Friday, January 29, 2010

African Unity Under Chairman Ghaddafi

NEWS BANJUL,THE GAMBIA(MB)-The Executive Session of the Council (African leaders), between January 28th- 29th,2010, in Adidas Ababa, Ethopia, African leaders are calling for the re-election of Libyan leader, Muamar Ghaddafi,it must have been with a sigh of relief for the Libyan leader, Muamar Ghaddafi, when the last summit of the AU in Addis Ababa agreed to make him chairman of the continental body. He has aspired to have the position previously even offering Tripoli as a venue for the summit at one time but for reasons best known to them, the majority of African leaders failed to support the move.

Of course, the Ghaddafi of old days is not today’s Ghaddafi and indeed the Libyan leader has changed a lot just as the rest of Africa and the world at large. To his credit, he has always stood for African unity and African integration. For him, the concept is not merely one to uphold in order to look good, he even puts his money where his mouth is. In fact, he stands out as one of our few leaders for whom African unity is a matter of necessity. Left to him alone, the whole of Africa would be united as one state under one leader and one flag. He finds it exasperating that this is not possible up to this time, long after the great Pan Africanist, Kwame Nkrumah, dangled the project at the founding of the OAU in Addis Ababa in 1963. But unfortunately, as time went on, the idea of having a United States of Africa a la the US of America has become more and more difficult to accomplish as an objective.

Some tinkering was done in the change of name from OAU to AU, in view of the fact that our preoccupation with colonial rule has ended and a new imperative, that of African unity, has become even more compelling. Some six years down the road with this change to a new name, it has become evident that even with NEPAD the AU is not getting us anywhere near the real African unity of our dreams.

The last AU summit has therefore come up with the new acronym of AA. In other words, we have made progress from union to authority (African Authority instead of African Union). The pundits have since been splitting hairs to let us know the difference between union and authority. As far as we can understand the reasoning, the authority is supposed to have more clout as an organisation than a union. The understanding now is that decisions, normally taken at the level of our heads of state on consensus basis, will be legally binding on member states. The days when a state can walk out of an agreement reached at the level of the summit are supposed to be over. In which case, there can be optimism that this will give a new impetus to the pan African concept.

Which makes the choice of Ghaddafi as chairman of our continental body rather propitious. As everyone knows, he is a fully committed pan Africanist. Not only that, he also has the money and the energy to spend in promotion of his pan Africanist dream.

The whole concept is not lost on him as indeed one can see in his resolve to change to an Authority. The only thing is that the task is quite stupendous and as chairman he has a limited time in which to turn around such an unwieldy organisation as this unique grouping of African leaders. In fact, the task may prove to be greater than Ghaddafi, nothwith-standing his disposition and determination, not to speak of the abundant wealth at his disposal--the array of more than 50 heads of state each pushing a different agenda can in the end prove to be his undoing as far as bringing about continental unity is concerned.

Yet the need for unity is compelling. It is sensible economically and feasible geographically. As a strategy for progress and development, no better solution is available. By pulling our resources together, and putting the available manpower from all parts of Africa to the task of pursuing rapid industrialisation, eradication of poverty and ignorance, Africa can in this 21st. century at last end its unenviable status as the poorest of the poor in respect of the status of its inhabitants. A quick check of some indicators should be enough to sober up the most stubborn cynic in this regard: disease prone, high illiteracy, low incomes of the population, rampant poverty with earnings averaging less than a dollar a day!

And there are such high risk factors as the dangers posed by unforseable developments such as ethnic conflicts of genocidal proportions, natural disasters and manmade ones, gross violations of human rights, thuggery and gun robberies. A more united people with one ideal and one destiny in view should be able to scrape through such matters and join the ranks of world level peers on a basis of respect and equality. Right now the popular image of the African and the African continent has not progressed much from what it used to be, and has not taken the African people and their continent far to where other peoples of the world have reached among the comity of nations.

The disparate tasks being performed by this multiplicity of heads of state each leading a sovereign state and acting in his or her full capacity to steer the way ahead for such states as we now have will certainly not get us out of our present predicament.

Hence the need for us all to give leaders like Ghaddafi their chance of a life time. Let us all for once resolve and accept the need to make headway in forging ahead under Ghaddafi and on the basis of the now newly established authority of African states to have a full united states. We are sure the whole world will then have something formidable to deal with and to determine the future of mankind under this type of dispensation.

For our peoples themselves, just consider the prospects in having one currency, one passport, one government, one set of laws and one army, navy and air force. Above all one finance, health, education, interior, foreign affairs ministry. It would mean freedom of movement, free trade, freer movement of funds and of all kinds of resourcs across the length and breadth of the African continent.

The prospect before us is the possibility of continent wide airlines, shipping, railways, truck and bus transportation as well as developments in industry, the distributive trades, manufacturing and merchandising.We are talking of a new Africa, an Africa one can hardly summon the will to even imagine, an Africa with full rights in all the councils of the world, an Africa that is in a position to deliver its teeming population from the portals of poverty, disease, conflict and doom.

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