AFRICANGLOBE – African leaders at the 50th AU summit are discussing the resurrection of the ideals of Pan-Africanism with a view to maintaining the Pan-African political theology as the development bible of the continent. It is therefore imperative that we revisit the Pan-African paradigm as a development doctrine of Africa within the context of the 21st Century.
Though the leadership must not merely talk Pan-African, they must act Pan-African if the goals are to be achieved. Anybody with an insight of the history of Africa is aware that the People of Africa who are scattered in over 113 countries acquire the same capacities, value and dignity as other human beings. They cherish liberty, justice, development and peace just like any other people. Just like all societies and peoples, African people have in great measure contributed and are contributing to the advancement of civilization and humanity.
However Africa of today is engulfed in a tragedy of mental, economic, political and social exploitation and oppression. But we are aware of the fact that no condition is permanent more so if human beings are prepared to consciously improve their condition.
The tragedy of not only Africa but also of the whole world is the emergence of Capitalism, which gave birth to slavery, colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism and imperialism. Capitalism therefore to a large extent is the basis for ignorance, poverty, oppression and exploitation of man by man and the insecurity that surrounds the globe today. Thus African People being one of the hardest hit by Capitalism inevitably have to organise unite and fight against the vices of Capitalism and build a more just society which will ensure our dignity, liberty and prosperity.
There is only one approach to such an organisation, that approach is Pan-Africanism. Cognizant of the fact that those propagating the anti-African propaganda have worked extensively to make Africans believe that they are not only inferior to other cultures but also lack the technological know-how to propel the continent in the channel of progress and development.
They have succeeded to some degree in convincing many of our brothers and sisters to accept the linear pattern of development, with the notion that development is modernisation and modernisation is westernization. And if the African continent wants to develop, it is not a question of unity but following the footsteps of the very people who had subjugated us and robbed us of vast riches for centuries.
However, evidences produced by post independent Africa, notably wars, corruption, underdevelopment, weak economies, indebtedness of individual states among others have proven beyond all reasonable doubt that Pan-Africanism is the solution to the problems of the continent. This is certain because Pan-Africanism is the result of the trials and tribulations of Africans in their struggle for freedom, equality, self-determination and prosperity.
It is conscious of the fact that as a result of our experiences in slavery and colonialism, Africans have been deprived of their culture and identity and human dignity and worth. This unfortunate condition further culminated into extreme poverty, which has ever since characterized our communities.
This reality has put the African at the mercy of both nature and other peoples of the world, including an African minority of collaborators and stooges, who continue up to this day, to exploit the African continent and her people at tremendous cost to our lives, liberty and development. Suffice it to say, our people’s aspiration for Pan-Africanism finds deep roots in our rich legacy of communalism in traditional African society. Here, humanist values and egalitarian social relationships characterised our collective way of life. It is here that the principles of democracy were born which Pan-Africanism seeks to restore in today’s context.
By putting Africa on the path of Pan-Africanism, true democracy will be attained because the reins of power will be in the hands of the people. Pan-Africanism provides for the struggling working masses the ability to control everything that affects their lives. But the future of Pan-Africanism as a strategy for development depends upon our ability to bring together young people, workers, political organisers, trade unionists, women activists and intellectuals behind a common vision of empowerment at a global level.
The new Pan-Africanism must first challenge the structures of patriarchy within our communities and organisations, creating a more egalitarian relationship between women and men. The new Pan-Africanism of the 21st Century must take a progressive stand on environmental issues and state of the world’s ecology. We must address the utilisation of the natural resources of the world; our reliance on petrochemicals and carbon-based technologies which foul the air and pollute our water; and the storage of toxic wastes which shorten the lives of our children. We need coalition strategy creating a dialogue with environmental organisations and green political parties, linking the struggle for development to a safe, clean environment.
After all, Pan-Africanism remains an essential democratic vision, to deconstruct and uproot the inequalities of racism; to challenge the unpopular capitalist “New World Order”. Pan-Africanism remains vital as a political framework bringing together the collective perspectives of people of Africa in our eternal struggle to assert and to affirm all humanity.
How we direct the ideals of Pan-Africanism are also fundamental. The ideals must be directed towards unity and nothing else. It must categorically be stated that Pan-Africanism is a set of principles. One cannot violate those principles and yet claim to be a Pan-Africanist.
We should all be reminded that it is now over four decades since the noble idea of African unity has been initiated. Our forbearers, who built independent states, realised that as long as the continent remains balkanized, it is impossible to meet the needs and aspirations of the people, as none of the independent sovereign states has the economic base, expertise and manpower to compete the production of the so called developed west. Since then, Africa remains far from unity; the continent remains haunted by the old fashioned divide and rule tactics of colonialism.
The fact remains that there is no need for Africans to be poor and underdeveloped because our continent is extremely rich. Our mineral resources, which are being exploited with foreign capital only to enrich foreign investors, range from gold and diamonds to uranium and petroleum. Our forests contain some of the finest woods to be grown anywhere. Our cash crops include ground nut, cocoa, coffee, rubber, tobacco and cotton.
As for power, which is an important factor in any economic development, Africa contains over 40% of the potential water power of the world, as compared with about 10% in Europe and 13% in North America. Yet so far, less than 1% has been developed. All what the continent needs is to unite for economic viability, progress and development. Africans must therefore wake up from their slumber and move forward.
We should at all times recognise that all Black people whether they are born in India, Russia, England, America, Haiti, Brazil, South Africa, Kenya or Gambia are Africans and they all belong to the African Nation. We all share the same reality. We suffer the same conditions. We have the same destiny. We need to organise and unite if we want to reverse that undesirable condition in which we are so that we will be the controllers of our destiny and our resources.
This is the call to the African leadership.