Bob Marley, yea-eah! –
To see the unification of all Africans, yeah! Marcus Garvey spoke of the concept in his poem entitled “Hail! United States of Africa” in which he called for ‘a united State in perfect sisterhood’.
Before Gadaffi was killed by the then US President George Bush and, British Prime Minister Tony Blair who is now being threatened with prosecution and possible arrest, the executed Libyan leader had spent so much money in an attempt to create a ‘United States of Africa’.
But even before the above-mentioned efforts, right from the creation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in May 1963 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the 32 African states which had attained independence at the time, saw the need ‘to promote the unity and solidarity of African states; coordinate and intensify their cooperation and efforts to achieve a better life for the peoples of Africa’.
The fact that African countries are still not ‘united’ is not because we haven’t been talking about it, and for years. The problem seems to be the ‘Kiosk-mindedness’ mentality of the majority of African presidents. Julius Nyerere was willing to delay his country’s independence in preference of a united East Africa and subsequently a united Africa.
The other African leaders who admired the colonialists’ way of life disregarded Nyerere’s vision and instead created extensions of the colonial states. Colonialists exploited our economies to build their economies back in their countries. The African leaders who have managed our countries since independence, have stolen everything, and for themselves and their families.
Over the years the leaders of United States of America and the leaders of Europe have told African leaders begging for assistance, that they need to trade among themselves first as they look for external investors. Foreign investors as they have told us don’t want to invest in anarchy that prevails on our continent.
Now the leaders of our countries seem to have realized that unless they begin trading amongst themselves, they will find it difficult to manage their people majority of whom are living in abject poverty.
Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, has called the initiative as a beginning of the creation of ‘a strong, prosperous and integrated Africa, driven by its own citizens’.So onJune 13, the African Union announced a new ‘single African passport.’
Passport ‘drivers’ believe it will reduce trade barriers and allow people, ideas, goods, services and capital to flow more freely across borders.
The intentions are all good. The problem is whether they shall be able to commit to uniting Africa when they have not been able to unite their own regional blocs.
For example the people of Uganda and Kenya have been fighting over the MIGINGO rock in the shared Lake Victoria. Don’t we need to start by uniting our small families before uniting our extended families?
The major question being raised by the citizens of the continent in the discussion of this initiative is whether our African leaders really want a united Africa. Let us give them the benefit of the doubt.