Consolidating True Peoples Democracy in the African Union Part 2
This second segment of the abovementioned article focuses on concrete and expedient foundation/stepping stones that are needed to improve the plight of the masses in the African Union. The goals of the African Union should be recalibrated to actually meet the needs and aspirations of our people and not to enshrine the hegemony of the status quo throughout the continent. Hence, the reason for the many rulers and few leaders in the African Union to reform and/or step aside from summits and conferences with empty speeches, champagnes, red carpets, and okoso (frivolous partying). More credence should be given to the longings of Africans for True Peoples Democracy that encompasses accountability, development, transparency, service, enfranchisement, and the sanctity of the African lives.
In the next African Union summit, there needs to be a declaration signed by all African heads of governments to respect the sanctity of African lives. This communiqué will be monitored by courts, non-governmental, and human rights organizations within and outside the continent. The African Union member states and legal practitioners should be mandated to table complaints against those nations that violate the sanctity of the lives of our children, sisters, and brothers. For example, there is no need for the African Union to exist and remain silent while our children are exploited in the name of Christianity in Kinshasa Congo and Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria among other places. Members of the “stolen generation” of African children are been molested and traumatized by their families under the guise of witchcraft, with our so-called rulers, community leaders, and elders standing by under the spells of cognitive dissonance.
Indeed the cheapening and outright disregard of African lives is tragically scandalous and foretells more instability if nothing is done to address these problems. Children and women who have been the victims of war, manmade poverty, and corruption are re-traumatized with accusations of witchcraft, chronic sexual molestation, and systematic rape. In Dakar Senegal and Northern Nigeria, some innocent vulnerable, young poor children are abused and exploited with the Islamic religion by adults who should know better. They are made to beg for sustenance instead of being protected, loved, sheltered and educated to fulfill their maximum potentials. We have had occasions where children and their family have died of starvation due to draught in the rural outlines of places like the Republic of Niger, while there were warehouses full of food stocks in Niamey the capital city.
Moreover, we are again faced with draught and manmade starvations in Somalia where some will rather practice terror and export terror instead of seeing to the welfare of African families. Al-Shabaab and other warring clans and factions are at a crossroads where they must decide to get “Bread or Guns” to “Build or Destroy.” It is indeed disconcerting that they were more interested in fighting and they did not take time to examine the tale tale signs of draught that resulted in the current humanitarian crises and inertia. As people of the African Union, we owe it to ourselves to provide human services that are not usurped by religious, ethnic, tribal, foreign, and individual considerations. Rather than fight the African Union, the stakeholders in Somalia should have had a trans-African strategy to increase food productions in other countries on the continent that have not experienced draught, like Benin, Gambia, and Sierra Leone to mention a few.
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr. Jean Ping and other stakeholders in the continent need to start viewing developments from the perspective of the African people and become more accountable as stewards of the African People's Union. Institutions like the Kenyan Parliament and the Nigerian House of Assembly should immediately vote to reduce their over bloated salaries, allowances, bonuses, and other expenditures. On the other hand the national courts need to declare their independence and issue injunctions against this pervasive national greed. The House Speaker of Kenya Mr. Kenneth Marende should stop comparing the Members of Parliament in Nairobi to those in Singapore and Nigeria like he did in his BBC News interview. As was pointed out by the interviewer, Singapore is one of the richest nations on earth and, I can authoritatively state that the members of the Nigerian House of Assembly are committing “daylight-no-gun-robbery” against the people of the United Nations of Nigeria. The African Union needs to join the people of Africa to fight these vices of greed and impunity to promote true transparency.
In furtherance of transparency, the African Union needs to establish a continental judicial system which should be delegated with the authority to adjudicate appeals from all the African Union member states. The African Union Courts (African Criminal Courts and African Civil Courts) will assist in reducing the record levels of corruption, impunity, dictatorship, and lack of basic amenities that we are experiencing in many nations in Africa. Gone shall be the days when the likes of Mr. Charles Taylor of Liberia will face justice at The Hague in Netherlands outside the watchful eyes and consciousness of the African rulers and people. Let us prosecute our criminals in the African continent so that the rulers in Cameroun, Somalia, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Egypt, Libya, Northern Sudan, Malawi, Togo, Equatorial Guinea, Uganda, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and other African countries will take note.
In addition, there is the need to agree with the African Union that the International Criminal Court has employed discriminatory stances in going after African leaders. Though, this is by no means an exculpation of the atrocities committed by Dictators Moammar Gadhafi and Omar Al-Bashir. The African Union is right in the sense that the International Criminal Court (ICC) should go after the likes of former United States Presidents Mr. George W. Bush, Mr. Cheney, and British Prime Minister Mr. Tony Blair with the same vigor that they have gone after African presidents. ICC Chief Prosecutor Mr. Jose Luis Moreno-Ocampo is on the verge of supporting Anglo-patriarchy if western leaders are not indicted for their crimes. The bloodletting in Libya, Sudan, and Kenya is not more egregious than the illegal war, torture, and crimes against humanity in Iraq. Instead of supporting unscrupulous rulers let the African Union establish the African Union Courts in Central Africa to usher in transparency and the rule of law.
However, the advent of transparency in the African continent will serve to transcribe much needed development. The African Union needs to look into the creation of an African Union Development Banking System that would stop the tide of vast sums of monies been transmitted to other continents without any traces and for dubious reasons. Why should billions of African funds be held in foreign reserves in other nations when the African people are living as paupers? Mind-blowing health and wealth gradient disparities, high infant mortalities, high morbidities, inadequate electricity, substandard hospitals, deathtrap roads, impure water, insecurity of food, and lack of infrastructures are all symptomatic of stymied developments.
In order to encourage development that supports True Peoples Democracy, the African Union should entertain sources other than Europe, America, Arabia, and China as allies. The African expatriate communities need to be engaged rather than banished to exile with bureaucratic red tapes and President Laurent Gbagbo's inspired disenfranchising laws. It is also incumbent on the African Union nations to solicit cooperation with African Americans, Afro-Latinos, Afro-Asians, and Caribbean knowledge based skill sets to solve the above-mentioned symptomatic problems. When these subsectors of developmental partners are invited and involved in our future endeavors, there would be more socially just production potential for the refined and byproduct aspects of raw materials and an acceleration of fair trade agreements with other regions of the globe. Our economies will witness the infusion of diversification strategies that are going to make the African Union self-sufficient. Our rural areas would be able to sustain working secure and livable communities like in the past. Youth unemployment, urban sprawl, and mass migration in most African Union nations will also be curtailed and reversed with time.
Nnamdi Frank Akwada MSW, BA is a Social Justice Activist