Following numerous media articles and views on suspicious conduct relating to the recent UNWTO Secretary-General elections, the photograph depicted above has surfaced of African Union (AU) tourism ministers meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, which according to the then Seychelles Secretary-General candidate Alain St.Ange, could be interpreted as an attempted coup d’etat on the Seychelles.
It seems that this meeting preceded or followed the Zimbabwe organised meeting at the AU Headquarters, which resulted in Zambia sending a letter to the Seychelles asking for the candidature of Alain St.Ange to be withdrawn.
St.Ange of the Seychelles was present at the Addis Ababa meeting and is seen seated in the photograph between the Ethiopian and Ghana Minister of Tourism. St.Ange did not react to Zambia’s letter and this resulted in the sanction letter being delivered to the islands just three days before the UNWTO elections, effectively blackmailing the Seychelles with threats of crippling economic sanctions by AU member states. The African Union’s coup d’etat on a fellow member state had succeeded and Seychelles withdrew the candidature of St.Ange just two days before the elections convened in Madrid, Spain on 11 May 2017.
The strong arm tactic by the African Union must be seen as unconstitutional by world standards. Denying the rights of member states is an abuse of basic human rights. Can anyone today imagine the African Union simply sending a representative to the UNWTO Madrid election with an envelope containing ten votes from the African continent simply because these countries are under the control and fear of sanctions from their AU body? With this frame of mind is it worth having this world tourism body at all?
What will happen next? Can the Zimbabwe candidate Walter Mzembi ever present himself for international office again after this blatant incident of blackmail by the AU for the benefit of Zimbabwe, which trampled on the basic human rights of Seychelles as a sovereign state?
The world has been somewhat disgusted by this turn of events and appreciate the statement by Seychelles’ candidate St.Ange having said that he was humiliated. He is also right in saying that the AU endorsed Zimbabwe but this was not an IMPOSITION of Zimbabwe on the continent.
“Africa cannot impose anyone on the continent,” says St.Ange. “South Africa’s Tourism Minister has drawn a parallel with skin colour as a reason for the loss of the Zimbabwe candidature. This is a sad statement coming from the rainbow nation because skin colour is only used in arguments when no other viable reasons are forthcoming. Lawyers who have inside knowledge of the African Union are actively discussing this African saga and waiting to hear from the AU itself and many members are looking at legal action against the body who should be stopping the continued practice of a coup d’etat.”
In conclusion, the words of Eki Yemisi Omorogbe, lecturer in law at the University of Leicester, UK bear relevance to this saga when he wrote in his academic abstract ‘A Club of Incumbents? The African Union and Coups d’État‘; “As things stand, the AU’s failure to adopt a more nuanced approach (to coup d’etat policy) leaves it open to the criticism that it continues to protect incumbent governments rather than advance the cause of democracy on the African continent.”