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Opinions of Saturday, 11 December 2010

Columnist: Abdul-Yekin, Kofi Ali

The Vulnerable State Of Our Union (Part 2)

It is very disturbing to some of us to be hearing that the AU mediator representing the Chairman of the Africa Union Commission (AUC) to Cote D’Voir, Ex-President Tambo Mbeki has left the warring factions with nothing tangible as a positive outcome to his boss, Dr. Jean Ping. We are also leaning that the UN (United Nations) has instructed its forces and staffs stationed in the agitated country to leave. In short, our brothers and sisters are now being left to wallow in their own faeces just as was the horrifying case in our harsh experience of Rwanda.
The sudden departure of the AU envoy from the dread-locked situation in Cote D’Voir is a form of indication to the United Nation, our colonial masters and the western powers whom we have all along being asking to get out of our business that we are indeed incapable of managing our own affairs. The signal is wrong and very shameful, even if there is another intended plan by the Union to go about the problem. We knew very well that the AU has not totally withdrawn because it is an act of total insensitivity to the plight of the people for the Union to do so. In fact, it defeats the core aim of the existence of the Union.
This has once again disproves the expressed sense of pride in Kwame Nkrumah’s saying “when the Blackman is given the chance, he will prove to the world that he is capable of managing his own affairs”. But who gives anybody a chance than one’s self? Who is the black man expecting to give him “the chance”? Is it the very so called “Whiteman” who has done so marvellous a job with his African slaves and colonies all this while? Is it the same great “Whiteman” whom we have always believed to be the arch obstruction to our progress of which we are now out determined to prove to that we are also human beings? Who have been managing us all these while anyway? If we should be electing one of us collectively, just the way we vote to elect the various presidents in our countries, to be the Chairman of the AU Commission, are we not giving one of us the chance to prove what the Blackman is in deed capable of doing? Maybe we want Kwame Nkrumah to come back from his grave tell us this too.
Of course we should not forget the saying that justice delayed is justice denied, and in this case, every minute that the AU delays in practically arriving at an amicable solution to this problem equally make the Union liable for every single life lost resulting from the delay. These poor people who are the tax payers and citizens of the Union are those who pay the salaries of the Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Jean Ping and the eight (8) Commissioners of the Union as a whole. The only reason why these poor people are contributing their hard earned money to the AFRICA UNION INSURANCE PLC, is to have the general manager of the AU in this case, Dr. Jean to be there for them in such time of desperate need. It is all about somebody to be there for the people when their “political gods” that thinks they own the lives of the poor people are allowing their insanity to take over their common sense as the custodians of the people’s power. These poor people, mostly unemployed masses that leave under less than $1US p/d are still rubbed of their widow might in form of member states annual subventions to the Union to sustain the AU insurance Company and here we are with the AU treating our concerns as less important than we would have preferred.
It is true that the AU in a way have withdrawn since Mr. Mbeki has left Cote D’Voir and the UN is also asking its peace keepers and staffs to quite. The question is will the French solders stationed in Cote D’Voir also be quitting? Assuming that the French government now decided to employ its “colonial right” as a duty she has all along been claiming of towards its colonial territory and deciding to go in like the Americans did in Iraq, what will be the position of the AU? Is the section of the AU Constitutive Act undertaken by of all the AU member states as a pledge that ATTACK ON ONE IS ATTACK ON ALL, going to be waived aside for the French to finish their dirty work in Cote D’Voir? Is that going to be added to the achievements of our current AU Commission Chairperson Dr. Jean Ping when reflecting on his era of the Union’s chief steward? Assuming the French through their “International” connections got the EU, USA, the IMF and the UN, to impose sanction on the people of Cote D’Voir what will the AU be doing? Will the Union be doing anything different from what the foolish mother cow will be doing by hopelessly looking on from afar until the greedy wolves finish her calf? Now assuming the French eventually end up installing their puppet into the presidency of Ivory Coast, what are we all going to be saying when such individual end up in the AU Assembly like a “bastard” speaking the “language of the French” that does nothing than to frustrate the effort of the Union all together? Do you think the Americans will be tolerating this from any one, even from God?
Now once again, our demand for the people of the Union to be voting for the Chairman of the Commission of the Union is the answer to these entire questions. Yes, Mbeki has left the people of the Union to sort them selves up but do you think this would have been the case if he was the president (elected) of South Africa and a part of the South Africa states (a region within South Africa) is in such a turmoil? Do you think the AU Commission Chairperson will be leaving these people like this if they have voted him into office and knowing very well that they will be voting again in the next coming AU election in 2013? Imagine this happening in the Union of India or Brazil or even the USA? Do you think this is how the president of the Union or his representative will be walking away with his tails between his legs while the tension still continue to mount knowing very well that the people will be having their say come the next election and by this, their votes and their views?
Some of us are very much aware of the remarks of some people, out of their share ignorance, to be reacting negatively toward our position of electing the AU Commission Chairperson by the people. Most of these, unfortunately self acclaimed democrats and advocates of the people’s right, are also said to be well educated. It is just sad that these people have a poor understanding and knowledge about the history of how nations evolve from independent states into a Union. They do not know that most of what we call countries today were once a union of independent states, and this is the reason why they seems to have a lot of problem about what we are saying. Instead of trying to understand this simple position of our demands and lend their unreserved support to the noble course, they rather continue to expose themselves by defending their position that AU is an organization and not a country. So, as far as they are concern, the president of the Union can not be elected directly by the people, but instead, by the heads of member states of the Union on the people’s behalf like it is the case with the UN. In fact I have lived to hear a whole professor who occasionally explodes when he can no longer endure me that “AU is an organization and not a country!” Another Bachelor of Science degree holder cousin of mine finds it easy to shout at me in his defence with, “Africa is a continent and not a country, so why are you bothering us with electing the Chairman of the AU Commission? Who on earth does that?”
It looks like some of us shall wait forever until the colonial master come again to tell us exactly what to do to make our Union work. In fact, most of our own people will die defending the reason why we should be selling out our natural resources to pay the colonial masters for advising us to allow our own citizens of the AU member states to be voting in their own Union.
It is very amusing to imagine how our people could just continue in a state of denial even when millions are dying just because we have refused to think about it so that we can get this simplest thing done to save our self together. Another strange thing about our people is how we corrupt words and terminologies with meanings that make such words or terms to be practically irrelevant in solving our practical life challenges. Words, their meanings and how we employ them in solving a problem are all interrelated. Getting the meaning of the word wrong results in applying the wrong means of making a positive use of the word, and therefore, getting everything wrong. Equally, getting the meaning of the words right makes the tools to be employed as well right and everything is done right. Imagining how a Ghanaian as a professor still lacks the common sense that something is wrong in his democratic right? How can any human being that ever step into a classroom to eventually becoming a professor be finding it difficult that his right in terms of voting could only be limited to some invisible lines called boarders put in place by strangers, around him? Well, if a king for hundreds of years could not see anything wrong with human beings as his own people carrying him about on their heads, could that not be explaining why a professor can not see that his fellow citizen’s right could not go beyond a limiting local imaginary “lines”? Is this not enough for such lines themselves to be in deed strange lines? When the colonialists of Europe that put these fictitious lines in place to fool our fathers some hundreds of years ago look at how we are visibly behaving just like our fathers did all these years, they marvel at the kind of brain we have in Africa. Even our education is not helping us with our blindness! If the Europeans are doing away with the same lines on their own lands of Europe imposed on them by their war lords, for their people to be free, is it not strange to notice that we in Africa are even consolidating the existence of those invisible local lines? How strange is it that we can not even allow our common votes to go beyond our local AU boarders? Imagine a whole professor of law as our president on his position “The Foreign Policy of Ghana shall remain the same!” What will our children be thinking of us if eventually we get the election to start and our children afterwards learn that their fathers dare not vote beyond these lines talk less of walking across the lines into neighbouring lands? Imagine our children learning later that it was even easier for us to go to Europe, China or the USA, than to get through the boarders to the next village because the professors on our land could not make a common sense out the simple word “Foreign lands”? Wouldn’t our children be wondering if at that time we were not even having tails in between our legs to be behaving this strange? Imagine our children learning in our history books of tomorrow that we go to our own self appointed keepers of the strange lines just the same way we approach our “god” to seek for special permission and our passports stamped before we even cross them? How strange will it be to our children to even learn that we actually did not put the strange lines there but imposed on us by strangers from far away lands of Europe?
The land of Africa is in deed a land of mystery full of wonders and things that are not easy to explain. Interestingly, where such mystery does not exist, the people make them up. With all the education and awareness that abound our land and the world over, we are just being comfortable in doing what does not make any empirical sense what so ever. A friend of mine from France once said, “That is the African way of doing things” and when I asked him what “the African way” means, he replied, “just some how!” What else do we want to hear from others before we realize that the eaters of meat are doing so because it is their right to do so and pass the practice on to generations unborn? If anybody must be doing something about cow’s abuse and their right to decent life free from the butchers, this must be the cow’s business.
We have a choice of standing up to fight if it must be done by an open war fare for every one to be voting for the AU Commission president. In 99% cases of the AU member states’ crisis, it is the ordinary man on the street that is cut in the cross fire and not the so “called leaders” that enjoy the exclusive privilege of voting in the election that results in who become the Chairman of the AU Commission. Here we are with the man in whose election we did not participate in yet assuming responsibility for what happen to us in time of anarchy when we are going to be killed only for life to continue as usual. If we are not to be the ones voting, then who should be voting? It must be now or never!
Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin
Chair/Coordinator
Action Group of Africa (AGA)
(yekali2002@yahoo.com)