Pan-Africanists rekindle push for African unity


KAMPALA-The daughter of pan-Africanist and Ghana’s first president Kwame Nkrumah yesterday led the chorus of voices pushing for the continent to quickly unite as the best way of protecting Africa’s independence and stopping its exploitation.

Ms Samia Yaba Nkrumah said in order to build a critical mass, African leaders should have one stand on developing the continent’s economy, have one security system, and a single currency. She said addressing the above three issues would not make individual countries lose their sovereignty.
Ms Nkrumah made the remarks while addressing a high-level policy dialogue in Kampala on Tuesday, centred on positioning Africa for the 21st Century.

“African leaders must help the continent to unite and end suffering of their people. People are struggling to get what to eat, struggling to educate their children, and to access basic healthcare because the continent has failed to embrace unity,” she said.

Ms Nkrumah is one of the founders of Africa Must Unite, an organisation which aims to promote Kwame Nkrumah’s vision and political culture of a united Africa.

She was the first woman to head a major political party in Ghana, the Convention People’s Party, founded by her late father and championed Ghana’s attainment of independence in 1957 as well as pushing for the liberation of the continent from colonialism.

Earlier, the African Peer Review Mechanism chief executive officer, Prof Eddy Maloba, who delivered a keynote address, regretted the lack of unity among African leaders in evolving consensus on common issues, especially at the UN Security Council.

“Relations with our colonial masters remain an albatross [burden] around our necks,” he said.

He urged African leaders to exploit the new multipolar world, which he said is a blessing and offers Africa the chance to exploit the many spaces of power following the resurgence of Russia and rise of China and India.

Uganda’s permanent representative to the UN, Mr Adonia Ayebare, said much progress has been made, but what remains is balancing national interest against the Africa Group consensus.

However, World Bank’s director for fragility, conflict and violence, Ms Betty Bigombe, criticised the African Union (AU) for being detached from its nationals.

But Prof Maloba blamed the problem on countries failing to create national chapters of the AU to engage their nationals.

Premier Ruhakana Rugunda, who graced the occasion and launched the policy think tank, the Africa Strategic Leadership Centre, described it as a great idea and forum for exchanging views and looking for home-grown solutions.

Dr Rugunda urged pan-Africanists to borrow lessons from China that rose from the ashes of its 1949 revolution to match USA in science, commerce, and technology.

He paid tribute to Dr Nkrumah for sowing the seeds of pan-Africanism and liberation of Africa. He also hailed Egypt’s Gamal Abdel Nasser, Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria, and Julius Nyererere of Tanzania, who he said offered their countries as bases for Africa liberation movements.

Other speakers included Democratic Party president Norbert Mao, Parliament Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, army chief political commissar Brig Henry Masiko.

Mr Ouylanya called for a review of all Africa’s relations and reassessment of their roots, progress so far made, hurdles faced and way forward.

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