February 11, 2012

Why Did the African Union Snub Emperor Haile Selassie?

Filed under: Africa,Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 9:55 pm
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Emperor Haile Selassie with Ambassador Ketema Yifru (Photo:

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – African leaders gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, for the Assembly of the African Union this month. The leaders took the opportunity to inaugurate the new Headquarter building constructed at a cost of 200 million US dollars as a donation of the Chinese government.

Amidst the many dazzling features enjoyed by the new facilities, striking was the statue in the forecourt of Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President. Dr. Nkrumah is a well known and respected figure in African history for being in the forefront of the movement for African independence from European colonialism and for a proponent of Pan Africanism.

Without denying Dr. Nkrumah the credit he deserves for all mentioned above and more, it still defies logic why his statue stands in the forecourt of the African Union building in Addis Ababa while there is no memorial whatsoever to Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.

No one with any sense of history whatsoever can reasonably claim that Dr. Nkrumah played a more significant role in the formation of the OAU, now the AU, than did Emperor Haile Selassie.

No one but Ambassador Ketema Yifru, (Foreign Minister at the time), who seems to be all but forgotten as well, can make this claim without opposing the historical evidence. The leaders of the 32 independent African countries came together in Addis Ababa Ethiopia in May of 1963.

Most of the public is unaware of “the shuttle diplomacy, the closed door negotiations and all the effort” preceding the creation of the OAU according to the Mekonnen Ketema, son of Ketema Yifru on his website dedicated to the creation of the OAU. Read more on


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