Sunday, April 01, 2007

Forum: Is African unity a dream worth pursuing?

Forum: Is African unity a dream worth pursuing?


Gamal Nkrumah argues for a renewed political commitment to the African unity that his father envisaged
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Osabutey Anny in Tema, Ghana writes
Those calling for African unity are just making a mockery of themselves.
Look at the continent today, every so-called president wants to stay in power till death so the question is, who should head the union?
This alone is enough for those advocating African unity to stop before their throats run dry.
Emmanuel Thompson writes
In unity lies strength. African unity can be traced back to the formation of Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 now the African Union (AU) has two main agendas.
The first is to ensure the decolonisation or political emanicipation of the African continent, and the second is to ensure the economic intergration of the continent.
It is only with the achievement of both of these that one can confidently say that the dream of African unity has been realised.
The decolonisation of the African continent has been achieved; what is yet to become a reality is economic integration.
In my opinion African unity is still a dream worth pursuing, however problems such as ethnicity, quest for power, amassing of wealth by corrupt leaders, diseases, ethnic conflict, manipulation of data on Africa by African leaders, unhealthy rivalry between ruling governments and oppositions, and international trade conditions are likely to delay this dream.
Atina Ndindeng in Manchester, England writes
African unity is just a mirage because of greed, dishonesty, and corruption among the executive whom we hold in such high esteem and should be setting an example, but they are all failures and political demagogues, shame to most African heads.
Cornelius Adjetey in London, England writes
I am the founder of the AFRICAN UNITY MOVEMENT (Uniting people of African origin for economic progress) University of Westminster. I salute any persons who share this dream. This is the ONLY way forward for Africa.
Whoever says this is not possible is a big failure. We need to educate ourselves, friends and people around us about Africa unity.
We have started with an awareness programme and we need support from all believers.
Checkwell Tom Siwa in Kampala, Uganda writes
For the sake of catching up with the West, I believe Gamal is ultimately correct.
If we are to be on an equal footing with the rest of the world, we have one choice, UNITY. THE UNITED STATES OF AFRICA.
It will expand our markets, bring harmony among Africans and a give us better bargaining power when dealing with the West.
Musa Kalawa in Los Angeles, USA writes
Yes, it is worth pursuing: To support my thesis, we most first look at the prospective benefits presented by the idea of a united Africa.
With unity, there will surely be less conflict in the continent.
With unity, we will be able to better understand and respect the diversity in our cultural differences.
With unity, there will be fewer borders thereby allowing most Africans to assimilate into other cultures which will help us better understand each other.
John Moi in Khartoum, Sudan writes
A majority of people will accept that the question of who is an African is still problematic.
Culturally, the guys in North Africa including our own Sudan consider themselves as Arabs.
In secondary school days we learned about the map of the Arab world to really emphasise that my country belongs to that part of the world.
Pan-Africanism and Pan-Arabism oppose each other to the effect that North Africans have very little to do with the rest of sub-saharan Africa.
We cannot subscribe to the idea of united states of Africa without answering this genuine identity question in clear terms.
Aturjong Abraham in Khartoum, Sudan writes
Come on African leaders, give your response to the idea of African unity. Please make it meaningful and credible to the next generation and all people around the continent.
We look to you to hear how you support the vision of Mr Gamal Nkrumah.
Philip A Boldit in Texas, USA writes
A United Sates of Africa is a dream that is attainable. I think that eastern Africa, together with South Africa will be the first to achieve this dream.
But what Africa needs now is the assurance from the big powers, like UK, France, USA and China that a united Africa is not a threat to their interests.
African Arab countries of Sudan, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Morocco, and Mauritania will have a difficult choice: They will either look more to the Middle East or accept the political reality of being Africans ahead of anything else.
Dagnogo Bakary in Abidjan, Ivory Coast writes
Africans must keep in having faith in the African unity. Africans' efforts will be rewarded one day thanks to God. May our dream come true despite the hardships we Africans encounter.
Okey Aligbe in Niamey, Niger
Gamal Nkrumah should return to Ghana and first unite with his kith and kin before preaching African unity. Action speaks louder than words!
Sieh from Marietta in the USA writes
Which religious principles will a united Africa be founded upon?
I am one hundred percent in favour of a United States of Africa, but there is a catch. The United States of America was founded on Christian principles, that is why we have United States of America today, what principles will Africa be founded on?
We have got to look in that area also. Right now, the world has been poisoned by Christain and Islam religions - Let's take that into account.
If we do unite, which principles are we going to follow?
My mother once said, "asking to know something doesn't make you stupid", therefore, I would appreciate it very highly if someone could enlighten me on the possiblity of Africa been one country.
Dennis Turner in Middlesex, England writes
It's time Africa unite. With Africans putting aside selfishness and greed, religious, tribal, and cultural differences, then a united Africa would be one of the most powerful states on earth. Otherwise I foresee an extinction of the African race purely because of selfishness and greed.
Abednego Majack in Rumbek, Sudan writes
United States of Africa? The phrase sound good but the question is, do we really see ourselves as African regardless of our colonial boundaries, religions and regional groupings?
Here in Sudan our problem is greed that hides behind religious claims such as a non-muslim cannot rule a muslim. What is so much special with our creeds that we totally failed to understand that we are all still Africans living on the African continent?
Kwame Nkrumah's vision of a united Africa is at threat unless the Pan African Ideology is fully understood in Somalia, Sudan, Mauritania and Egypt so that people in these countries see themselves as African and not Arabs, see themselves as brothers and sisters not Muslims and Christians.
Aquiring an Arab naturalisation either through birth or by religion is fine but does it mean creating an Arab continent within the African one?
The AU must be very serious when considering how to make African unity attractive otherwise the continent will still remain in two halves, sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa and problems will develop along that fault line.
Mustapha Shehu Barnoma in Khartoum, Sudan writes
USA sounds a great idea.
It is surprising that Africans are still refugees in their own countries and some people from another continents claim our countries and kill our brothers for their skin colour or just because they are Africans.
I would love a United States of Africa or a new Africa that represents Africans and their interests - an Africa for Africans.
C. Alexander Brown in Rockcliffe park, Canada writes
I want to say three things. First, yes, African countries should definitely unite. But an African united states is not possible. Too much ego stands in the way, too many regional interests, and also outside interference would prevent it. Would the USA want to see a truly united Africa? Would the leaders of northern African countries, [with the notable and admirable exception of President Ghadaffi], who admit to being African only when they need votes at the UN or for some other geo-political purposes, want a United Africa? Dream on!! So let us be realistic and practical and think of a Federation of African States along the lines of the European Union. And we should get on with it now. Right now.

Current African leaders are far lesser men that the African leaders who fought for independence... Nyerere had the guts to invade Uganda to get rid of the homicidal maniac, Idi Amin.

Second, most of the current African leaders are far lesser men that the African leaders who fought for independence from colonialism; N'krumah, Luthuli, Nyerere, Kenyatta, to name just a few. Would these leaders stand by impotently, while Arab racists in Sudan rape black women and slaughter 200,000 black Africans? Nyerere had the guts to invade Uganda to get rid of the homicidal maniac mass murderer Idi Amin. I have nothing but contempt for most of today's African leaders who specialize in getting rich, attenting international conferences and making fine speeches - the blood of the victims of the Darfur holocaust is also on their hands as because they won't intervene overtly or covertly to save their black brothers and sisters.
Third, I want to point out what we ALL know, but do not speak about. The continent of Africa is the richest continent on planet earth with oil, gas, minerals and brilliant hard-working people. So why are the millions of ordinary people of Africa the poorest, sickest, most hungry and deseased folks on the face of our Earth? Every right-thinking, moral and proud African must declare personal war against this present situation. Otherwise we will continue to remain poor and miserable while making the rest of the people on earth, including those who have nothing but scorn and even hatred of us, rich. Surely, surely surely, we are better than this?
Malachy Osunwa, a Nigerian in Uganda writes
Africa can unite when we are able to accept each other as brothers and sisters and stop licking the boots of the 'white' people. When we begin to believe in our capacities as human beings, and not as 'slaves' of Europe.
When we begin to think and think hard, not just believe that our land is cursed by some non-existent deity. When we can build up some self-esteem before other continents and see ourselves as 'images of God'. These are some basic steps towards the unity of Africa.
The heads of states who form the AU are there planning to perpetuate themselves in power, they have little time to think of Africa. They seem to be united in criminal oppression of Africans and a sell-out of the cream of Africans due to poor infrastructural developments. They must repent to pave way for greater unity of the Africans.
Africans must get away from the deep-seated mutual distrust of their fellows that they nurse within their hearts, believing that these others are just there to "pull them down". Mutual distrust cannot give Africans unity. That is the fact!
Irving Baysah in Austin, Texas writes
I've always been a proponent of African unity. I sincerely believe it's the only way forward for all Africans.
Based on recent African history, I like another Ghanian's idea better; he's Edward Oppong, a construction worker in Texas.
He proposed that we start small communities of countries that would do more than just meet at ECOWAS meetings. I like his idea, because people with common interest will unite around that objective.
Instead of getting in big debts, I say - let one nation have a great science program (say Nigeria space program), another have a great electricity supply (say Ghana's dam) and have another have a great rice/yam farm (say Liberia) and find a way for mutual cooperation.
Let's face it, being black is looked down upon everywhere (including Africa). The Arabs will never respect us until we rise above the immense poverty and bring back our dignity from the days of Ghana, Mali, Songhai and Ashanti empires.
People from around the world came to study at Timbuktu, we need to go back to those days. I BELIEVE THERE WILL BE NO UNIFICATION WITHOUT MUTUAL BENEFITS!!
Ibrahim Abubakar in Accra, Ghana writes
We have left our food unwatched and now that it is burning look at us complaining.

Saying and doing are two differents things; Nkrumah did not only pay lip service in the independence speech of Ghana, he also went a long way to walk the walk.
How many African leaders after him were ready to shelve their countries interest for all of Africa? Nkrumah was accused of serving the interests of Africa to the detriment of Ghana, but at the end of the day it did benefit the whole continent.
In this day and age where we as Africans cannot draw a line between where skin colour, ethnicity, religion and culture end and where Africanism and so-called hypocrisy of democracy begins, unity will continue to elude us.
We have left our food unwatched and now that it is burning look at us complaining.
All we are good at is ranting and raving about racism, Africanism, united Africa and African unity but we fail to show any political will to work towards that AFRICAN UNITY!
Israel Ambe Ayongwa in Bamenda, Cameroon writes
Lofty as this idea of a United States of Africa is, one major barrier towards this is the colour factor.
Maghrebian states more often than not will prefer to side with their Arab siblings in the Middle-East to the detriment of black Africans in sub-Saharan Africa.
Immigrants using north Africa as a conduit to Europe have often decried the mistreatment they are subjected to in this region and the situation is deteriorating to a stage where every black African found up north is viewed as a potential migrant to Europe.
If we can overcome this colour barrier, then we will have initiated a crucial step towards fostering African integration.
Godlove Stephen Mbisse in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania writes
"United African States" sounds brilliant! However I think the unification was much easier then than now.
It is a lost opportunity for African presidents have already tasted the sweetness of being in power and most of them are drunk from it.
I don't think African heads of states are ready to sacrifice their power and sovereignty at the altar of unification.
Betty July in Juba, Sudan writes
It is imperative for Africa to unite only if we Africans accept ourselves as African and genuinely support each other.
While we still identify ourselves by our boundaries, religions or denominations, I am still sceptical about this united Africa.
Dela Folie in Tema, Ghana writes
A lot has been said about the whole of Africa uniting - how great that would be!! How do we get it all started?
The first step I believe is to have the majority, if not all, of Africans being in favour of it.
Then where do we go from there? We've talked a lot, let's act and keep discussing. This beautiful continent Africa needs to unite.
Ebrima Sankareh in Raleigh, USA writes
I am glad that you are working towards your father's fantastic dream of continental unity. I am an admirer of your father's political philosopy and share the same view that African unity is a must.
I am originally from the west African state of The Gambia and had worked as a high school teacher and journalist before I fled Yahya Jammeh's tyranny.
"TYRANNY' & "CORRUPTION" are barriers to African unity and any effort at continental unity must tackle these evils.
Aturjong Abraham in Khartoum, Sudan writes
African leaders must take it seriously about what African unity will bring to the continent.
I do agree with Mr. Mark Wood for his comment (below) it is true that if African leaders and citizens commit themselves to unity then I think Africa's development will accelerate.
Johnny in Monrovia, Liberia writes
The idea of unity if great. I think it will enable peace and agreement for God's sake and the world.
I strongly oppose war lords recruiting child soldiers to satisfy their selfish gain.
Harun Mito Daudu, a Kenyan living in Richmond, USA writes
I totally concur with Kwameh's dream of African unity but I don't think that he managed to prepare other Africans to have the same vision that he had.
There are certain places the guest or the child can't go without permission, even though they share the house.

We talk of free movement and doing business among ourselves without impediments, that's fine but first we must put infrastructures in place to support these schemes so that it is not just rhetoric.
In the USA or EU, a child or a guest in a house has no absolute freedom and right to just wander about wherever and whenever he feels.
It never happened back then in Africa and it will never happen right now. There are certain places the guest or the child can't go without permission, even though they share the house.
Limits must be set and enforced. Let us put our "house" in order and seek with humility what we can and can not do in order to attain the freedom and respect for one another that we all yearn for.
Ernest, an African living in Nashville, Tennessee, USA writes
Did we have the Soviet Union fulfilling its commitment of creating a highly developed society for its people?
Didn't America fight a civil war to preserve the union - the super power that is the United States of America today?
Don't we have the European Union today that is growing into such a powerful socio-economic, cultural and commercial and political block that commands world attention?
Why would some Africans and their leaders not have embraced Nkrumah's idea of a continental union? Tell me they are poor souls with small minds who do not see further than their own shadows, and I am your man.
Speak up Gamal, and certainly the time will come when the truth and sanity of the idea of a union will overwhelm spineless, selfish, and pitiful skeptics who refuse to see the big picture. That day will surely come.
Moorish Nubian in Marrakech, Morocco writes
The AU - a healthy outcome
No! Africa Unity is not a dream rather a reality.
After 50 years it is a shame that the planted tree has not being watered for long enough to see the full bloom of its agenda of a union of African states.
But the healthy outcome is the renowned Africa Union - a new birth to give this generation stability and economic reforms.
Black Africans have always shared the platter with their Arab counterparts. The establishment of the O.A.U. and the creation of the Arab League; both bodies' agendas seem parallel.
Today what is happening in Darfur and what is happening in the West Bank are equally painful to both parties keen to seek peace.
Sauli Swai in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania writes
Recently, Kwame Nkrumah's dreams of African unity have faded because the continent is free from so-called colonialism.
Before independence, unity was an attractive option and Africa was open to any allies which showed any indication of helping them to overcome colonialism. That is why Russia and China, whom helped some African countries and treated themselves as the same, provided a more clear road to unity.
But now there is no symbol of unification, everyone is concentrating on saving their citizens from living on the less than a dollar a day breadline.
Mark Wood in Greenwood, California, USA writes
In a United States of Africa, a citizen could freely travel anywhere on the continent to seek education, opportunity, commerce or the simple pleasure of tourist travel.

A United States of Africa can prevent an African apocalypse on the horizon if unification does not happen NOW!
In a United States of Africa, a citizen could freely travel anywhere on the continent to seek education, opportunity, commerce or the simple pleasure of tourist travel within their vast country.
A common African currency much like the EU model affords the ability to buy and sell throughout the continent with a reliable backed currency.
Much of Africa's debt could be relieved if freedom and capitalism were able to thrive in any African state from taxes paid by companies involved in business in any African location.
An immediate positive effect would arise from and establish local, municipal and federal levels of the united African infrastructure throughout Africa. A United States of Africa debate must begin at once, in the media, on the airwaves, in discussions and editorials.
Clement Kuol Biong in Mahe, Seychelles writes
A veteran Sudanese politician, once compared the Sudan Socialist Union of Jafaar Numeiri's rule to a shadow tree where we come just to share the shade but what each person under the the tree is thinking about is not necessarily the same.
So how can Africa be united when we are still tribally fragmented and no African leader is interested in uniting his own people?
How can African unity become a dream come true when different groupings of the AU have their own hidden agendas.
The Arabs have never stopped their dream of imposing Islam culture on African masses by the sword, a practice which is still widespread in Sudan up to today.
Cherno Bah in Cardiff, UK writes
Gamal Nkrumah's feature on African continental unity, on the occasion of 50 years of independent nation states in that most beautiful of continents, is poignant, insightful and piercingly honest.
Indeed, Gamal's father knew that the only way Africa can assert its identity and strategic relevance, in a world of economic and political blocs, is by the creation of a unified continental governing body, empowered to formulate and implement a common foreign, defence, economic, health and social policy.
Nkrumah's vision for Africa has been and still remains the only plausible and holistic approach to the continent's numerous divisons and conflicts, and perhaps the only hope to front the ever-increasing exploitative and pimping advances of a neo-colonialist so-called 'G8 camp'.
Bethel Okara in Owerri, Nigeria writes
The decline in African/Arab co-operation is having adverse effect on Africa. It has created enemity between Arabs and non-Arabs in Africa; what is happening in Sudan is a clear example.
The AU should find way to promote African/Arab co-operation cos it will help to minimise the conflict in Africa.

Summit to focus on 'United States of Africa

January 31 2007 at 03:56PM
Addis Ababa - The next African Union summit to be held in Ghana's capital Accra in July will see a new push from some leaders to build what has been dubbed a 'United States of Africa', diplomats said on Wednesday.Several participants in a two-day AU summmit in Addis Ababa that wrapped up late on Tuesday said west African states were broadly supportive of a closer union, while countries from the south had been more sceptical.According to one delegate, South African President Thabo Mbeki told his peers at a closed-door meeting on Tuesday that "before you put a roof on a house, you need to build the foundations."
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By contrast, Senegal's President Abdoulaye Wade wrote a letter to his fellow heads of state at the summit urging that moves to draw up a constitution for a "government of the union" should be accelerated.And, Senegalese Foreign Minister Sheikh Tidiane Gadio said the next AU summit would be exclusively devoted to the idea of forging a closer union."This is an historic victory," he said. "Following the demand of President Wade, the next summit in Accra will only be about the issue of bringing about a United States of Africa."Ghana's President John Kufuor, who was elected the new AU chairman after member states rebuffed Sudan and will host the Accra meeting, said in closing remarks Tuesday that African states had much to gain by forging closer ties."Divided we are weak," he said. "United, Africa can become one of the world powers for good." - Sapa-AFP

Scholar Explores Problems And Challenges Of "United States Of Africa

March 05, 2007
Scholar Explores Problems And Challenges Of "United States Of Africa
Dr. Molefi Kete Assante, an African scholar, presents "Toward the African Renaissance: The Problems and Prospects of a New Africa" at 7 p.m. on March 8 in the Cooperage. The event will be streamed live on the web. To view visit http://streaming.sonoma.edu/.
Asante discusses the dream for a United States of Africa, a movement that begun by Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana's first president. Ghana celebrates its 50th year on March 6.
He examines the prospects for an African Renaissance based on the idea of an African Federative Union and present the prospects and problems of a continental government in Africa.
Asante is a professor in the Department of African American Studies at Temple University where he created the first Ph.D. Program in African American Studies in 1987.
He has published more scholarly books than any contemporary African author and has recently been recognized as one of the ten most widely cited African Americans. Black Issues in Higher Education recognized him as one of the most influential leaders in the last 15 years. As an activist scholar, he believes it is not enough to know, one must act to humanize the world.
The African Union honored him as one of the twelve top scholars of African descent when it invited him to give one of the keynote addresses at the Conference of Intellectuals of Africa and the Diaspora in Dakar in 2004.

AU to consider ‘United States of Africa’ at July summit in Accra

AU to consider ‘United States of Africa’ at July summit in Accra

Category: africa Dated: 27/03/2007 Forty-four years after Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah called for a United States of Africa at the founding conference of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, this summer African leaders will once again debate the issue. Email Godwin Read & Reply Discussions [1] Alerts Godwin's Archive RSS - What is RSS? Share Story Print
Godwin Nnanna
Kwame Nkrumah thought a united Africa could break the chains of colonialism
Not one of us working singly and individually can successfully attain the fullest development. Kwame Nkrumah, at the first conference of the AU in 1963
Forty-four years after Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah called for a United States of Africa at the founding conference of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, this summer African leaders will once again debate the issue.The proposal is being put forward by the incumbent chairman of African Union (AU) and will be considered by leaders of the 53 countries of the continent as they gather in Accra in July for this year’s AU summit. Ghana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nana Akufo-Addo, announced this in a presentation to the Ghanaian parliament on the event. The proposal is to have a common African country that will be run federally, mirroring the formation of the United States of America. According to Akufo-Addo: “All member states have been asked to critically examine the issue ahead of the summit and to come up with steps needed to ensure its actualization.” Ghana’s parliament will debate the matter in during its sittings in May.Making the proposal in his speech at the Addis Ababa conference in 1963, Nkrumah had noted: “Not one of us working singly and individually can successfully attain the fullest development. Only a united Africa functioning under a union government can forcefully mobilize the material and moral resources of our separate countries and apply them efficiently and energetically to bring a rapid change in the conditions of our people.” Nkrumah’s idea of a united Africa is one with a union government with headquarters in a central place in Africa, (he actually suggested Banqui in the Central African Republic or Kinshasa in Congo), that will among other things have: a common economic and industrial development programme, a common currency, a common foreign policy, a common army and a common African citizenship.“The people of Africa call for the breaking down of the boundaries that keep them apart. They demand an end to the border disputes between sister African states – disputes that arise out of the artificial barriers raised by colonialism. It was colonialism’s purpose that divided us. It was colonialism’s purpose that left us with our border irredentism that rejected our ethnic and cultural fusion,” Nkrumah told participants at the conference.
Hope for Africa lies in a united continent
Work for unity with the firm conviction that without unity, there is no future for Africa. Julius Nyerere, Former President of Tanzania
“No independent African state today by itself has a chance to follow an independent course of economic development, and many of us who have tried to do this have been almost ruined or have had to return to the fold of the former colonial rulers. This position will not change unless we have a unified policy working at the continental level,” he added.Reflecting on that proposal by Nkrumah at a special lecture in Accra in March 1997, former president of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere noted: “Nkrumah was opposed to balkanization as much as he was opposed to colonialism in Africa. To him and to a number of us, the two – balkanization and colonialism were twins. Genuine liberation of Africa had to attack both twins. A struggle against colonialism must go hand in hand with a struggle against the balkanization of Africa.” Nyerere charged the new generation of African leaders with a charge. “This is my plea to the new generation of African leaders and African peoples: work for unity with the firm conviction that without unity, there is no future for Africa. Africans should spit in the face of anybody who suggests that our continent should remain divided and fossilized in the shame of colonialism, in order to satisfy the national pride of our former colonial masters.” The Accra Summit will also seek to address the composition of the AU Executive and a replacement for Alpha Konare who has indicated he intends to step down as a AU President. The African Peer Review Mechanism will also be on the menu of the summit and the unresolved business of pockets of conflicts in parts of the continent.