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Africa Back to the Unfinished Work – Pan Africanism

Africa _ No More
Graphic source : YouTube Video screenshot

Taye Berhanu /PhD

Today, the #NoMore movement by the Ethiopians and friends in the diaspora across the world has sent a lightening message of Pan Africanism. Why this time or what are the reasons for such movements? need to be scrupulously scrutinized. It has been almost over a century since Pan Africanism had echoed the quest for independence, freedom, justice, equality, peace and prosperity of all the peoples of the continent who suffered under the yoke of colonialism, neo-colonialism, racism and apartheid. 

With the final process of Africa’s decolonization and the establishment of the Organization of African Union, Pan Africanism subsided gradually being trapped by pseudo globalization process under the aegis of the developed powers, United Nations Organizations and the World Trade Organization complemented with the treacherous fight against international terrorism and the seemingly concern for democracy and human rights, among others.

Anti-colonial Struggle and the Adowa Spirit – Seeds of Pan Africanism

The peoples of Africa, resisting colonialism and so unwilling to shoulder the shackles of misery and sufferings committed by the aggressors, had waged different forms of struggle in various fronts. Those true sons and daughters of Africa embarked on political and armed struggles within and outside the continent against all sorts of evils with determination and dedication to bring an end to colonialism. 

It was at this historical epoch that the idea of pan Africanism sprouted. The seed of pan Africanism was sown at the ignominious defeat of the European military power, Italy, at the Battle of Adowa in March 1896 under the leadership of Emperor Menilik II of Ethiopia. This has, incontrovertibly, further heightened the vigilance, determination and dedication of the struggling peoples of Africa, Asia, Latin America, particularly the Black race and democratic forces the world over who stood against colonialism and racism. The Battle of Adowa and Pan Africanism are inextricably and inseparably linked as two sides of a coin cemented by humane motives and sacrifices for love of freedom and independence. 

The defeat of one of the modern and big powers of the West, Italy, at the hands of Ethiopians was recorded, willy-nilly, as an international indelible historic event. Since then, the fighting spirit and morale of the oppressed and suppressed peoples of the world had boosted.  The struggle for liberation which raged in Africa, Asia and Latin America began to expand and internationalized. Through an indomitable fighting spirit, fierce and arduous struggles of the African peoples, the majority of African countries gained their independence in the early 1960s. 

However, the hard-won political independence was obstructed by neo-colonialism manipulations giving no or little space for full economic independence. Poverty remained as it used to be. The pillaging of Africa’s resources and the economic domination and cultural and social subjugation continued unabetted. This caused serious concern among genuine African leaders, politicians, activists and the people at large who fought for real transformational change. This had brought the second wave of Pan Africanism, a concern for true independence – political and economic independence where the peoples of Africa decide on their destinies and bear the fruits of change.   

The founding fathers of the Organization African Union (OAU) had a common resolute stand that unity was not an option but an essential and indispensable factor for full and complete independence of Africa. They raised aloof the slogan “Unity is Strength!”, the bedrock of Pan Africanism.  The then leaders of independent African sovereign states had realized three important points. First, they were convinced that political independence alone will not be a panacea to Africa’s deep-seated problems and multifarious challenges. Secondly, Africa cannot be free unless all Africans are free. Thirdly, they have realized that the two ideas can be realized if and only if Africa is united. All the points were accepted by all leaders and politicians who were committed for the wellbeing of Africans. The contentious kernel issue was, however, how and what form of unity should be instituted to advance the spirit of pan Africanism to a reality. 

On the issue of unity, two groups were formed with two ideas of thought. They were identified as the Monrovian Group, consisting seven countries, and Casablanca Groups, comprising 12 countries. The Monrovia Group, principally led by Kwame Nkrumah, opted for an immediate United States of Africa. The Casablanca Group chose a gradual process for one African state. All had ` a shared vision and one common dream – a dream for free, independent and developed Africa, which epitomizes nothing but Pan Africanism. Through hard and bitter struggles, leaders of the two groups and the rest succeeded in establishing the Organization of African Union in May1963, as a strong springboard for a united continent for Pan Africanism.

The OAU had discharged its historical responsibilities, albeit enormous challenges, in transforming the OAU to an ambitious umbrella of African Unity in 1991. This was realized with the ardent belief that the decolonization process, which signified the political role, had finished and the focus shall tend to its economic development.  

But, situations in Africa and the world at large today call for a new fresh political diagnosis. Situations have precipitated again pan Africanism which ascertain that the political work of Africa is unfinished. Some major factors have surfaced that usher in the rekindling of the 21st Pan Africanism. All signs are, per ce, related to the Ethiopian situation but glaringly African shared concerns. Africa’s continued dependency syndrome, the interference of the US and EU, the non-impartiality of the UN and its agencies, and the orchestrated fake news of the international media and the harbinger of the UN Security Council, all interconnected and coordinated are immediate causes for the resurrection of pan Africanism.   

Africa’s Dependency Syndrome

Africa has traversed through enormous trials and tribulations. A continent that was a cradle of rich civilizations and origin of man had been engulfed with different historic waves. Its devastations by colonialists, heroic struggles for independence, encroachments by neo-colonialism, its trapping by the ideological divisions of the then superpowers, its gains of political independence, the lull by globalization process and the continued political and economic domination by the few depict Africa’s mixed challenges and successes in the world’s various political arenas.  Africa throughout the years remain entangled with dependency syndrome imposed on it by obnoxious manipulations of the developed world. 

Apparently, Africa’s situation today unambiguously witness that the political work has never been finished. Africa is still fettered with enormous political, economic and social problems embroiled by external and internal factors. The historical enemies of Africa, colonialists and neocolonialists, have not ceased their sordid conspiracies against Africa. They have continued to undermine its peoples’ dignity, darken its rich civilizations and history, tarnish its images, plunder its natural resources, engage in brain drains and instigate internal havocs, disturbances and civil wars by sowing seeds of enmity, hatred, mistrust on ethnic lines by recruiting stooges. 

With the demise of the Cold War, Africa had hoped for a free, democratic, peaceful and prosperous world wherein justice and interdependence prevail through the new venue of globalization. Peace-loving and democratic forces the world over enjoyed the end of the Cold War not merely for the avoidance of two contradicting superpowers. Rather, it is because the world no more wanted to have playgrounds for superpowers; and not to have a single superpower to reign as all nations are equal. It is, rather, to have a world of interdependence and cooperation for the interest and benefit of mankind.

Interference in Internal Affairs

While the world had the whim for growing interdependence and interconnectedness of the modern world with the wheel of globalization process, the US and EU are turning back the wheel of history to unhealthy situations. They are encouraging their media networks to spread fake news, misinformation and disinformation. Through deliberate or so to say misguided by such intentional concoction, they are busily interfering in the internal affairs of countries. The current unholy alliances by some quarters against Ethiopia is a vivid and clear testimony. Most incomprehensible is their support to a terrorist organization that has devastated the country for three decades.  

Invariably, some quarters are prone to prescribe political ploys for Africa that they dislike for themselves. For instance, they do not allow ethnic based politics in their own territorial realms. Yet, they enjoy to have it in Africa. That is why they have supported and galvanized the TPLF since its birth to destabilize Ethiopia. The TPLF is a chosen flunky organization assigned to institute ethnic federalism so as to create propitious condition for destabilizing not solely Ethiopia but the immediate neighboring countries and Africa at large. They fill their coffins in the West and advance a backward, anti-democratic and anti-human policy that arrest the development of Africa.

When the time is ripe for correction by the Government and People of Ethiopia, they blindly stood on the side of the terrorists. To the dismay of Africans, democratic and peace-loving peoples of the world, the reproachment of the two brotherly countries of Ethiopia and Eritrea, the noble efforts of the Ethiopian Government for a peaceful, friendly and cooperative neighboring countries are loathed by certain quarters. They desired to see the disintegration of Ethiopia through, among others, supporting the terrorists’ criminal activities in the country. This is apprehended by other African countries as directed at Africa.

UN on the Path of the League of Nations

Following the interference of the US government and the EU, the UN and its agencies have followed suit. When the then president of USA, Mr. Trump instigated Egypt to bomb the Renaissance Dam, the UN was silent. When the Ethiopian government took measures on UN staff for their illegal activities against a sovereign state, the UN’s response was repulsive. It rather preferred to worry for the terrorists without uttering any word on the atrocities they committed against the Ethiopian people, including civilians suffering in areas of their control. 

The UN and its agencies have conspired in supporting the terrorist groups. Crimes of obstructing the humanitarian aid, using aid trucks for war purpose and looting humanitarian aids stuff, the brutal inhumane measures against innocent civilians do not worry them. They are complacent with the terrorist groups by providing satellite phones, medicines and other information vital for the terrorists. 

The UN Human Rights Council has tried to politicize the Ethiopian situation by organizing an inappropriate meeting. This was made in defiance of the advice of the Ethiopian government and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. Instead of informing its members about the result of the joint report it made with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission; and instead of doing its mandated tasks through the proper channel, it resorted to politicize its agenda of interference.

The UN Security Council has been unabashedly engaged in calling meetings on Ethiopia on same agenda more than dozen times. This is ridiculous and absurd. The agenda that could not cross an inch due to the principled stand of China, Russia, India and Kenya was tabled repeatedly indicating the Security Council is idle and enjoys interference for meeting purposes and to find loopholes for destabilizing Ethiopia. 

All this shows the UN’s non-impartiality and unprincipled stand repeating the mistakes of the League of Nations. African leaders well remember the words of Emperor Haile Selassie’s remark to the collaborators of the Fascists. He said, “Today, it is us, tomorrow it is you”. It did happen soon to those who ignored Ethiopia’s urge. Likewise, what is happening on Ethiopia is to happen on all African countries. Consequently, African leaders have revibrated the call for the AU to have a permanent seat at the Security Council. The Security Council shall cease arm twisting and make decisions the usual way in an affront to the 1.4 billion African peoples. The criteria for permanent membership at the Security Council shall no more be military power. People are more powerful than any stockpiles of armaments in the arsenals of nations. The erstwhile concepts of might is right has to be changed. Even when might right is taken, that might be not the military but the people. Otherwise, the UN’s fate will be that of the League of Nations. 

This overall situation has become an immediate cause for Africa’s revival of Pan Africanism, a third wave movement. It is the right time to voice aloud and work towards realizing the aspirations of Kwame Nkrumah for a United States of Africa. Ethiopians in the diaspora have risen up in unison against the forces posed to destabilize Ethiopia. Through such remarkable movements in different parts of the world, a young Ethiopia journalist residing in the US, Hermela Aregawi, has come up with a #NoMore motto, which Ethiopians, Africans, Jamaicans and democratic and peace-loving forces have acclaimed.  This spirit of pan Africanism is growing day by day. The rebirth of pan Africanism is a must and should be alive until the wishes of Africa are met. 

The Ethiopian people have resolutely stood and reinvigorated their forefathers’ determination to pay every sacrifice in defense of their Motherland. Learning from the bitter history of the League of Nations’ betrayal, the Ethiopian people feel same way to the UN and turn to their brothers and sons of Africa to stand together to crumble the sinister orchestrations of the UN and its agencies. They have made a clarion call for a fundamental change in the UN structure, including the UN Security Council’s permanent membership. Africa is back now to finish its unfinished work – the realization of pan Africanism. The struggle continues until the third wave of pan Africanism takes root and bears its fruits. Hopefully, sooner or later, Pan Africanism will be a reality culminating in Africa’s self-reliance and self-development as well as immensely contributing to meaningful global integration, prevalence of peace, security, stability, political and socio-economic development, good governance and respect for human rights Truth and only truth shall prevail.


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