OPINION | Stronger AU needed to take continent forward

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When Ghana became the first African country to gain independence in 1957, then president Kwame Nkrumah declared: “Ghana’s independence is meaningless unless it is linked with the total liberation of Africa.”

If Nkrumah were alive today, he would be pleased with the transformation from the Organisation of African Unity to the AU (AU).

However, I’m sure he would have been disappointed by the lack of radicalism in the implementation of policies to address continental challenges.

In Africa Must Unite, Nkrumah talks of the dangers of continued Balkanisation, including potential division and conflict, and the need for political unification as well as All-African economic planning.

In Challenge of the Congo, he states that political independence is meaningless if there is no economic freedom. He emphasises the necessity  of African solutions for African problems.

People of Africa have shared interests and should be united around common goals. This is the main idea behind Pan-Africanism and what many of its proponents envisioned as a unified Africa.

The leadership and governance challenges in Africa include inter alia, providing  the capacity to deliver and manage pan-African programmes; processes and the required reforms; creating a  common understanding of governance and leadership issues; and that of setting standards, benchmarks and indicators for the elements of good governance; curbing corruption and money laundering; developing and managing partnerships and developing participative, people-based decision-making processes.

Whether one agrees with this assertion or not, the challenges of weak leadership remains a barrier on how to eliminate corruption in the continent.

Enforcing the rule of law, addressing poverty and strengthening accountability measures will go a long way towards reducing the corrupt practices in public and private sector institutions and subsequently can become a driving force behind African unity.

This African unity should embody a new consciousness for the continent where leaders work collectively to solve our unique problems.

It should fundamentally radicalise economic unification and complete transformation of African society to end exploitation and oppression.

Africa’s new consciousness should embody a radical pan-African unity in its approach to governance and economic development to eradicate poverty; bridge the economic and governance divide in African development.

The new consciousness should cover the gap between sound economic governance and accountability.

The new consciousness should cover the gap between sound economic governance and accountability.   

The new African consciousness should embody a culture of intra-African trade. Pan African unity and mistakes of the past should act as guidelines to pave the way towards a better and more united future.

Africa continues to struggle with collective decision-making both in response to conflict and the promotion of evenly balanced development through its regional economic communities.

The AU, which was created to attain greater unity and solidarity between African countries should further strengthen these objectives to be achieved by increasing intra-African trade, building a regional consensus and action on people-centred, good governance norms and principles; and also through swift and unanimous action on threats to peace and security in the region.

The new African consciousness of the AU should aim for equitable development throughout the continent, thereby ensuring a stronger and united Africa.

As for governance conflicts that frequently occur, member states need to work together and look for more effective, timeous and actionable African solutions to African problems.

The new approach should focus on scientists in Africa and stop dismissing them while waiting for solutions from the West.

Future leaders should embrace the new consciousness when they graduate.

Ugly scenes of violence against African foreign nationals must cease. The AU and its African Parliament should push values and principles of a united Africa.

Nhlanhla Mosele is a Young African Leadership Initiative Network member and World Literacy Foundation Blogger.


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