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Opinions of Monday, 9 July 2007

Columnist: Aidoo, Ato

The African Union Fiasco in Accra- "Mu su ben Ni?"

The inability of African leaders to set in motion a union government after the just-ended ordinary session of the African Union in Accra brings to the fore a twin setback, one of failure, and a curse, in my estimation.

Given the enthusiasm and euphoria that preceded the meeting, if any serious watcher of the African political scene had prophesized as usual, another African leaders “talk-shop”, I would have challenged that submission.

But once again, and not a surprise, African leaders have showcased to the world how they continue to “crawl” in terms of their commitment to a pan-African agenda, when indeed, they need to “walk” through the rough road to integration which the people desperately need to emancipate themselves from civil strife, ethnic barriers, as well as social and economic salvation.

“Your leaders have failed you, fellow Africans”, screamed Richie Okala, a Kenyan student living in Powder Spring, near Atlanta, in reaction to the communiqué issued after the African Union summit in Accra.

The “gradualist/cautious approach” African leaders, and those who want “integration now” all agree to an all-Africa government which in retrospect illuminates what Ghana’s first president and pan-African hero- Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, pontificated 50 years ago.

If after 50 years African leaders still need time to fashion out the pan-African dream, then our leaders have serious problems with time-lines, a short memory of what is good, and a long/delayed memory of what is not good for the African continent. They still need help to "walk" on their own.

Leaders calling for the immediate creation of federalism in Africa must be encouraged and fully supported by liberated African minds, people who do not want to live under the vestiges of neo-colonialism and its austerities.

African can stand on its own as a united front – free movement of people, free trade, and an effective way of managing rich natural resources for the good of its people.

Every political/economic system has its fair share of imperfections, and a united African agenda must be pursued now or never.

A typical example is the European Union. Is it a perfect arrangement? No. Some countries still have their reservations, but a common currency- the "Euro" is in circulation, and there is free movement of Europeans from one EU member state to others. That is remarkable.

And this explains why Africa can free itself from foreign economic dominance and interference, and free its people from a colonized mind set sustained through fragmentation, while servicing the economies of non-African countries.

Unity, therefore, becomes the key to an economically strong continent that would shake the world, and present Africa as a force that attracts world attention and recognition.

Africa’s destiny is in its own hands, though some southern and eastern African leaders disagree with the swift implementation of reforms that would move forward the agenda for a pan-African government.

In the Libyan leader – Muammar Gaddafi, his “message” for the formation of United States of Africa must be separated from the “messenger”, and well digested to generate a product that can be modified into an African political and economic success story.

In the same character, Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade’s proposition and warning that a break-away group of five or six countries may initiate a process toward a federalized political arrangement is a welcome development that alludes to the seriousness some African leaders attach to a continental government.

The Accra Declaration is an interesting blueprint if examined academically, but without a timeline, the document would remain on the desks of African leaders who are still entangled by parochial and self-serving interest, unprepared to give away a portion of their sovereignty to satisfy the collective will of the people, though when well-managed, benefits that can be derived from unity surpasses that of disunity.

But I cannot continue to soliloquize, but to inform the world, what Dr. Kwame Nkrumah would be thinking in his grave as African leaders delay unduly this ambitious, but laudable agenda for Africa integration.

In the midst of all these, I still agree with Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo, Ghana’s Foreign Minister, that even though problems and misunderstanding cannot be avoided in a process that seeks to bring people from different orientations and culture together," it is important for Africans to note, that these problems can still be diffused through determination, and the will of the people to accept a United African government perfumed with good structures, economically and socially stable".

Otherwise, when most African leaders failed to compromise on a concrete road map to the birth of a United States of Africa, I could not help once again, but to ask myself - “Mu su ben Ni” (in a popular Ghanaian parlance), literally translated - “what a curse ?”.

A curse bestowed on the continent of Africa

A continent which does not want to take the risk to design its future, still consumed by an “old time religion” – of corrupt leaders who are obsessed with political and economic power with no room for compromise.

Would these entrenched positions on a United States of Africa be dislodged in the future when new progressive leaders emerge in Africa? Yes.

"I can clearly see it coming".

Author- Ato Aidoo, formerly of the featurs desk, Daily Graphic, Accra,Ghana.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.