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Opinions of Monday, 4 February 2008

Columnist: Agbodza, Kwami

Did Kufour Fail Africans?

The AU today is probably very different from what Dr Nkrumah and others thought about. The population has increase astronomically, new diseases are plaguing our people and resources are dwindling. However, the aims and objectives remain pretty the same but the achievements and progress has become is difficult to notice. I have no doubt the approach of the modern day African leaders is partly to blame for the slow death of our great commission.

There was a time in our history when the slogan of African unity was evident, you could feel it through the positive vibrations of Bob Marley. The approach was to sensitise the people regarding the big idea and seek their participation at all levels. Now we have a new kind of leaders in Africa, majority of who I find illegitimate, corrupt and lack all morality. The only time you hear of AU is if these men and women are going to meet at a five-star hotel for meetings, the ordinary African have little idea where the dream is going. Is it possible to have a cataclysmic event where we all wake up one day to have a united state of Africa? How many Africans actually understand what African unity means today? I believe we need to have a clear road map to integration on a stage by stage level. As of now it looks like the AU is just a gigantic machine which does not really work for any body. The AU has particularly become a white elephant under the current leadership of Mr Kufour. If you doubt me lets compare the aims and objectives of the AU to its achievements under Kufour.

• To achieve greater unity and solidarity between the African countries and the peoples of Africa; Kufour ,how is the situation in Sudan, Somalia

• To defend the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of its Member States; you just do not have any power to enforce this, am I right? How is the territorial integrity of Ghana being defended when tones of cocaine are landing at your ports and your country regarded as a major transit point of drugs, a member of parliament of your party in jail in the Us for trafficking $6 million of heroin into the US and other members of you government are also accuse of similar crimes.

• To accelerate the political and socio-economic integration of the continent; Africa is the only continent that has gone back economically in recent times, how are you dealing with this big idea.

• To promote and defend African common positions on issues of interest to the continent and its peoples; what is African common position on corruption. I the former chairman of your party allegedly accused you of taking bribes from contracts; your son is implicated in a fraudulent telecom deal under FBI investigation.

• To encourage international cooperation, taking due account of the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Jews got reparation for the crimes of holocaust. Other Africans are fighting for similar compensation, listen to yourself regarding the slave trade, you were almost saying we should not talk about it because it would open old wounds and we Africans are to blame for the slave trade.

• To promote peace, security, and stability on the continent; What kind of peace are promoting when you were almost driven out of Kenya because you lack all kinds of credibility, nobody believe in your ability to be fair.1000 people are now dead and the number is growing.

• To promote democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance; Can Kufour explain how come elections in Togo and Nigeria were condemned as fraudulent yet he congratulated the disputed winners and attended their inaugurations but found a reason to send a late congratulation to the clear winner in the Siera Leone and did not attend his inauguration?

• To promote and protect human and peoples' rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights and other relevant human rights instruments; How does Kufour explain the death of over 40 Ghanaians in the Gambia and till date no one on the continent is on trial for these abuses. A member of parliament in your party Kennedy Agyapong is threatening to kill the ex president of Ghana and his entire family, you and the security apparatus in Ghana did not make condemn the him.

• To establish the necessary conditions which enable the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy and in international negotiations; $150 billion was lost through corruption and mismanagement last year, Kufour himself and members of his government are accused of massive corruption in Ghana. Kufour do you know what $150 billion can do to poverty and eradication of diseases?

• To promote sustainable development at the economic, social and cultural levels as well as the integration of African economies; When was this ever talked about by Kufour and where is this objective being persuade

• To promote co-operation in all fields of human activity to raise the living standards of African peoples; this is just a nice sentence it simple does not form any part of activities of the AU practically. Kufour can you explain?

• To coordinate and harmonize the policies between the existing and future Regional Economic Communities for the gradual attainment of the objectives of the Union; How is this being done and where? The ECOWAS was aiming to introduce a single currency soon. However, Ghana went ahead to embark on a costly and shady redenomination.

• To advance the development of the continent by promoting research in all fields, in particular in science and technology; Research in all fields, Kufour did you read that? What fields please?

• To work with relevant international partners in the eradication of preventable diseases and the promotion of good health on the continent. Stop kidding, over 6000 children will die today as a result of malaria. Kufour tell me how you tried to save even on of these precious lives?

I think it is fair to say the AU is failing massively on its own aims and objective. It is clear the institution itself is detached from the people it is representing. Just look around you and you will hardly find any good going on as a result of the AU. Yes, there is African Cup of nation going on in Ghana now, fantastic, but it has nothing to do with AU.

The founders of African Unity provided good leadership; it is the very vital part of the jigsaw we are missing. At the moment, it’s more of a social event for some of these leaders to have fun.

My plan is that, for the union to work:

• Let us insist that member countries are tasked to embark on some kind of civic education on issues of the AU.

• Issues to be discussed at various meetings of the union must be open to debate in member countries prior to the meeting. I am not talking about putting it on their website, how many can have access to it online?

• Let us demand a clear read map of events with dates.

• Include some of the fundamental issues of the union on school curriculum at junior levels in member countries.

• Let us have a dedicated commission to deal with corruption. Members of the commission should be elected by civic societies from member countries. Not appointed by governments.

Kwame Agbodza (An African)

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