TOO BAD FOR THE AU CONTINENTALISTS
Most of those standing by Gaddafi today are of the opinion that his form of “dictatorship” is far better than the mushrooms of democracy sprouting across the African continent with nothing to show for it.
The feeling by most of those fighting with Gaddafi is that, yes they were not there to defend Osagyfor Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in his dark days and if Gaddafi's ideals are also the kind of justice that seek to cater for all, why then should they allow the selfish imperialists and their agents to have their way again? Surly, if Kwame Nkrumah had stayed a bit longer in Ghana, definitely similar desperate measures would have been employed to oust him just as is being the fate of Gaddafi today. It will be foolish not to know that after exhausting all the “Kunungugu” bombings, Nkrumah would have been forced out of office even if he were right there in Ghana than the fateful journey to Hanoi when the coup occurred. All it would have taken is for some few hooligans to start it internally and the imperialists then step into to finish it up.
Sure, a lot of Muslims will be claiming that they will have been there to stand by Prophet Mohammed in his dark days of Jihad if they were among the generation alive then. Equally a lot of people will be of the strong urge to be there by Jesus Christ in his days of prosecution if they were there in his dark days. But how many of us are seeing that the same thin happening today to Gaddafi as a man who is being prosecuted just because of his belief in truth and fairness, to the down trodden, against the mighty selfish imperialists and their capitalists collaborators?
As we speak, almost 21,000 Ghanaians are said to be stranded in Libya as part of the more 2.3 million other AU member states citizens in Libya. These people are only in Libya today because of the appeal by Gaddafi to encourage AU member state citizens to feel free to leave and earn a living in any part of the Union's member states. How on earth could any one claim to be a believer without practicing what he/she preaches? Gaddafi like his predecessor Kwame Nkrumah preached and practices the common adage “Africa for Africans”. Like Osagyfor had almost every citizen of the OAU living freely in Ghana during his time, Gaddafi is the living legend of this dream. Yes, we are not there yet but, if the Europeans and the Americans could cross the seas to be make ends meet in Libya, how shameful will it be if the Ghanaian could not be in Libya for the same reason? In fact, the Ghanaians presence in Libya is far beyond an economic reason as it is part of his/her AU treaty right.
Like Kwame Nkrumah had to put up with the tribal, racists, imperialist, capitalists cum sectionlaists “Maa ti mihu” people, Gaddafi had all sorts of odds to put up with among his own racists, tribal and fundamentalist Arab folks to make room for fellow AU member states citizens in Libya. In fact, some of these animals will prefer a white European, American or even Asian in Libya than a dark skin African in Libya. These people despise Gaddafi for his association with the AU and his encouragement to have fellow AU citizens in Libya. All they have longed for is a time like this to unlash the evil gin that Gaddafi has suppressed for 42 years. What we have now are evil people venting their hanger on innocent Ghanaians and other AU member states citizens for being on the territory of their Union.
Is this therefore not enough a reason for the Libyan concern to be a very serious AU business considering the fact that 2.3 million people can not be evacuated from Libya like the American and the Europeans are doing? Some of us might not have ever been out of Ghana to other parts of Africa to have a good understanding of how our brothers and sisters live on the land of Africa. With my personal experience in Mali, Guinea Cornakry, Guinea Bissua, Senegal, Gambia, Muaritania, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Benin Republic and Togo, I know very well that our brothers and sisters live far beyond what ever evacuation measure can solve.
We have always made it clear that the best institution to be in charge of any AU member state citizen outside his/her home state is the AU authority itself. We have also maintained that for the AU authority to do this job well in accordance with the will of the citizens themselves, such citizens must be participating in the election that results in who become the AU authority's president. Indeed if the only reason for the USA president active participation in the Libyan concerns is not just because the US is a country but because the president's mandate is by one man one vote, then what other excuse will be excluding the ordinary people of the AU member states participating in this election of the Union regardless to whether the AU is a Union or a country?
The unfortunate event daily unfolding itself in Libya is just another big blow to the AU (Africa Union) Continentalist. Sure the AU Regionalists might be smiling for having to see yet another set back to those of the opposing view but this is not the end of it. Like the unfortunate events of the 60's that saw the back of the OAU (Organization of the African Unity) Continentalists, the continental institution is again suffering a huge set back to gave the regionalists another ample time to reconsolidate their grip and weaken further the socio-eco-political actualization of the United States of the African dream.
The independence of the African states came with the understanding that all the free-states will be fusing together into a single strong entity to defend their common interest against the rest of the “developed stronger world” so as to develop themselves, as states and as people. The assumed impression by all the stakeholders is that the unity will be coming along automatically without any much effort.
The reality however was different. The unity was though inevitable, it turned out that the resultant continental institution will not automatically be an independent body free of colonial influence in its efforts to shape a new destiny for her free people.
Immediately after the independence of some of the African states and the urge to have the continental body into place, then arose the contention of the form the eventual continental body should take. This challenge then resulted into the two camps of the Continentalists (Casablanca Group) and Regionalists (Monrovia Group).
It is worthy of recalling that this same phenomenon arose at the early days of the Union of the Ex-American British colonies that led to the emergence of the “Federalists” and the “Republicans” of the USA. The Republicans at the time enjoyed the backing of the British Empire while the Federalists played on the strength of the people, and with the adoption of a voting system starting with the “Electors” participating in the decision of who becomes the US (The Union) president, both interests forged on with the people's mandate of advancing the assumed political will of the generality of the people.
The factors that evolved due to the natural challenges of the USA in its early days on the nature or form the then continental body ought to be taking were exactly the same as those that naturally plagued the OAU in its early days. The unfortunate thing with the OAU and now the AU is that, the element of One Man One Vote adopted by the Americans to overcome the problem of how the Union is shaped was never allowed to come into the picture of solving the OAU wide problems and still is the case with the AU till date.
Some few years into the inception of the OAU, the organization suffered a lot of set back due to the foot dragging attitude of the Neo-conservatives of the Union who put up every form of arguments in favour of their regional agendas. The Regionalist never hides their position on a weaker continental wide Union in favour of regional bodies. Amidst this imperialists manipulated controversies, the likes of Osagyfor Dr. Kwame Nkrumah were forced to settle for a loose version of what we today called the OAU. The continentalists actually underestimated the vicious nature of the imperialists as a phenomenon capable of permeating itself beyond a mere declaration of independence. So with the backing of the ex-colonialists and their allies, the regionalists were able to contain their colleagues in the Union by making them settle down for less than they wanted.
It was however on record that the continentlists still fought on to actualize their dream of an African common body, strong enough to relieve it self of the colonial and imperialists' shackles. Individuals like Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Keyanta, Helis Salasi, Gamal Abdul Nasar and King Hassan of Morocco among others, did their best to have a working Union capable of taking up its rightful position in the global justice system. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah even got to the extent of urging his contemporaries to stop the regionalists approach as it does nothing than dividing and weakening the continental Union into a disadvantageous position in favour of our common external parasites, we all claimed are taking advantage of us. He urged them to desist from their petty agendas and help built a continental body for the people as posterity will never be forgiving them for failing to do so.
The plot to frustrate the continentalists was to have them eliminated from the scene and with the likes of Kwame Nkrumah, Abdul Nasser, Jomo Kenyatha off the way, the OAU assumed the status of “a talking shop” of dictators. All forms of atrocities assume the status of normalities on the continent. The OAU become so useless that the UN (United Nation) have to annex it for all sorts of dirty work on the continent of Africa while the same UN encouraged the regionalists to continue with their misleading agenda. Backed by the imperialists, the regionalists spare no time throwing their inferior weight around as they nest their so called “regional bureaucratic bodies” of frustration, confusion and hopelessness.
The regionalists who mostly sustained their regimes at the time with the aid of their imperialists' backers had all the time to mislead the citizens of the Union into accepting their regional agenda. They premised their argument on the OAU as a dysfunctional institution and that regional bodies will do better. They went on with the support of their external partners to win more sympathy for the regional bodies. On the count to date, we have at least eight of them namely; the ECOWAS, AMU, IGAD, EAC, SADC, ECCAS, COMESA and CEN SAD. The interesting thing is that all these organizations claim to be part of the AU. So the citizens of every member states are expected to solve their internal problem but when such effort fail, the regional bodies step in after which the AU will be come an option. The involvement of the AU, as determined by the regionalists is also expected to be with the full cooperation of the “international Community” mainly controlled by the imperialists. Thus, the AU has to first seek for the approval of the UN before intervening in the affairs of her own member states.
Apart from financial and bureaucratic inconveniences that come with these regionalists' favoured approach to the continental institutions, they also create a form of confusing atmosphere. Most of the member states are known to belong to more than one of the institutions within the continent. Interestingly, most of the institutions have basically the same idle. A body such as SADC spanning beyond a particular geo-eco-political region and having about 20 countries as members, one then tend to ask if such body is not intended to be replacing the AU as rival continental body.
There is no doubt the reincarnation of the OAU into the AU as a result of the unfavourable prevailing circumstances being face by the call into questions the fundamental by which the fate of the continent is being decided. This urged in the strengthening of the dormant body from that of choice into that of a must.
The disgraceful imperialist over throw of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was not only a big blow to the effort of the Continentalists but also caused the institution's stagnation until another continentalist effort emerged in the person of Muammar Gaddafi. Like Gamal Abdul Nasser, Gaddafi dared all the Arab fundamentalists whose acceptance of any North Africa leader is only based on Pan Arabism. He worked tirelessly in favour of the OAU continentalist agenda. In fact, his effort did not only result in re-activating the erstwhile continental body but also got the name changed into AU which was actually intended to be by the name “United States of Africa”. This indeed will go done in history of the African wide body for a very long time to come, as Nkrumah's name easily come to mind when the OAU is mentioned.
As expressed in his speech to the 13th AU Summit in Sirte, Libya, Gaddafi the then Chairman of the Union confirmed the existence of the two camps within the Union by referring to the regionalists as the “Gradualists” who opposes a quicker strengthening of the continental body's institution as it is being advocated by him and others in the Union.
The gradualists seems to share certain characteristics in common among which are; capitalism, free market economy, more private ownership of FOP (Factors of Production), less state involvement, transfer of public interest to the private interest, more private investment, more foreign investment, heavy national debt burden, dominance of World Back and IMF in local economies, confederacy, internationalization of member states matters beyond the Union, extreme emphasis on nation state sovereignty, regionalism and more foreign dependency of all sorts. So to the regionalists, the United Nation and our former colonial masters deserve more say on issues of member state's sovereignty than the Continental body while the interpretation of “democracy” of the member state citizens is only welcome when it is limited to their colonial boarders. In short, with the regionalists, the Union itself is only worthy of any institutional value as long as it is within the favour of the ex-colonial masters and the UN.
The continentalists on the other hand favour; less capitalists approach, market control, more government direct involvement in all state matters, government ownership of means of production (FOP), less privatization, less commercialization of government interest, more protection of the local consumer by the state, more emphasis on price regulation, less external interference and a stronger Union with lesser dependency on the UN.
Now both the cotinentalists and the regionalists within the AU claim to be serving the people. All the two factions within the Union claim to be advancing the “best will” and the “common good” of the 986 million citizens of the 53 member states combined. Unlike the Union of the American Ex-British colonies, the AU approach seem to be a form of blind representation of interest starved of any continental wide democratic legitimacy. The fact is that the people of the Union have never actually been consulted on any of the views or ideals of the Union. The need to have the member states citizens express their position on which of the approaches they favour most, to be renewable every four years, is just out of the question and this has been going on for the past 48 years. The current approach has clearly failed to work and it does not look like the blind wise men of the AU are even aware of this, as it fail them one after the other, at the slightest test. At best, the leaders of the member states whose manifestoes were more of their local tribal cum sectional concerns turn out at the Union level pretending to know it all. These member states leaders claim to be representing the genuine views of the member states citizens on the agenda of the Union, as if the citizens were ever consulted on such issues.
Of course, you can't walk away from a boxing fight to win the fight. But how do you win a fight when the mechanism of determining who is fighting and who is not, does not exist? How do we know whether the majority of our people actually favour a common AU defence, trade and foreign policy when they have been intentionally excluded from the decision making all together? How do we even determine if this is actually the way the people want the Union to be run when they have been disenfranchised? How do we determine whether our people will prefer a stronger Union by their majority or a weaker one without the mechanism to determine what the people want? How do we know whether the inhabitants of today's African continent will be preferring the capitalists free market economy or a moderate socialists approach when the majority of these people have intentionally been excluded from the decision making process at the Union level? How do we even know whether the citizens of the AU want the Union to assume a stronger federal nature as against a weaker con-federal system without the “One Man One Vote” approach of electing the president of the Union's authority? Is Dr. Jean the best person the people would have chosen to man the commission of the Union if they had actually participated in the election that gave him the mandate?
Come to think of it, every single AU member state citizen has an opinion on what is currently happening in Libya. Some people will prefer the Union to take a stronger stand by sending in armed men from the member states to take control of the situation as against the Arab League, the UN, EU and the USA. In fact a lot of our youths are already on the ground laying down their lives to defend what they believe is right or wrong, while the Americans are also going in with their powerful weapons to kill us on our own land.
In our argument on how the election of the Union is going to be with Gaddafi as the one to be making available an aeroplane to fly the candidates about in fulfilling their democratic and necessary condition of selling themselves to the citizens of the member states, this unfortunate unfolding event in Libya is just a big blow to us all. We have always maintained that the worst is yet to happen to us in Africa and the least in our thought was Libya. Who shall be next with this “all die be die?” Do we sit down crying over Nana Ado's “all die be die” wishing it never happen or get our people into understanding that we could have the AU to meaningfully step in to restore law and order if our people are participating in the AU election? The AU Authority president is all that the AU is about, like Barak Obama is all that the USA is all about. This is not a choice but a must. We must fight for this right if we believe we are a free people. It is about justice and nobody can be just to us than our common participation in the AU election in deciding our own George Washington of the AU.
Kofi Ali Abdul-Yekin
Chair/Coordnator of AGA
(ACTION GROUP OF AFRICA)