African Unity Is Not Wishful Thinking
African unity is not wishful thinking,
it is a necessity!
Last week, specifically the 25th of May, Africa marked Africa Day which was originally known as Africa Liberation Day. This Day was a
holiday in most of the 52 Countries making up the Africa Union.
is important to note that the African Union (AU) is a remould of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) which was formed
on 25th May 1963.
The OAU’s main
objective was to seek political independence and protect the sovereignty of its member states. So it was that in 1999 at an
extra ordinary session of the OAU in Sirte, Libya that the Libyan Leader – Muammar Al Gaddafi mooted strongly the need for the continent
to reconsider the original idea of a united Africa – the United States of Africa which was first
espoused by the founding father of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
Nkrumah was a crusader through the length and breadth of Africa with this idea and indeed this was the subject
of his book “Africa Must Unite.” However it appears that this noble and great concept conceived way before the
European Union idea was conceived and implemented appeared to have died when Nkrumah gave up the ghost. (Many analysts believe
the Europeans “stole” Nkrumah’s African Unity concept) It is the Sirte Session
that laid the foundation for the African Union which was launched in South Africa in 2002
is sad though that with the transformation of the OAU to the AU, there is a new form of feet dragging. The AU had been conceived
as the vehicle that will see to the final implementation of Nkrumah’s dream. Unfortunately, eight years after Gaddafi
woke up his colleagues, the new form of feet dragging continues. It is amazing that present heads of states have given themselves
up to 2023 to implement foundational structures like a common currency, a common bank and a
2023 deadline in my opinion is too far for it only allows for complacency. It is for this reason that some of us question
the true motives of the present African leadership. It must not be forgotten that it is these same leaders who rendered the
OAU a toothless bulldog and allowed the OAU to earn the unenviable title as the “dictators club.”
fear of lack of commitment not confirmed, when on the 25th
of May 2007, the present AU Chairman President John Agyekum Kufuor
of Ghana and his colleagues laid a stone for a Chinese sponsored AU building? Why
should China be allowed to sponsor such a special African project? Can
we imagine the European Union allowing Japan to sponsor its first EU building?
Meanwhile it is to be noted that some of the present AU leadership have found
money to raise fancy presidential palaces in their own countries and in the case of Ghana which chairs the AU its presidential
palace is being put up in excess of 45 million dollars. Surprisingly, the AU Chairman cannot persuade his African leaders
to marshal African resources to put up AU structures so that the AU will be truly an African Concept, by the African People
and for the African People.
Honestly, if the same lukewarm attitude that
was exhibited by the African leadership in the days of the OAU which eventually led to its uselessness as it only watched
aloof during the many conflicts and genocides that plagued the African continent then the AU will only be different in name
and a true African Unity shall remain a mirage.
Africans must realize that they are the most blessed continent in the
world as there is more than empirical proof that 70% of the world’s natural resources are in Africa. Nevertheless, the
paradox is that Africa
remains the poorest continent and is only an excavating ground for other continents. Another sad
fact is that despite all of Africa’s natural resources, it only contributes 11% of the world’s trade.
These facts only proof that monkeys play by sizes and it is only with concrete unity without borders and with
a common leadership that Africa can move from the
periphery to the centre of the current world order and the so-called globalization.
African Unity therefore is neither wishful thinking nor a luxury. It is a necessity! If the 150 million African
people living below the poverty line will find hope, if the many proxy wars taking place in Africa all because of our natural
resources will be eliminated, if the senseless war that has already claimed 5 million people in the Democratic Republic of
Congo will stop, if the thousands dying in Darfur will be rescued, and if the African is to find his real pride and identity
and proof to the rest of the world that it is not a lost continent then the only answer lies in UNITY NOW!
It is important that the African Leadership do not consider their own convenience and parochial interest over
the sovereign will of the African people. The threat to their positions and the fact that they may now be “reduced”
to governors in the advent of a true African unity and an African government is still no basis for non-commitment. Indeed
a contrary attitude by the African Leadership will for the first time portray them as true leaders
and not savages out to perpetually devour their own people.
In this light,
we shall be gauging the attitude and commitment of the continent’s leaders when they converge in Accra from the 1st
of July 2007 in that crucial AU session.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa