Bashing the AU has this year become fashionable, and a series of continuing missteps are not helping the regional bloc's cause.
The ‘African solution’ tagline is already a favourite target of critics, who argue that this brand of diplomacy should really lend itself to a book titled How to do Nothing, by the AU.
Now the African Union has further added to the embellishment with a puzzling choice of envoy in its latest crack at the troublesome Cote d’Ivoire crisis mediation effort.
Last weekend the 53-member bloc appointed Cape Verde ex-foreign minister Jose Brito as its latest go-between in an increasingly rancorous stalemate.
Mr Brito’s credentials are respectable--he has previously served as his country's ambassador to the US, Canada and Mexico ---but as the internationally-recognised presidential claimant Alassane Ouattara let on, his camp had hoped for a person of higher profile, as it cast doubt on his neutrality.
“[Brito’s] personal relationship and his political connection (with rival claimant Laurent Gbagbo is) known to everyone in Ivory Coast," said Mr Ouattara while rejecting Mr Brito.
Mr Gbagbo’s camp did not have any such reservations. "Cape Verde has always shown its neutrality in conflict, and a good referee must be neutral," said a Gbagbo spokesperson.
Mr Brito would follow in the footsteps of a panel of five presidents - no less - which seemingly failed to make headway in convincing Mr Gbagbo to step down.
The Heads of State of South Africa, Tanzania, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania have been unable to convince the Ivorians to form a unity government, another of the ‘African solution’ tenets.
Indeed Burkina Faso’s Blaise Compaoré could not even get into Abidjan, the capital, after Gbagbo supporters accused him of backing the northern rebels propping up Mr Ouattara.
Before this presidential panel, Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga also made a stab at the crisis, and was roundly rejected by the Gbagbo camp for his efforts, having earlier supported the forcible ejection of the Ivorian strongman.
In sending Mr Odinga off to west Africa, the AU said it had mulled over several names that were floated before settling on the Kenyan premier as a ‘credible’ voice.
Despite much fanfare, Mr Odinga made such little headway that Kenya was left out of the ensuing Heads of State panel. In his defence, Mr Odinga grumbled that he got little support from the other wing of the dysfunctional coalition that rules Kenya.
It also did not help that he is viewed as the junior partner in the unity government with President Mwai Kibaki, significantly diminishing his clout.
And former South African President Thabo Mbeki had earlier set off the musical chairs that is the AU’s laborious mediation effort.
His efforts to “transmit” a message from the AU to Mr Gbagbo also failed, for reasons that were unclear.
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo was also sighted sometime in January in Abidjan as he attempted a discreet mediation effort, but his mediation attempt died out as it had begun, with barely a whimper.
Mr Obasanjo’s failure is significant, given he was part of a team of West African presidents that brokered the 2002 Ivorian ceasefire, and had appended his signature to later agreements reached in Ghana and South Africa.
Not to be left behind, then-AU chair Bingu wa Mutharika also stopped by Abidjan in late January. Nothing is documented to have come out of his brief stop enroute to Addis Ababa to hand over the bloc's political leadership to Equatorial Guinea's Obiang Nguema.
Given Mr Brito’s mission may yet abort before take-off, AU chief Jean Ping may already be dusting off some further names to throw into the furnace.
We should perhaps expect to see Tanzania’s miracle man Ambilikile Mwasapile appointed the next envoy. Or Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe. Maybe the exiled Guinean Dadis Camara could also be allowed a shot.