South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC) cares for the Sahrawi people and, has expressed dissatisfaction over Morocco’s readmission to AU (African Union) wailing that it’s a significant setback to the cause of the Sahrawi people and their quest for self-determination and independence in the Western Sahara.
At the 28th AU Summit in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa on Monday, the 54-member bloc voted overwhelmingly for Morocco’s readmission to AU. After a lengthy debate, thirty-nine of the 54 states approved Morocco’s return to the AU.
To the ANC however, the decision of the AU to readmit the Kingdom of Morocco to the organization, is “regrettable”.
Stating that the Western Sahara is one of Africa’s last remaining colonial outposts, ANC explained that Morocco’s readmission to AU is uncool because it represents a significant setback to the cause of the Sahrawi people, their quest for self-determination and independence.
“The ANC enjoys longstanding fraternal ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Río de Oro (POLISARIO), and with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).
The ANC notes that this decision paves the way for the Kingdom of Morocco to take their place amongst the community of nations and to enjoy the benefits of AU membership – whilst the Sahrawi people continue to suffer under an unjust occupation of their ancestral land.
By readmitting Morocco the AU is tacitly endorsing the longstanding occupation of the Western Sahara. Morocco has to date failed to comply with successive UN resolutions on the issue of the Western Sahara, most importantly the holding of a referendum on self-determination.” ANC argued.
Zuma’s party further noted that it was mainly countries led by former liberation movements on the continent that opposed the decision. The countries include South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana and Algeria.
“All of these countries have been active supporters of the rights of the Sahrawi people and their right to an independent homeland,” ANC observed.
Above all, the party said it would respect the decision of the AU, and hope that the union wouldn’t allow the matter of the independence of Western Sahara to be swept under the carpet of political expediency.
The quest for self-determination by the people of Western Sahara should take centre stage on the AU agenda, ANC charged.
Meanwhile, Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat, was elected the new Chairperson of the AU Commission at the 28th Summit.
After South Africa’s Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, decided not to seek a second four-year term as AU Chairperson, the last AU summit in July 2016 failed to elect a replacement as no candidate secured the required number of votes to take the position.
It’s expected of a candidate to secure at least two-thirds of the vote (36 votes) to take the position. That, didn’t happen during the last summit despite three rounds of voting.
But, Mahamat won on Monday with 39 votes and is set to replace Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.