African Union goes beyond pledges


The year of 1960 is always remembered as “Africans’ Year”. There are several reasons why the year is labeled as “The Year of Africa”. Despite the fact that it is not a pure independence, in this year, most African countries had gained their independence and were freed from the pandemic of colonization.

The pandemic of colonization had once swept almost all the continent of Africa. If there were any countries which were not failing under the rule of colonization were only Ethiopia and Liberia. Liberia, which was founded by formerly enslaved people, declared itself independent in 1847. The repeated attempts made to colonize Ethiopia have failed several times. Beside these two countries, South Africa and Egypt regained their independence in 1910 and 1922 respectively even though the case of South Africa is different, for white minorities have remained the key political players.

World War II that claimed the lives of millions of people has left its legacy to Africa. Despite the fact that Africa and Africans were not direct beneficiaries of the war, most of them have sacrificed their priceless lives for no reason. They fought by the side of the two antagonistic powers. However, they did not practice political and economic freedom fully at the end of the war.

Those African countries that were under the rule of Axis Powers fell in the direct or indirect rule of the Allied powers. This has brought them an insignificant advantage. Until the 1960s, most African countries were still under the yoke of indirect form of colonization.

The 5th Pan African Congress that was held in Manchester in 1945 is considered as the landmark for Africans’ achievement. As indicated on African Studies Center, this Congress had hosted a number of future African independence leaders: Hastings Banda of Malawi, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Obafemmi Awolowo of South West Region Nigeria and Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya.

This congress truly has laid a foundation for the independence of most African countries. In the succeeding years several African countries have gained their independence.

Beside the aforementioned reasons, there is common consensus among scholars that Ethiopia`s freedom and its resistance to colonialists have inspired more nationalist African leaders and their followers to ask for freedom and enjoy self-rule. As a country that stood firm against slavery and colonialism, Ethiopia has been inspiring almost all African countries even before 1960s. While the whole Africa was under the yoke of slavery, Ethiopians were able to defeat well organized Italian forces. This victory had inspired almost all nationalist African leaders.

For most African countries, Ethiopia and political independence are the two sides of a single coin. Despite all the pressure and injustice from the then League of Nations, Ethiopians were able to resist the invading force successfully and regain their freedom. This strong Ethiopian sentiment has warmed the heart of 1960s African leaders and initiated them to fight for freedom and enjoy self-rule.

Decades have passed since Africa has regained its independence. After the first African Union Session that was held in 1963 in Addis Ababa, several political transitions, coup d’états, conflicts, economic progresses, civil wars and others had been manifested in most African countries.

Despite its richness in natural resources and strong human power, the continent still suffers from chaos, political instability and poverty. This directly or indirectly has a connection with the political and economic intervention of external powers (particularly the West) in the internal affairs of Africa. This is also witnessed in the recent political instability in Ethiopia.

While the Government of Ethiopia is working aggressively to destroy terrorist TPLF, the West has been using all opportunity to reinstate the junta into power. However, thanks to the strong muscles of Ethiopians the group has become crippled.

While Ethiopia was fighting the African war, there were some African countries that directly supported the effort of the government. There were also others who still remain in their slavery mentality and stood by the sides of the West and forced their citizens to leave Ethiopia. There were also other African countries that remained neutral.

As it was once said by Emperor HaileSelassie, “There are those who claim that African unity is impossible, that the forces that pull us, some in this direction, others in that, are too strong to be overcome. Around us there is no lack of doubt and pessimism, no absence of critics and criticism. These speak in Africa, of Africa’s future and of her position in the Twentieth Century in sepulchral tones. They predict dissension and disintegration among Africans and internecine strife and chaos on our continent. Let us confound these and, by our deeds, disperse them in confusion.

There are others whose hopes for Africa are bright, who stand with faces upturned in wonder and awe at the creation of a new and happier life, who have dedicated themselves to its realization and are spurred on by the example of their brothers to whom they owe the achievements of Africa’s past. Let us reward trust and merit their approval.”

African Unity is not all about the beautiful building that stood in Ethiopia. African Unity is not all about attending annual summits. It goes beyond that. The African Union is about standing by the side of African brothers and sisters. As it was recently said by Ghanaian model Dr. Setor Norgbe, this is a moment where every African needs to join hands for the good of the continent.

African Unity makes a difference for the future generation. Indeed, every African country should take the responsibility for the peace and stability of its neighbors. The more African countries stand for the peace and stability of their neighbors, the more they can avoid foreign intervention. The more they secure internal affairs, the more they deliver a strong and independent continent. This is the secret behind those developed countries. Irrespective of their political ideology and economic differences, they were able to stand firm against common enemies. This is witnessed in both World Wars and the Cold War. Africans should not be instruments of African enemies.

The February 3/2022

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