Thursday, June 1, 2023

AU called to resist external forces

…As continental body celebrates 60th anniversary

Brighton Chiseva

As Africa celebrated the Africa Union (AU)’s 60th Anniversary, Director of Kenya Law School Professor Patrick Lumumba has called on the Pan African Parliament (PAP) to up its game and fight external forces that control Africa many years after its independence.

Professor Lumumba made the call in a speech virtually on Africa Day Celebrations to the African Parliament in Midrand.

He said Africa was not yet independent from its colonial masters as it was still relying on foreign aid for key developments like the construction of Africa Union Headquarters which was done by outsiders and the African Development Bank (AfDB) which has foreign countries like America and Japan as shareholders.

“60 to 70 percent of the AU is catered for by foreign powers, this means there are invisible channels in which the colonial powers control Africa. If you go to Africa Development Bank (AfDB), you will discover that after Nigeria, the second investor is the United States of America and many others are foreign countries, so it’s just African Bank in name,” said Prof Lumumba.

He said the fact that he who pays the piper dictates the tune means that Africa is   independent only in name hence PAP needed to be empowered so that it may have teeth.

He said PAP needed to be popularised saying a random street search in Africa will show that a number of people do not know PAP and what it does.

“If you go to any street in Africa or South Africa where it is headquartered, you will see that that eight of ten people do not know PAP and what it stands for. So what does this mean, the current parliament should be the beginning of embryotic movement towards a modern representation of Africans, within the African continent.

“Pan Africanism will only be held up if you (PAP) become funded locally. So on this 60th anniversary of Africa, the spirit of Africanism should develop in your heads and minds. If you come from Angola, tell your President that you want more power for power to make sure that PAP will not be described by historians as a toothless bulldog,” added Prof Lumumba.

PAP President Chief Fortune Charumbira said as Africa they were happy to celebrate AU’s 60th anniversary which he said for people in many countries was the retirement age.

He went on to say if they were to evaluate the achievements of the Union, they were not too good but this was just the beginning.

PAP’s 2nd Vice President Dr Ashebiri Gayo said he would like PAP to celebrate next year’s Africa Day having resolved some of the organisation’s stumbling blocks.

“How are we going to celebrate Africa Day in 2024? I would like us to have legislative powers as a continental organisation. I would like us to have free movement in Africa that issue has to be resolved. We also need to have achieved the free trade area matter,” he said.

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