Thursday, June 8, 2017 8:47 am
By Rhulani Thembi Siweya
In 1984 Morocco left the Organization of African Unity in protest of the organization’s recognition of Western Sahara as an independent state. This is a country which has a history of several failed attempts of European Union (EU) membership applications. Together with Tunisia and Algeria, these are North African countries that belong to the crumbling Maghreb Arab Union which was founded with the aim of consolidating Arab Nations.
Morocco interestingly doesn’t share a boarder with any of the 15 Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) – a regional block founded in 1975 to consolidate economic and cultural ties in the western part of the continent.
But why is it that for the first time in their history of Morocco they are pushing to be part of ECOWAS? What does this mean for the people of Western Sahara and Africans in general?
In his closing summary, the newly appointed head of ECOWAS, Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe speaking on behalf of the region gave a preliminary greenlight for Morocco to be accepted into be block with pending a few issues being ironed out first. This comes at a time when the African Union has resolved to accept Morocco back in the African Union fold a few months back.
It comes at a time when Tunisia is seeking an observer status in ECOWAS. They are all running away from the Arab league because of its instability following the Arab spring. The Maghreb Union founding values are challenged. Morocco is seeking to belong to the African Union because they were rejected by the EU. This calls into question the sincerity of their
Morocco with its strong economy than most countries in the west is busy dangling a carrot to our leaders, this they do by advancing economic relation so they can be accepted and will seek to isolate the People of Western Sahara from within. In Nigeria, they have a bilateral cooperation on gas and pipe line project. In Ghana, they have signed 25 Government and
Private sector agreements.
All these are good for the economic activities of fellow African countries, however, African leaders must not sell their souls and compromise the struggle of the people of Western Sahara. As Morocco makes inroads into the league of African countries, our leaders must be cautious not and stop advocating for the total liberation of the people of Western Sahara.
Ecowas must also not fall into the trap of being enticed by Prime Minister Netanyahu who addressed the summit on the fourth of June by saying ‘ Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel’. In 2016 they made an impassioned plea to the Eastern block of Africa. They are determined to infiltrate Africa. Such statements must not be eagerly entertained because this is a nation which continues to undermine the dignity of Palestinians and refuse them a seat in the League of Nations.
Countries like Israel and Morocco are taking advantage of the weaknesses in African economies, knocking at their doors attempting to buy favours with them. Both these countries
continue to oppress their neighbours and African leaders must not forget that.
Rhulani Thembi Siweya is the founder of Africa Unmasked and an NEC Member of the ANCYL, she writes in her capacity as patron of Africa Unmasked