It is now almost ten years since the Constitutive Act of the African Union came into force (African Union 2000). The transformation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) into the African Union (AU) and the significance for Africa’s politics of this new institution has attracted a flurry of scholarly interest. Many publications have pointed to the potential of the union in contributing to a more stable political order in Africa. Others emphasize the limitations the African Union has with regard to conflict management and internal functioning (see Francis 2006; Makinda and Okumu 2008). In many cases these assessments are made against the backdrop of the problems experienced by the OAU in its 40 year history, but usually not more than by passing reference. Such mention is often affected by the negative image that the organization developed in the first 30 years of its existence.