AFTER FIFTY YEARS OF FLAG INDEPENDENCE.
By NAIWU OSAHON
Africa is the third largest continent with a surface area of 30,310,000 km2. Its population of 800 million in 2008 was less than one sixth of the world’s population of six billion. The population is 75% rural. Its population is set to double in about a quarter century because of a high fertility rate of 4.5 on average. Africa has a great diversity in physical, climatic, geographical and ecological landscape and also in human, cultural, linguistic, religious, intellectual and thought systems, which are all captured in its buoyant arts and literatures. Africa is spoiled by Mother Nature in its soil and subsoil with immense energy resources (cola, hydrocarbons etc) and abundant raw materials for industrialization. It has enormous rural land space and ideal weather for agriculture and yet, Africa is the least developed continent in the world.
After 50 years of independence, Africa remains plagued with abject poverty, diseases, civil wars, illiteracy, chronic famine and underdevelopment. Africa ranks lowest in the world of technology, commerce, international trade and suffers form severe food insecurity aggravated by disasters such as droughts, locust invasions and civil wars. Africa is ravaged by health care problems due to endemic diseases such as malaria, trypanosomiasis, small pox, leprosy, tuberculosis, AIDS, and recently avian flu, damming mortality rate and low life expectancy of about 50 years. In education, it has the highest illiteracy rate in the world and in social engineering, it parades extreme poverty due to weak institutions, poor infrastructure and lack of accountability in governance. We have been governed by mostly mentally ill or bankrupt, definitely in all cases stupid self-serving politicians, each aspiring to be the richest lazy fool in the world sitting like an over-fed baboon atop the tallest tree in our devastated and rotting vineyard, savouring their exploits amidst squalor, hunger and decaying corpses.
The Congolese writer, Sony Labou Tansi, agrees and says “we have been ruled by lazy kings with flabby paunches, empty heads, long arms latched onto their states tills and endowed with a gargantuan ability to cause maximum harm to their people.” The general feeling is that Africa is not moving forward, if anything, it seems to be marking time or stepping backwards from where it stood in 1960. Independence appears not to have been a blessing for Africa rather it has resulted in general disillusionment, regression and hopelessness of its citizens.
Politicians are not the only ones to blame for our mess as a people, intellectuals such as lawyers, economists, engineers, doctors, professors etc are accomplices because they are the ministers, the advisers, the civil servants in the parastatals and agencies of government, They write the speeches and largely formulate and implement the policies which the lazy and greedy politicians robber stamp to perpetrate our collective misfortune. In other words, we are where we are now because of the complacency and lack of courage of the governed to aggressively demand their rights.
The OAU and AU charades.
Although there are many well meaning groups in the USA and around the world pushing for a united African government right away, it is not possible even in twenty years time and cannot be forced. Not when AU member states are still battling with internal statehood contradictions and the Arabs in northern Africa do not consider themselves Africans and are marginalizing their native African populations. The process of unification would take time and until AU member states are each stable enough and their developmental parameters are largely uniform, coherent and progressive, one African government is a mirage. The European Union took decades to evolve, starting with cooperation in certain areas. Even at that, the European Union is limited to a common currency and trade policy and the European Court of human rights at the moment. Africa has made some progress in union matters.
The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), is the African Union’s development programme agency. The NEPAD team members went down on their knees at the 2002 G8 conference to beg the West for a $64 billion handout but instead got $6 billion spread over a period of perhaps 64 years, to make it thoroughly worthless. Obviously, that is where NEEEPAD comes from. The $6 billion bailout is to enable Africa continue to beg the West with loads of NEEEPADS bought from the West.
Alhaji Yahaya J. Jammeh, the president of the Gambia agrees with me in this adapted interview published in the April-June 2006, Goge Africa magazine and pleads with Africa to stop begging the West for aids and begin to look inwards.
Really there is a lot of distortion in history, like when Europeans claim that when they came to Africa, we were living on trees. Europe was able to enslave and colonize us because we were very tolerant. That tolerance is what is making them dictate to us now still. They took the cream of Africa, strong able-bodied Africans; stole our gold, diamonds and other mineral resources; even our dead bodies, our mummies were stolen, for them to find out how Africans were able to preserve dead bodies for 5000 years. We were more technologically advanced because even now, at their level of technological advancement, they cannot build the pyramid that will stand for 5000 years. The hieroglyphics is the oldest art of writing but they don’t want to accept that even the art of writing started in Africa. The African Egyptians educated the Greeks.
The West is shouting about democracy and human rights in Africa but they do not have democracy themselves. Was it democratic to colonize us for 400 years with all the atrocities they committed to subjugate us and develop themselves? Why does it have to take colonialism and slavery for the West to develop on Africa’s blood, sweat and tears? That is what I want Africans to understand. They have spent over 400 years exploiting Africa’s gold, diamonds and labour, is that democracy? What do they expect Africa to be after centuries of European marginalisation? Is democracy possible in a situation of abject poverty? If Africa produces 90% of the world’s raw materials, Africa should be the world’s richest continent but we are the poorest, why? It is because we are exploited. This is the reality. Globalisation is for multinationals to buy African industries and control our economies. It is worst than slavery and political colonization because, he who controls the economy controls the means of livelihood.
If I have stayed in your compound and exploited you for 400 years to the point where you live in abject poverty and I live in affluence, am I not duty bound to give back to you what I have taken from you? I challenge the West, if they are really interested in developing Africa, they should write off our debts, they should compensate us for slavery and colonialism. The other races are being compensated for what happened to them in a period of less than a 100 years. What about Africa that was exploited for 400 years. Loans and grants to Africa should be written off as partial compensation for years of exploitation. The West should give back to us what they have taken from us for over 400 years.
Look at the tsunami. I have sympathy for them, the West too, and they pumped in funds for the tsunami victims. They are even talking of writing off their debts. Also compare what the West has pledged and given countries like Afghanistan and Iraq in a span of a few years with the pittance they have pledged and grudgingly given to Africans in the last 40 years. It is scandalous. We Africans must believe in ourselves, come together and work together because our salvation will come principally from within us. Africa still has the potential to bounce back and regain her lost glory but the West would not leave us alone. They interfere, create wars here and there. Africa is the most conflict prone continent because of the West’s divide and rule tactics.
When we go to the West for assistance, they insist on the peer review mechanism as a condition for giving us one billion dollar loan. Even with that, we still do not get the loan. Any person who is genuinely sincere about bringing development to Africa should have concerns about wars and instability in Africa. Imagine that I make a negative peer review of another African country; will we have peace and stability? Imagine Rwanda making a negative review of DRC or Uganda making one of Rwanda, would that not escalate conflict in the region? Africans went a begging to the West and accepted this peer review thing and I said it is an insult, I won’t accept it. It would exacerbate our problems.
A lot of people are taking credit for the concept of NEPAD, but they didn’t even know where the idea came from. Four of us decided that OAU was not working and that the charter needed to be changed. The African Union (AU) was not supposed to replicate OAU. It was to be a charter that would allow say 4 states to begin with, to come together and form a government, which the rest could join in their own time as the European Union has done. The charter was supposed to put an end to wars in Africa because once we have peace, we can focus on development. The idea to set up a Rapid Social Economic Development Trust Fund came from me because when Chad wanted to build her ‘Oil Pipe line,’ there was so much super power rivalry, hostilities and politics.
The World Bank and the IMF would not give the money needed, and because it was too expensive, we had a meeting in Chad where I asked why we even have to depend on them. I said when you want a major development they won’t assist you and when you look at what the World Bank gives to Africa anyway, it is less than one billion dollars in a year. I suggested that if Nigeria, Algeria, Libya, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea were to put 10 percent of their oil revenue in a Trust Fund, it would be more than what the World bank gives African countries. We would then not need any funding from the World Bank for major projects in Africa. If this money is put in a Trust Fund, African countries could borrow from there to implement major projects rather than being obliged to resort to austerity measures such as SAP etc that have brought more suffering and social upheaval to Africa. The Rapid Social Economic Development Trust Fund was not supposed to go about begging anybody for money. If every country in Africa puts 10% of her export earnings in this Trust Fund, though we will still need IMF and World Bank, it will be in partnership. But the partnership will be on our terms not their terms and conditions. At a meeting in Switzerland, the West changed this initial idea, designed to liberate Africa from the stranglehold of the IMF and the World Bank, to the NEPAD lame dock concept that ties Africa’s fortunes perpetually to the apron string of the West as a beggar.
OAU / AU
The OAU was created in the post independence era in 1963. Its primary function was to complete the process of decolonization of the continent; lead the fight against apartheid and work for the economic, social and cultural development of Africa. The OAU concentrated largely on its political priority from inception and fulfilled that mission when apartheid came to an end in 1994.
What is known as the Lagos Action Plan and its final Act to bring African countries closer together was adopted in the 1980s but it lacked implementation mechanism. In 1991, the OAU rectified the anomaly with the Abuja Treaty with a long term plan to establish an African Common Market in six phases over a period of thirty-four years. At the Algiers Summit in July 1999, the Heads of States decided to accelerate the implementation of the Abuja Treaty and set in motion an extraordinary Summit held in Sirte, Libya on 9th September,1999 at the behest of Colonel Kadhafi. At the Sirte Summit, the OAU as an intergovernmental agency of co-operation was considered outmoded and its Commission was mandated to do everything possible to bring the Union of African States into being without delay.
The constitutive units of the Union, like the OAU charter, were actively debated among the OAU members at forums, conferences and workshops after the Sirte Summit, leading to fusing elements of the OAU Charter with elements of the Abuja Treaty. The most contentious issue was that of interference which was resolved by the compromise language of rights of non-indifference in situation where human rights were being violated i.e. war crimes, genocide and crime against humanity.
The African Union (AU) was launched in Durban, South Africa in July 2002. The four principal areas of activities of the AU are: (a) institutional transformation; (b) peace, security, good governance and humanitarian issues (democracy and human rights); (c) regional integration through economic, social and cultural structures; (d) shared vision. Even after the AU Maputo Summit of July 2003, structures of the AU Commission; rules of procedure and portfolios of the Commission, were still being debated and fine tuned. The Commission of the AU came into being in 2006. In fact, its office was opened in December, 2006 and it serves as the depository of the institutional memory of the AU apart from coordinating the relations between the various departments of the Commission and between the Commission and other organs of the AU.
At the Maputo Summit in July 2003, the Heads of States decided to give the Diaspora the status of Sixth African region. A meeting on the Diaspora was held at ministerial level in October 2007. A Summit called: “Towards a United Africa integration with its Diaspora” was held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in the autumn of 2008. The debates so far have been on what constitutes the Diaspora. Does it consist only of the descendants of African slaves who are now citizens of other continents (Caribbean, the United States of America, etc)? Can it consist of Africans who have chosen to emigrate from Africa or both? At the moment, the Diaspora works with ECOSOC of the AU, where it has 20 seats. The AU Commission intends to help the global African Diaspora elect its representatives to ECOSOC. This will require an organ in which civil society can fully participate in the life of the Union and consequently be able to raise issues with the deliberating organs of the AU; follow the implementation of the decisions, participate in clearly defined regional programmes, particularly through transfers of intellectual capacity in the context of centers of excellence or regional universities and to participate in the funding of the Union.
Senegal has suggested that a representative of the Diaspora should have observer status for two or three years and that a Head of State of a country in the Diaspora or an important Diaspora community leader should be able to come to represent the Diaspora in the internal deliberations of the AU, including the closed sessions, and that they should consider themselves as part of us, rather than as being guests like the other observers who have to leave the room at closed meetings.
These are some of the problems the AU has been trying to resolve as regards Diaspora involvement in its deliberations. Whatever way the problems are resolved, there is no way the entire Diaspora African family can fully participate in AU matters if a head of state from say a Caribbean country or an African American community leader represents the Diaspora at the AU. The only solution is an African People’s Union (APU), an umbrella body of the entire African race, with moral and temporal influence and authority over the AU particularly as its major financial backer and whose leaders function with equal clout with AU leaders in all the leading departments of the AU the same way the Jewish Congress and cabbalism influence the Jews as a people and the State of Israel.
Therefore, every African in the world and as a matter of urgency, every Diaspora African, whether from the Caribbean, USA or Europe, must join the African People’s Union now. Of course, some of us might want to continue expending time and energy on matters such as USA 4 United States of Africa, SADA, WADU and the thousands of other marginal tendencies that tend to divide us and dissipate our energies as a people. They have every right to their tendencies but if they truly love Africa and want our race to move forward, they and every one of us must from now on give 99% of our time and energy to the African People’s Union (APU) because it is our only hope for a better future for our race.
Every Black and African alive today or yet unborn must read the BLUE BOOK of the African race because it is the rallying document for our liberation. Copy of the document is attached. The BLUE BOOK of the African race is free and e-copies can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org Let’s launch the ultimate revolt of the poor, marginalized and oppressed. Let’s get APU off the ground from our homes, hamlets, offices, streets, neighbourhoods and nations. This is a responsibility we individually owe our race, so, let’s stop moaning and hit the road as warriors and patriots of our race. If you want to be our leaders, you are welcome but do not forget that our titles only make us servant warriors of our race. Do not waste any more time, join APU now and let us take control of our world. We cannot do it without you.
NAIWU OSAHON Hon. Khu Mkuu (Leader) World Pan-African Movement); Ameer Spiritual (Spiritual Prince) of the African race; MSc. (Salford); Dip.M.S; G.I.P.M; Dip.I.A (Liv.); D. Inst. M; G. Inst. M; G.I.W.M; A.M.N.I.M. Poet, Author of the magnum opus: ‘The end of knowledge’. One of the world’s leading authors of children’s books; Awarded; key to the city of Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Honourary Councilmanship, Memphis City Council; Honourary Citizenship, County of Shelby; Honourary Commissionership, County of Shelby, Tennessee; and a silver shield trophy by Morehouse College, USA, for activities to unite and uplift the African race.
Naiwu Osahon renowned author, philosopher of science, mystique, leader of the world Pan-African Movement.