Africa: Kigali Summit Marks Shift in How AU Does Business

This year, Morocco decided that three decades was a long time to be away from family and friends and so asked to rejoin the continental body.

What has changed? Not much on the ground. But Morocco must have come to the conclusion that staying out had not yielded much and getting back in might serve a better purpose. And so they want to return and have made a formal request.

The AU members must also have arrived at the conclusion that exclusion of one of their own isn’t very helpful and grant Morocco’s request. It may not be so immediately, but the fact that the step has been taken is in itself significant.

In the past, strict adherence to ideology or expression of solidarity tended to inform most decisions. Increasingly, however, there has been a noticeable shift to pragmatism in politics and diplomacy. For Rwandans, this has been a familiar story these last two decades. Reconciliation is part of the national ethic as is abhorrence for exclusion of whatever sort.

A pragmatic approach to issue allows for the re-evaluation of certain positions and relationships. Rigid ideological positions make the search for workable solutions difficult. On the other hand, flexibility works better and does not in any way mean dilution of conviction.

It is simply a means of accommodating alternative viewpoints. Similarly, consensus gets better results. It is smarter politics and diplomacy to bring everyone on board.