Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
September 10, 2006Posted to the web September 11, 2006
According to Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, it is not so much African leaderships that should decide on transforming the continent into a single state with a single government, but the peoples of the 53 current member states of the African Union (AU).
Speaking to Mozambican journalists shortly before leaving the Libyan city of Sirte, where he had attended celebrations of the seventh anniversary of the AU, Guebuza said the abolition of the current African frontiers would depend on each of the peoples of the countries concerned.
They had to decide whether they wanted to scrap all borders, or whether they preferred the continent to remain in the fragmented state inherited from colonial rule.
"We have to think with our feet firmly on the ground", stressed Guebuza. He thought it imperative not to rush into setting up a "United States of Africa" because, although it might bring benefits to the peoples of the continent, it was a very sensitive and complex issue.
Guebuza thus advised a great deal of careful consideration before embarking on such an ambitious project.
Guebuza made it clear that, at the current stage of Africa's development, he thought it would be precipitate to simply declare the existence of a "United States of Africa". Before reaching any such stage there were the existing agendas (national, regional and international) to which countries had committed themselves, but which had not yet been implemented.
"We have to know where we are going and how we are going to get there", declared Guebuza. For him, before taking steps towards setting up a continental government, it was first urgent to consolidate the existing sub-regional bodies. For Mozambique, that means strengthening SADC (Southern African Development Community).
When sub-regional bodies such as SADC had become successful, they might serve as platforms for the much broader integration of the entire continent into a "United States of Africa".
Nor should African leaders embark on such a project without first consulting the people they govern. Guebuza said this is why in Mozambique consultation has already started, with institutions such as universities in an initial phase.
Southern Africa International Organizations and Africa Mozambique
He wanted to see such consultation expanded to the entire population, so that it would not simply be the government that took such a weighty decision for the country's future.
It is the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who has championed the idea of a "United States of Africa", and during Saturday's anniversary celebrations he was particularly strident, calling for the establishment of this new continental body by a simple decree from the existing African heads of state.
He openly condemned those who regard the idea with skepticism, and said they should be forced to accept it. He claimed that those who oppose the "United States of Africa" are motivated by a wish to maintain their current privileges.