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African Unity Is Not Wishful Thinking

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African Unity Is Not Wishful Thinking
African unity is not wishful thinking, it is a necessity!

Last week, specifically the 25th of May,
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.

It 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 LeaderMuammar 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

It 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
common leadership.

This 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.”

Is this 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
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
(Former President, NUGS)