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Opinions of Thursday, 17 March 2011

Columnist: Abdul-Yekin, Kofi Ali

Africa Union Presidential Election

Member States Participation In The Africa Union Presidential Election (Part1)

It will be shocking for you to know that 99.9% of the AU (Africa Union) citizens do not participate in the election that result in who becomes the president of the Africa Union authority. It will also be shocking to you in knowing that the election is limited to just 53 people of the 53 member states citizens of the Union, as most do not even know that such election exist talk less of who become the president of the authority of the Union.
It is however very unfortunate that despite the fact of the Union’s President Dr. Jean Ping is the one responsible to every one of the 986 million citizens of the AU member states, less than 1% of these people are aware of the existence of this man and what his responsibilities are to them, as the great citizens of all the AU member states. In fact, this is a man that is fully paid in the hard currency of the US Dollar by the poor masses of the 53 AU member states to do basically nothing, just because the tax payer is not aware of the existence of this man or his responsibilities to him/her.
There are several factors responsible for these abnormalities but first and foremost, knowing the responsibilities of the president of the AU authority to the AU member states citizens goes a long way in exposing these anomalies. The responsibilities of the President of the AU authority are just a broader version of the responsibilities of the president of any of the 53 member states of the Union. So while each of the 53 member states of the Union concentrate on their respective citizens, President Ping’s job is working around all the citizens of the Union. Thus, Dr. Ping’s job is to serve the citizens of the Union’s member states, the leaders of the member states, the member states themselves and the Union at large.
In getting a better picture of this, some good reflections on the responsibilities of the Ghanaian president to the citizens of Ghana within and outside the territory of Ghana, will be explaining this better. Equally, the AU president Ping’s responsibility is to serve the same Ghanaian within, the Union and outside the AU. In short, the responsibilities of the AU authority president are exactly what are expected of the president of Ghana to the Ghanaian.
The slight difference in the duty and responsibility of the AU president and that of Ghana is that the first is expected to concentrate more on an AU wide related issues of the Ghanaian while the second is expected to concentrate on more on the Ghanaian wide concerns. To this extent, the 21,000 Ghanaians said to be stranded in the AU member state of Libyan crisis are the responsibility of President Ping. Interestingly enough, are the very Ghanaians stranded in Libya even aware of this? In fact, the AU authority president is not only responsible for the 21,000 Ghanaians stranded in the AU member state of Libya but also to every Libyan as well as any other AU member state citizen caught up in the crisis.
The thin line between the responsibility of the AU authority president and that of Ghana to the Ghanaian are more or less premised on practicality, efficiency and convenience. In other words, the responsibility of the AU authority president to the citizens of the AU member state of Ghana is to make up for whatever the president of Ghana, as the Union’s member states, is incapable of doing to the citizens of Ghana. Therefore the duty of the AU president is to support the Ghanaian as a citizen of Ghana and the president of Ghana to live up to the expectations of the Union’s dreams and aspirations.
This point therefore can not be said to be conclusive enough without touching on some of the responsibilities of the Ghanaian president and the AU authority president to the Ghanaian. On the economic front, the Ghanaian president cannot claim to be living up to the expectation of the Ghanaian tax payer as reflected in the deficit of almost every facet of the state. From housing, food, road construction, farms, hospitals, factories, industrial advancement, social infrastructure, electricity, telecommunication, education to water supply, the disability of the state in meeting up with these needs of the people is crystal clear. All the above factors directly affect the degree of efficiency of governance to the people of Ghana as the deficiencies in these factors affect the level of security provision to the citizens. In short, these are handicaps to the productivities as well as a dent on the dignity of the AU citizens.
The presidents of everyone of the 53 AU member states have never hidden their inabilities on this and have on every occasion express the need for support of the AU’s president Ping to rise up to the occasion.
The above understanding no doubt exposes the president of the AU authority as the one responsible for making up to the shortcoming of the Ghanaian president. So the failure of the president of Ghana in his duty to the citizens of Ghana becomes automatically the failure of the AU president. Do we blame a child for getting lost in an effort of walking to school alone or blame the irresponsible father of the child for not making up for the short coming of the child in achieving the common family set objectives?
On who is therefore the responsibility for the poor standard of living to the average Ghanaian, it will be very unfair to limit and heap up the blame squarely on the poor president of Ghana JEA Mills, as if President J. Ping of the AU does not exist. The notion of pretention in the non existence of the AU president in the business of the Union’s member states citizens is purely an imperialists making. The imperialists are very much aware of the resultant effect of bashing the AU president. They know very well that such action could wake up the sleeping giant into effectively taking them on, which could be very bad for them. Rather, they paint the AU president as a saint while the poor member states leaders are being hounded by the powerful “Western” gang of parasitic tugs who claim to be civilized.
Most of us are now waking up to conceptual limitations of the Ghanaian presidency that is being presented to us as an absolute authority in the life of the Ghanaian citizen, when in reality, that is not the case. How should any sovereign entity be such hopeless and vulnerable in its duty to its citizens, in favour of other external sovereign entities, and still claim to be sovereign? If not out of madness, how long more does it have to take us before we start understanding that the Ghanaian presidents are just mere actors who know very well that the real solution of Ghanaians is a combination of the states effort and that of the Union? How fair is it on us to be pretending we are blind of the disabilities of the state of Ghana in the face of these fierce powerful ex-colonial powers? How fair is our blindness in overlooking the advantages available to the developed economies of the USA and our Ex-Colonial masters of the EU states in the face of the underdeveloped Ghanaian economy? How do we pretend we are unaware that the larger economies of the world with larger populations like China, India and Brazil are enjoying large market advantage against our dear tiny state of Ghana? What else do we need to confirm to us that our dear Ghana is not economically competitive and thus vulnerable, to make the role of the AU president a must than a choice, in our destiny? Is this not the very reason why the AU was formed in the first place? Are we really aware that the phrase “my country” is synonymous with the phrase “my destiny” and that one’s country is very important determinant of one’s destiny? Are the solutions to this not exactly what the responsibilities of the AU president Ping are?
The reality of what is happening today is that the president of Ghana find himself bearing the burden of the world alone while the president of the AU authority Dr. Ping fain to be busy when he is actually doing nothing. How many of us will even believe that the AU member states leaders blame themselves for not doing enough for their people? This situation is just like a child blaming himself for not eating before going to school, when actually it is the child’s father who did not make the food available in the first place, for the child to eat. Is it a duty of a child to get his own food and feed himself when he actually has a father? Then, what will the father claim to be doing to earn his status as a father to the poor child?
Some people do argue that this will lead of duplication of responsibility that will in turn make the member states government less responsible to their citizens than they are currently doing, as they will be expecting the Union to take care of their citizens for them and thus, making the citizens more vulnerable. Some even said it will be difficult to know who is doing what to the AU citizens, if President Ping of the Union is to increase his interference into “sovereign” member states affairs.
The above position however clearly fails to take into consideration the important factor of natural instinct of responsibility. By this natural rule, the chicken or the she goat still does her possible best in taking care of her chicks or calf, despite all the support she gets from the farmer. The support by the AU president as the guardian of the Union to its member states citizens will rather make the leaders of the member states even work better to up lift the welfare of their respective citizens as the burdens will be reduce much more than is currently the case. Equally, the AU president will be in a better position to ensure that his colleagues, as heads of member states, govern properly as that is the only way his own effort in the lives of the member states citizens will earn him more vote in his AU wide presidential election.
Imagine the AU president embarking on his ambition of building his inter-continental dream roads cutting through Ghana to South Africa or Libya? How many jobs will this be creating for Ghanaians and how many Ghanaians will be getting contracts that will be turning them into billionaires, during or after the completion of the project? Also imagine on behalf of the Union, the AU president embarking on establishing and running of farms, hospitals, universities, research centres, housing projects, electricity project and other energy related ventures in Ghana, as in all the other AU member states? Imagine the kind of a fruitful partnership that will be evolving with this development among the AU citizens, the state governments and the AU president himself? Will this not go a long way in increasing the stock of effort by both the Ghanaian government and the AU authority to the advantage of the Ghanaian citizen? Is this on itself, not enough a premise, for the Union authority to be more interested in the sustenance of peace, democracy and prosperity in all its member states?
Another set of people are basing their argument against this enriching Union venture from the perspective of “sovereignty” of Ghana, as if sovereignty is supposed to be a curse than a blessing? What excuse can anybody give towards working together in the achievement of what is good as against the sustenance of a traditional fruitless ego even when the practice is openly a stagnated phenomenon? Is this hollow “sovereignty” defence not just a case of dogma? What exactly could we be saying our sovereignty really means after displaying all the characteristics of a nations incapable of fully managing our own affairs? Are we aware of our wanton act of being comfortable with giving away all that the generations before us have starved themselves to put in place? Was the higher tax burden our fathers put up with to build us national projects now being freely transfer to foreigners normal? In collaboration with some few of our brothers and sisters, who are doing everything to own these national ventures, we are getting neck deep into questionable debts, like insane zombies, in the name of “foreign investments”. Are all these gimmicks actually making any difference in the lives of our citizens? Is this not a clear indication of lack of what we called “absolute sovereignty?” Are we not openly prone to all sorts of foreign interference and our independence is not making any meaning to the majority of our citizens? What else should we be talking about than an AU presidential responsibility of which our sovereignties will start assuming some practical meaning than having citizens of member states talking about absolute sovereignty of their states, as if its is a curse phenomenon? In reality, our sovereignty is not in our hands in the first place, since we are clearly incapable of guarantying this sovereignty. The real guarantors of this sovereignty are still the powerful ex-colonial states, and this shall be fore ever until we wake up to the AU presidential election. For guarantying this sovereignty for us, we have to pay the colonial masters dearly to explain why we continue to suffer. (Continue in Part2)

Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin
AGA (Action Group of Africa)