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Opinions of Thursday, 23 June 2011

Columnist: Pobee-Mensah, Tony

Is it time for Ghana to leave the AU?

Should Ghana consider leaving the AU, absolutely, if you ask me. Ghana leaving the
AU will be a symbol for registering displeasure with the fact that the AU has not
achieved her original purpose: to unite Africa. It will also signal that at least
Ghana is still interested in uniting Africa. And it will honor our Osagyefo Dr.
Kwame Nkrumah who said, "Independence now, tomorrow, United States of Africa."
Lastly, Ghana has been "a first" in many steps of African progress. Leaving the AU
will get other African nations to start thinking more about the AU, if there is
going to be an AU.

For starters, African Union is not European Union and should not be. Changing the
name of Organization of African Unity to African Union signaled that our leaders
were looking to fashion our "unity" after that of the European Union. It also
signaled maybe a new start for African unity. To date, African Union has achieved
nothing meaningful for Africans. At this point in the existence of European Union,
they had achieved much, much more for their citizens. If they hadn't, I will bet
they would not be in existence today, because their citizens would question their
usefulness. Ghana should be at the head of questioning AU's usefulness.

I said African Union should not be European Union. European countries had all of
their institutions in place before the idea of European Union even came along. Many
of our countries continue to struggle with building many institutions. One African
country will have more resources to build the institutions that we need and will be
in a good place to keep out redundancy where redundancy is not needed. The AU
officials should be spending more time thinking of building these institutions
rather flying around the world from conference to conference in blue suits feeling
big. Ghana leaving the AU will help shine the light on this. We should be the
first that we have always been.

As we sit around trying to figure out if we want to be AU or a united Africa and
failing at it, China is buying up Africa: most notably, Kenya. China is not buying
up Kenya because they like to buy up countries; they are buying up Kenya because
they are planning for their future. Do we Africans not have an interest in planning
for our future? If Ghana leaves, maybe AU will start thinking about planning
something or collapse. If they are not going to achieve, why not let them collapse?

China, in their numbers, provided a dream market for manufacturers that prompted
investment rush for China. One Africa, in our numbers, will provide just as
lucrative a market for investors. When America complained about influx of Japanese
cars, Japan built plants in America to produce cars for Americans to buy. We buy
cars in Africa. Why can't we make a demand for even one plant to produce cars in
Africa; because we are not "one market". African union will not change that. As
one African nation, I am sure we can come up with enough money, qualifications,
skills, and talents to build one plant to manufacture and sell cars to Africans, if
not to the world. At the time of Ghana's independence, Ghana was richer than Korea.
Today, Korea is selling cars in the world market and we can't even create a nation
to get us started. We need something to get us started and Ghana leaving the AU
just might do it.
The powers that be are strongly promoting regional groups like ECOWAS to create mini
EUs. How long has ECOWAS been in existence? What have they achieved? They have
made it clear to us that they cannot resolve election problems in West Africa
without having the United Nations "Army" and foreign military powers come in and
kill Africans. We do not need a group promoted by foreign powers who march to the
tune of the foreign powers. I have yet to figure out the value of ECOWAS passport.
Besides, we do not need small countries; we need a big country to do big things.
The second tier powers (China and India) are on the move while we beat around the
bush. Meanwhile, they have figured out that buying up part of Africa, if not all of
Africa, is in their interest. Our future looks bleak and Ghana must move to help us
confront our problems.

Tony Pobee-Mensah