Africa Must Unite for True Freedom, Prosperity – Kwame Nkrumah

Kwame Nkrumah Haile Selassie
Kwame Nkrumah and Emperor Haile Selassie two of the founders of the African Union

AFRICANGLOBE – In this book, Kwame Nkrumah spells out the tactics and strategy for the African Union. His argument is that until and unless African countries unite at the political, economic, defence and economic fronts, the continent and its people will have no true freedom and prosperity.

Divided up into twenty-one chapters, Kwame Nkrumah gives an overview of the African society in the opening chapter.

He follows it up with an incisive analysis of the colonial experience and its impact on the continent. He then examines the role of the intellectual vanguard in the struggle for political independence.

After that, he delves into the specific experience of Ghana’s struggle for sovereignty, looks at the problems of sovereignty and then builds up his case for African unity.

He contends that neo-colonialism is a threat to the viability of the newly independent African states. He also cites examples of the United States of America and the former Soviet Union as examples of major unions of states in the world.

In the final chapter, he marshals out arguments for what he describes as “Continental Government for Africa.”

There are two appendices. The first one is the full text of the address Kwame Nkrumah gave on the eve of the foundation of the Organisation of African Unity on May 25, 1963.

The second one is a text of address made by Julius Nyerere in Accra on March 6, 1997 on the occasion of Ghana’s 40th independence anniversary.

Throughout the book, Kwame Nkrumah keeps harping on his passion — an African Union.

To achieve this, he opines that African leaders must come together to devise an overall economic planning on a continental basis; establish a unified military and defence strategy; a united foreign policy and diplomacy to give political direction to their joint effort for the protection and economic development of the continent.

“What is at stake is not the destiny of a single country but the freedom and destiny of the African continent, the unalterable prelude to the African Union and the fullest development of the many countries comprising the continent.

“Just as we are alive to the dangers of a world which is half-slave, half-free, so we are alert to the perils of an African continent split between states that are wholly sovereign and states that are only half-independent. Such a pattern can only impede the real independence of Africa and its transformation into an industrialised continent exercising its rightful influence upon world affairs.” (p.187)

He argues that the balkanization of the African continent serves the interests of the imperialists and not those of the African people.

“The creation of several weak and unstable states of this kind in Africa, it is hoped, will ensure the continued dependence on the former colonial powers for economic aid, and impede African unity.

This policy of balkanization is the new imperialism, the new danger to Africa.” (p.179)

And the way out of this bog, he suggests, is unity of the diverse states on the continent.

“A point in our history has been reached where Africa’s interests must be the prime concern of Africa’s leaders.

“The safety and progress of every one of our states can be safeguarded only by the acceptance of this precept, which can best be promoted by our unalloyed unity.

“This means that where associations linking African countries with European powers cut across basic African interests at any level and offer impediments to the goal of union, they must be discarded, and rejected where they are offered.

“In all relations with the world overseas, the key consideration must be not merely the superficial or even intrinsic advantage of such relationships for the given African country but the obligation to the African continent as a whole.

“However, much we may protest our loyalty to the course of African freedom and our united destiny, our affirmations will be without value unless we accept this approach as the cardinal guide to our action,” (p.185)

Written in an engaging prose style, Africa Must Unite ought to be a companion for every African who believes in the emancipation of the continent.

–Dr. Kwame Nkrumah was the first President of Ghana. An influential 20th century advocate of Pan-Africanism, he was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity and was the winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1963.