A former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, on Friday noted that although the African Union (AU) was full of promises, it was “still an empty sack” which needed to
be filled and well resourced to operate effectively.
He observed that Africa's main setbacks were low food production, deficient infrastructure, disease ecology and a continued surge in population growth, and that the “task of reconstruction, called for greater sacrifices than the “campaign to overthrow colonial rule”
Chief Anyaoku made the call when he spoke on “Recovering the will for reconstruction and development”, to climax the three-day 'seventh series of the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Lectures' on the theme; “The condition of Africa: A cramp in the will”, at the University of Cape Coast (UCC).
He pointed out that Africa, “had no patent for corruption” and that corruption, was world-wide, but stressed the need for African governments to help ensure true democracy, an independent judiciary and a free press, to facilitate socio-economic development.
Chief Anyaoku expressed happiness that between 1995 and 2005, seven African countries were able to achieve annual growths of 7.5 percent and 17 others, of 5.5 per cent and said this is evidence of better prospects, if the requisite infrastructure and financial support are put in place, good governance assured and the fight against corruption effectively maintained.
Chief Anyaoku, also suggested, that the deliberations of the continent's regional and economic groupings like the East African Community and ECOWAS, which are all geared towards economic and political stability, should be held under the auspices of the AU, to ensure cohesion in the continent's developmental aspirations.
He said this would help forestall the entrenchment of vested interests and the development of corporatism and isolated mind-sets, to the detriment of the continent.
He lauded the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), which, he said, had ensured that governments actively involved their people in national issues, and said the challenge now was to “transform rhetorics into reality”.
Chief Anyaoku, however pointed out that this could only be done by the “restoration of faith and the possibility of things for the African people”.
On his assessment of Dr Nkrumah's “life and work”, Chief Anyaoku observed that Dr Nkrumah was a man who kept his word and taught the continent to make Pan-Africanism its vocation.
He said he was therefore honored to pay tribute to a man who did so much for the continent and that Ghana contributed to the liberation of Africa and inspired the whole race.
Chief Anyaoku, however noted that his “strongest criticism” of Dr Nkrumah, is his introduction of the one-party system, which he said was “unnecessary and destructive”.
He expressed regret that because most African leaders at the time looked up to Dr Nkrumah, they also replicated the system in their countries.