Konaré to step down as AU head
Though I seem to have missed this in the English-speaking press, Jeune Afrique reports that Alpha Oumar Konaré will not seek a second term as president of the African Union commission.
In his opening speech to the recent AU summit in Banjul, The Gambia, the former Malian president stated in passing, "In view of the report I have just submitted, my successor will find things in order in 15 months."
For a man so accustomed to pomp and circumstance and grand gestures, this was astonishingly low key.
Jeune Afrique notes that the 60 year old spent three frustrating and tiring years spent governing the ungovernable and for him, and above all for a certain idea of Africa, [his decision] rings as a sign of failure.
Konaré endured a baptism by fire. As AU head, he was a bit like UN chief Kofi Annan but without the prestige. There were many unresolved crises during his mandate: Somalia, Darfur, northern Uganda, the DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Côte d'Ivoire. The was much pressure to implement the famous 'African solutions to African problems' but much like with Annan and the UN, the AU and Konaré were inevitably blamed whenever there was a lack of will by the belligerent parties. In some cases, he was even undermined by the continent's powerful heads of state when he tried to uphold the organization's ideals; JA cites Konaré's refusal to recognize coups d'État in Mauritania and Central African Republic or the monarchical succession in Togo.
All in all, Konaré's term was filled with great expectations but limited results; bitter, parochial infighting undermining admirable goals. In a way, it's emblematic of pan-African organizations since 1963.