NEWS COMMENTARY ON THE COMMEMORATION OF AFRICA UNION DAY.
Africa Union Day is a day set aside to remember the contributions of the founding fathers and mothers of the Organisation of Africa Unity, OAU, established, on May 25, 1963, and now called the African Union, AU. The day is observed once a year with programmes to recognise and honor Africans who fought for liberation from colonial rule and championed the yet to be attained unification of the continent. Africa Day or AU Day is also used to reflect on challenges undermining the progress of the continent and deliberate on ways to address the challenges. Africa believed to be the land of civilisation has struggled over the years to liberate itself from underdevelopment and economic difficulties.
The Continent is bedeviled and shackled with issues such as poverty, diseases, low socio-economic development, political leadership challenges, technological under development, unemployment, illiteracy and corruption. Attempt at solving these challenges have been slow, making it difficult for the continent to catch up with other regions of the world. Forebears like Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Haile Sellassie, Julius Nyerere, Modibo Keita, Sekou Toure, among others tried their best to free the continent from colonialism and catapult it to the promised land, but their efforts were thwarted by Western imperialism and their local collaborators for their parochial interests.
The work of the founding fathers to unify the continent was intense in the sixties but after their exit from the scene, the commitment of present leaders towards attaining a continental unity has been very low. Various targets and frameworks that drew lessons from the Global Millennium Development Goals, now Sustainable Development Goals have been set towards the acceleration of development, however implementation has always been a problem. It is mindboggling that the continent still relies on Western Nations and now Asian countries like China and India to implement its agendas.
Africa is blessed with human and natural resources that can be harnessed and channeled into the development of the continent but corruption and ineffective leadership have been the bane hence the over reliance on donors support for every minute development. It is sad that leaders have failed to make the continent conducive for the youth to stay and contribute to its development. Many have been made to believe that the grass is greener on other continents hence the regular migration often through unconventional means to Europe and the Americas.
The 57th Anniversary of the AU is being marked virtually online due to the coronavirus pandemic that has plagued the World. It is under the theme: ‘Silencing The Guns: Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development and Intensifying the Fight against the COVID -19 Pandemic”. While commending leaders of the continent for their efforts at containing the virus, it is our prayers that they continue to explore ways to properly manage the spread of the virus on the continent to save lives. It is important for Health Experts on the continent to embrace indigenous preparations that are efficacious for the management of the virus.
This is the period to demonstrate to the rest of the world that Africa is capable of managing its own affairs as declared some years ago by former President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Celebrating the African Union day each year should remind us of our failures and the need to redouble efforts to make the continent a beautiful place to live. It is possible.
Happy Africa Day to all Africans.
BY DOMINIC LORDZI, A JOURNALIST.