Date of Award


Degree Type


University or Center

Atlanta University (AU)

Degree Name



Political Science

First Advisor

Professor Mack H. Jones


This thesis is a historical review and an analytical study of the role of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in settling African conflicts. The study begins with a brief account of the formation of the Organization of African Unity. It proceeds with an examination of the OAU Charter and the Commission of Mediation, Conciliation and Arbitration. It then reviews and analyzes the role of the OAU in settling nine major selected disputes and ends with a recommendation for the creation of an All-African High Command, which I believe would make the OAU more effective.

This study is of importance because it attempts to assess the contention of Professor George Liska and other authorities that small or weak regional organizations are incapable of deterring aggression and therefore cannot preserve regional peace and security, and that consequently the influence of big powers will always be present. The study revealed that while foreign influence is evident in the OAU, a few states are adamantly asserting their non-aligned status, and that these countries were most diligent in trying to settle African disputes. The analysis also showed that though the OAU was unable to solve major conflicts, it helped restore peace and security in a number of instances. The overall conclusion is that the OAU is an entity which, though powerless to cope with all the numerous political disputes, is still regarded by a majority of its members as the only African organization which can help bring genuine peace and security to the continent as a whole. The Organization is still searching for means to realise its aims.