On Saturday 8th December 2018, a significant event opened at the University of Ghana, marking the 60th Anniversary of the All-African People’s Conference. In attendance were the President of the Republic of Ghana, the Vice President of the Burkinabe Parliament, Ambassadors and High Commissioners of several African countries. Notable Pan-Africanists including A. Peter Bailey who was the editor of the newsletter of Malcolm X’s Organisation of Afro-American Unity were also there. And so were women’s groups, youth organisations, activists and artistes. In all, over 500 participants attended the event put together by the Kwame Nkrumah Pan-African Centre and the Pan-African Federalist Movement.
In 1958, the All-African People’s Conference was held in Accra, drawing participants from over 28 countries to discuss African liberation and unity. It was the first time a Pan-African event of its calibre was held on African soil.
African unity is an age-old dream. It is a simple but powerful idea based on the equally age-old adage that “united we stand, divided we fall”. This adage captures in the most profound sense the value inherent in unity. A family divided cannot stand, a city divided will be wiped out, a nation divided will fall. And we can say same for a continent. Therefore African unity is not only desirable but logical. To appreciate this, we simply have to look at the alternative – division. In the late 19th Century at a conference in Berlin, the vampire states of Europe divided up Africa among themselves in order to facilitate their need – or greed – to pillage and ravage the human and material resources of our great continent. The stealing of our resources was made possible by the division.
This situation persists today through neo-colonialism, which ensures that our economies are owned and controlled by multinational corporations and organizations from the same countries that were engaged in the old colonialism. Neo-colonialism is the most dangerous stage of imperialism. It is the system by which the resources of Africa are primarily used for the benefit of foreigners; the system where the collective wealth of our continent is used to serve the luxuries of a few rather than the needs of all. In his speech at the founding of the Organisation of African Unity, Kwame Nkrumah warned, “If we do not approach the problems in Africa with a common front and a common purpose, we shall be haggling and wrangling among ourselves until we are colonized again and become the tools of a far greater colonialism than we suffered hitherto”. We cannot defeat this system unless we unite. Only African unity can help us take decisive control of our resources. In Neo-colonialism; the last stage of imperialism, Kwame Nkrumah prescribes that, “Quite obviously, unity is the first prerequisite for destroying neo-colonialism. Primary and basic is an all-African union government on the much divided continent of Africa”.
In recent times, the fervour of Pan-Africanism is being rekindled and interest in the idea of a united Africa is growing. For instance, from the beginning of 2018 till date, we have seen several Pan-African events with diverse programme details but with a common and straight goal – to see the prosperity of the African. In September the Concerned Nkrumaists of North America convened their first convention. Scheduled to coincide with the birthday of Kwame Nkrumah, The Third Pan-Africanism Today was also held in Ghana’s Central Region town of Winneba. Further, during 2018 the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party held series of events to mark the 50th Anniversary of the publication of The Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare, one of Kwame Nkrumah’s classics in which he states that, “Without political unity, African states can never commit themselves to full economic integration, which is the only productive form of integration able to develop our great resources fully for the well-being of the African people as a whole”.
The just ended 60th Anniversary of the All-African People’s Conference was held the heels of another event by the Institute of African Studies in remembrance of the same historical event.
This renewed interest in African unity shows a certain disillusionment in the current state of division and a resurgence of a belief in the power of unity to bring the prosperity Africa and Africans yearn for. It must give hope to all Pan-Africanists that AFRICA WILL UNITE. Of course, as history shows, this will not come easy. The All-African People’s Conference was about liberation and unity. Liberation did not come on a silver platter and unity will not either. But Kwame Nkrumah exhorts us, “The ultimate goal of a United States of Africa must be kept constantly in sight amidst all the perplexities, pressures and cajoleries with which we shall find ourselves confronted, so that we do not permit ourselves to be distracted or discouraged by the difficulties and pitfalls which undoubtedly lie ahead.”
By African unity, what is meant is a federated African State with all people of African descent as citizens no matter where they live. In Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare, Kwame Nkrumah declares that, “All people of African descent, whether they live in North or South America, the Caribbean, or in any part of the world are Africans and belong to the African nation”. The political, economic, cultural and philosophical justifications for this are now too obvious to recount. Nkrumah’s Africa Must Unite and Cheikh Anta Diop’s Black Africa: The economic and cultural basis for a federated state have done justice to this topic. What Pan-Africanists of today need to do is to move African unity from an idea to reality to bring prosperity and dignity to African people everywhere. Thankfully, the renewed interest in African unity shows that conditions are potentially ripe for bringing the United States of Africa into being. The crucial thing is to move beyond the talk and organise on the ground, getting the masses along. As one of the youth Panelists on Saturday said, “unity begins from the mind”. This is why the subsequent workshops held by the Pan-African Federalist Movement after the December 8 commemorative event are critical to laying the foundation for the necessary ground work.
We cannot afford any measure of complacency. But Pan-Africanists must be happy to take advantage of the turn of events to organise with renewed strength and hope. For without doubt, Africa will unite.
Forward to the United African States!
The writer is the Fighter-General of the Economic Fighters League and the Research and Programmes Coordinator at the Kwame Nkrumah Pan-African Centre
Source: Nsempii News
*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.