General News of Thursday, 31 May 2007
Accra, May 31, GNA - The debate on the type of governance system to achieve political integration for Africa took centre stage in Parliament on Thursday, with majority of members calling for gradual integration and popular participation on the matter.
According to members, a gradual integration just like that of the European Union (EU) was realistic and attainable rather than an overnight unity of a Federal United States of Africa modeled after the United States of America.
Members, in their contributions, were unanimous that Africa could not avoid unification, but urged that debate on the issue be carried over to the people, who should decide their destinies.
Members of Parliament (MPs) were contributing to a statement by Nana Akufo Addo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD on the African Union summit slated for Accra in July, this year, which would see a gathering of heads of states from Africa to debate on the way forward for a union government for Africa.
Mr John Mahama, (NDC-Bole Bamboi) in his contributions to the statement, said it would have been proper if the Minister of Foreign Affairs had moved a motion instead of coming to the House with a statement on the unification, to enable the Ghanaian legislature debate and issue resolutions to be present to the July summit. He said as things stood now, whatever contributions the House made would just be brief comments and not a full debate with impact and weight.
Mr Mahama, was, however, of the view that there were hurdles to overcome to have one political and economic governance system under one African President and a more realistic approach was a gradual process using regional bodies as building blocks.
Mr. Abraham Ossei-Aidooh, Deputy Majority Leader, who expressed similar views, said it was not just possible to merge at a go without some institutional reforms such as establishing and harmonizing the legal environment to govern various aspects of governance.
Mr. Lee Ocran, (NDC-Jomoro), said Africa should be prepared to stand on its feet by weaning itself from external controls through financial independence if one sovereign African state is to emerge. Mr Osei-Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, Majority Chief Whip, was particularly concerned about the input of the masses in the destiny of the future of Africa, saying, heads of states should consult and get the mandate of the people before deciding on a united continent.
Nana Akufo Addo, earlier, in his statement, said: " the question that poses itself, and which the Accra summit will answer, is this -what is the sort of governance system that can best maximize our ability to achieve the political and economic integration of our continent, which the member states recognize as being in their collective and individual interests?"
He said, with regard to the demand for immediate government, questions remained to be clarified to ensure a clear decision on the way forward.
He said these include the issue of surrender, partial or total, of sovereignty and the representative nature of continental government. "In all this, where, then is that most important entities, the entity to whom all acts public policy are accountable-the citizen, the individual citizen of Africa? How will his or her human rights be protected and advanced? Will he or she be entitled to the respect of the principles off democratic accountability and the rule of law?" "These are some of the weighty matters that the Ghanaian Chair of the assembly in the person of the jubilee President, the President of the Republic, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, will have to arbitrate here in Accra at the July summit," Nana Addo added.