by Africa Resource Center, Inc. All inquiries about rights, permissions, reprints and license should be directed to AfricaResource.

Copyright © Africa Resource Center, Inc., 1999 - .