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Opinions of Sunday, 8 July 2007

Columnist: Ablakwa, Samuel Okudzeto

The AU fiasco

The AU fiasco: is the dictators club becoming the jokers club?

Oyiwa! There are times that no one English word captures a development than our local parlance.

When I first heard the resolution from the so-called Grand Debate; it was a reflex to hear myself screaming; “oyiwa!” Oyiwa is one word for “I told you so.” I am sure I wasn’t the only one in this position and that those of us who predicted a similar outcome will no more be branded skeptics.

The Accra Declaration which emanated from the recently held “crucial” 9th session of the African Union only came to confirm the lack of will and vision by the majority of leaders on the African continent.

This particular single agenda AU session with all the high profile, world focus and pop and pageantry has very painfully failed to move this continent forward.

I find it very difficult to identify any form of debate in the right sense of the word at this AU session so I will not join the bandwagon of those describing this fiasco as a grand debate. There was in my opinion no debate and to add grand is to engage in nothing but self-deceit. The fact is that the Accra declaration itself hands over the debate to a body it refers to as a Ministerial Committee who is tasked to present a report to the Heads of States in January 2008 in Addis Ababa.

This lack of will in executing this simple agenda by the majority of our Heads of States translating into a journey by sea without a destination, defined route, ship and captain in the name of a Ministerial Committee only reminded me of a profound statement by former United States Independent Presidential candidate Ross Perot, that “a committee is a bunch of the unwilling, picked from the unfit, to do the unnecessary.” Ross Perot adds, “If you see a snake; you kill it, you don’t form a committee on snakes.”

That all the talking and the research has been carried out for the past 50 years, and that it was time for the Heads of States to have been proactive in Accra is to state the obvious. For them to engage in a smart way of inaction by this Ministerial Committee is simply dereliction of responsibility and a very laughable act, to say the least.

I wonder how long the destinies of over 800 million African people will continue to be toyed with by their 53 leaders. The defunct OAU gained the unenviable nickname of “the dictators club” and I hope its successor, the AU does not become known as “the jokers club” considering the path she has adopted.

The fact of the matter is that like Kwame Nkrumah said on numerous occasions in the 1950s and 60s, “we must unite now or perish.”

This is why Africa perishes though it has the following world resources share: Platinum - 90%

Cocoa - 70%

Diamonds - 95%

Manganese - 57%

Cobalt - 42%

Phosphorus - 70%

Gold - 55%

Uranium - 30%

Chromium - 87%

Gas - 5%

Oil - 8%

Africa’s paradox as the world’s richest in resources yet being the world’s poorest continent with our very existence now under threat due to poverty, disease and bad leadership seems likely to continue under the present crop of African leaders sadly in the majority of the AU.

There is no way this trend can be reversed without decisive leadership that will see to our political and economic integration so we can survive in the world order. For it is common sense to know that monkeys play by sizes and that we remain at the periphery of globalization if we stick to our tiny sovereignties handed over to us by imperialists in the Berlin Conference of the 19th century.

As things stand now, we can only pray for a new crop of committed and selfless breed of African leaders who will execute the hopes and aspirations of the common people but until then, perhaps, we should stop causing financial loss by staging this continuously funny “Grand Debates”

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (Former President, NUGS)

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