African countries are engaged in an exercise that should ideally be of interest to their citizens but, for all the snobbery assembled in Addis Ababa, might as well not exist.
We are referring to the intense lobbying for the chairmanship of the African Union, a talk shop that only finds its relevance when the common interest of the corrupt leaders who use it as cover is threatened.
Were it not for fallen Libyan dictator Muammar Gadaffi’s generous donations, this irrelevant edifice to the worst of Africa’s leadership would be on its deathbed.
Gadaffi kept the AU afloat for a long time to serve his interests and for that they at some point elected him chairman.
His dream of a United States of Africa is now shared by one Yoweri Museveni, whose record for condoning open competition in Uganda is equally dodgy.
Looking at the leaders gathered round the high table, one might be forgiven for asking what really unites them.
They include Omar Hassan Al Bashir, a wanted fugitive from the International Criminal Court, Kenya which is trying to use the AU to thwart trials of four of its citizens and Zimbabawe whose leader, Robert Mugabe needs no introduction.
Today the AU has a bit more steel in its gait thanks to its adventures in wartorn Somalia where troops from several countries, including Kenya, are fighting Al Shabaab militants under its umbrella.
Outside the theatre of war, however, the organisation is fighting to remain relevant in an increasingly globalised world of international politics.
paying the piper
The voice of the AU is rarely heard when African leaders are slaughtering their countrymen thanks to its policy of not interfering in the politics of member states, which is simply a way of ensuring that it keeps the few countries who actually pay their contributions regularly happy.
Harsh as all this sounds, the truth of the matter is that whoever pays the piper calls the tune and the AU is at the mercy of a handful of corrupt and ageing African leaders who are poisoning the next generation.