By: Paul Ogwal
As the AU held it’s latest summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe, warned that Africans are not as united as was expected by the founders of the AU’s predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, half a century ago.
Such was the dream of Muammar Gaddafi, an idealistic project that appeared to have died with the Libyan dictator, but has now been rekindled by the Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe.
“We really have not become integrated as an African people into a real union,” he said. “And this is the worry, which my brother has, and the worry I have; the worry, perhaps, others also have. That we are not yet at that stage which was foretold by our fathers when they created this organisation.”
Speaking in Harare after meeting Benin’s president, Thomas Boni Yayi, who is the outgoing African Union (AU) chairman, Mugabe argued that a figurehead is needed to move Africa beyond regional blocks and into the global super league.
“The continent of Africa: this is what we must become. And there, we must also have an African head”. He was talking of the president of Africa. Yes, we need one. We are not yet there.
The founding fathers had a vision of a continent united politically, economically and culturally,” he added.
“We are not there yet. As we stand here people will look at us, as me anglophone, him francophone, you see. There is also lusophone, but we are Africans first and foremost. Africans, Africans. Look at our skin.
Lindiwe Zulu, international relations adviser to South African president, Jacob Zuma, said: “I don’t foresee a single United States of Africa with a single president because we are so diverse politically and otherwise. It is very desirable in the long term but I don’t see it any time soon. There is a lot more to be done. We are still agonising over sovereignty.”
She added: “When you call for one president, you are calling for ministers to serve under them, one parliament and one legislative process. There are too many things that divide us on political, social and economic levels. We need to have a common agenda and approach to human rights and development before we can talk about one president. We need to deal with democracy on the continent and leaders who think beyond themselves.”
Richard Dowden, director of the Royal African Society, said: “The idea that one government could rule the whole of Africa at this stage is silly and unworkable. They need to build from the bottom economically rather than imposing a notion of unity from the top down; it’s absurd”.
“It is a dream of totalitarian fantasists, not the people. Africa is becoming increasingly local. I’m in Kenya at the moment and the forthcoming election is all about ethnic arithmetic.”
Original Story by The Guardian