News Commentary calls on the African continent to rise for unity and development, as it celebrates 60th Anniversary of the formation of the African Union today.
Today, we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the formation of Africa Union (AU) that was formed by 32 heads of Independent Africa States in Addis Ababa in 1963 as Organization of Africa Union (OAU). The name was officially changed in 2002. The celebration of AU Day seems to be like any event in Africa that comes and passes leaving us the same. As far as God has given us time to live in the space of Africa, we ought to celebrate with gratitude to God and to our forbearers in order to project our plans for progress and development. As we celebrate, we need to know our standing in the world before we project ourselves.
Africa is currently standing as an economic baby that needs food supplements in order to survive. If not, why should Africa with all her human and natural resources still rely on the International Monetary Fund? Meanwhile, Africa is a mother, rich enough to feed her many children yet unborn. Mother Africa has been malnourished and starved of growth simply because she has refused to feed herself. We have the human and natural resources to harness for development, yet, we have grown with the mentality that we must always rely on others. The spirit of relying on others came as a result of colonialism which must be nipped into the bud.
The African legend and Prophet, Bob Marley said it all that “we must emancipate ourselves from mental slavery, none but we can free our minds.” Yet many years after the prophecy of Bob Marley, many years of struggle for political independence and 60 years of the formation of AU, we are still socioeconomically dependent. There is no way that some group of human beings can be totally independent from others. The continual reliance of Western nations on Africa’s resources is enough evidence for us to make ourselves interdependent instead of the continual dependence in terms of trade, technology and decision making.
The monster that has entered into the African continent and culture is the philosophy of divide and rule. It came along with the colonial rulers who went back with a different philosophy to continue to rule and divide Africa. They are still ruling us in many ways and dividing us from the lines of politics, education, religion and culture. Meanwhile, they are able to rule as a unit before evenly dividing their resources gotten for national development. However, Africans continue to divide ourselves in terms of politics, ethnicity, and greed just to name a few. What is divided cannot be ruled together but would continue to fragment.
The founders of AU saw the diversity of the African continent and culture as a potential for tremendous unity and development. Diversity calls for commutative properties of addition and multiplication but not subtraction and division. God has created nature to be commutative by adding and multiplying for reproduction. Why can’t we add and multiply through production? Whiles our counterparts in the western hemisphere are seriously adding and multiplying their resources and energies, Africa is busy subtracting her resources and dividing them to the west. Let us think of the teeming youths crossing the Mediterranean Sea in the hope of greener pastures with many perishing for lack of knowledge and jobs. What about the brain drain to the west that goes to testify that we have enough and sufficient human resources but left in the drain of other dependence. Current Africa leaders have taken up the culture of our colonial rulers to divide and rule perpetuating the culture of dependence. By and large, current Africa leaders have apparently minimise the enlightenment of the African in terms of civil education in order to exploit the ignorance and maximize political power for selfish gain. We shall continue to exhibit the counterfeit of democracy by voting and not counting free, fair and credible election. Before the coming of the whites to Africa, the African woman used to cook with a pot on three stones. It implies, there must be unity of persons, who bring resources into one pot and put on fire for food.
Africa is currently hungry for unity, industrialization and development. Until we realize, acknowledge and harmonize our human and natural resources, we shall continue to rule and divide ourselves. Africa has been in a slumber of development for far too long, and must wake up to see unity for self-reliance. As part of agenda 2063, the AU has charged us to develop the “Africa We Want”. Consequently, the leaders of Africa must spearhead and lead us to unite in heart and mind to rejuvenate the youthful human capital and fire up the industrialization started by great brains like Kwame Nkrumah and exemplified by John Mangufuli of Tanzania in recent memory.
By: Rev. Fr. Jonas Richmond Atarah, Catholic Priest of Navrongo-Bolgatanga Diocese.