Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Unbearable Lightness of Being...An African Union Citizen

It was too contrived to be a coincidence. After I posted an entry requesting why the issue of African Union had not been covered on CITI97.3FM (pls see above) on both Shamima Muslim and Citi Breakfast Show host Sammy Bartel's facebook wall, the following day on the show, I heard Victor Gbeho and Dr.Nii Alabi come on the show to discuss not just Ghanaian politics, but no less than implications of Al-Qaddafi as AU Chair.

There was--unlike former host Bernard Avle--no acknowledgment of my suggestion. I hardly expected it, but it would have been nice anyway!

Still, that was not going to dampen my interest and optimism. Upon learning that the AU is going to transform into an AU Authority, I sent some information round to Facebook friends, which elicited some responses. Curiously, out of the thirty people I sent the information to, only a handful replied. Below are some of the responses:

  • I honestly believe that once Africa stops looking 4 aid & begins to look and assist its own her in Africa we'll never be blessed. Its a Biblical principle that the founding fathers of the west knew and instilled into their children and children's children generations ago.

    Continental unity would transform us into thee Super Power.

  • It can only work if we make it work. We must instill that feeling of pride that the Americans have about being American about being an African in our offspring. Racism, tribalism and all those other evils are taught I'm yet to meet any1 born with any of those cancers in them. We have work to do, but if we are single minded in achieving this 'dream' the future is brighter that a thousand Suns beaming down on us.

  • Cool so i can proudly pay i live in the USA now.

  • This is what I myself wrote:

    it is ironic that in the centenary of the birth of Osagyefo Dr.Kwame Nkrumah, the dream towards continental govt could become a reality! Breaking news---al Qaddafi of LIbya just became CHAIR of the AU for one year. Certainly a BOON--if ever I saw one--to continental unity!!

    All that said, I would not for a second believe that those who failed to comment are any less patriotic than I am.

    We can draw any number of conclusions about the non-response, but what I can say is that there is a general lack of interest and apathy in the whole enterprise--which only compounds my unbearable lightness of being an AU citizen...

    But let's get positive for a second. Here's the plan for the African Union Authority:

  • AU Authority would be made operational by July 2009

  • it will have a vice-president and President

  • current commissioners of the AU would be transformed into secretaries

  • new secretaries would have portfolios structured along nine areas of shared competence. These include...

  • ...poverty-reduction; free movement of persons, goods and services; infrastructural development; climate change; epidemics and pandemics; international trade negotiations; peace and security matters; foreign affairs

  • Right across from where I work is Eastgate hotel; it has an EU; Ghanaian; Nigerian; Canadian flag. There is NO AU flag. It's a good job the AU is changing its flag. Maybe I can lobby for it to be hoisted?;-)Seriously, last time I looked, flags were a symbolic representation of a country's identity. There is no hotel here in Accra I have seen that has ever dared to hoisted an AU or even ECOWAS flag. In my view, it just reinforces the perception that Ghanaians don't care much for representing the AU to the world!

    To conclude, we do not live in a perfect world, so we are always going to get the likes of Al-Qaddafi. Whatever you might think about his human rights, he has made immense contributions--albeit not altruistically--to the cause of Pan-African integration.

    I believe it sincerely to be a blessing in disguise to have a putative erratic character like him at the helm of the AU in this year, and at this time when we are in the centenary of one of the most visionary Africans that ever lived--Dr.Kwame Nkrumah. A man who also happens to have proclaimed "Africa Must Unite! when he took Ghana, along with Nasser and a posse of visionary leaders instrumental in the establishment of the erstwhile Organisation of African Unity.

    Like Sunday World columnist-cum-blogger Kobby Graham wrote:

    Say what you will about the man but his visions of a single African military force, a single currency, and a single passport for Africans to move freely around the continent have an appealing whiff of Nkrumah about them that I cannot help but inhale.

    In my view, the nay-sayers of AU integration are missing the point! It is not about Al-Qaddafi--it's about fighting for AU integration now!
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