Africa urged to pursue the interests of its people

Posted: May 13, 2013 in Governance
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The Executive Director of the Mapungubwe Institute (MISTRA), Joel Netshitenzhe

The Executive Director of the Mapungubwe Institute (MISTRA), Joel Netshitenzhe

The Executive Director of the Mapungubwe Institute (MISTRA), Joel Netshitenzhe, on Thursday urged leaders in Africa to be inspired by the need to pursue the interests of peoples in the continent.While pursuing that, Mr. Netshitenzhe, again, encouraged them to ensure the kind of diversity that transcends the erstwhile relations of colonialism and neo-colonialism, and strive hard ‘to rebuff external efforts to divide, dominate and rule.’

‘Improvement in the condition of life of Africa’s people should entail attention to all aspects of human rights – political, economic, social, environmental and informational,’ noted Mr. Netshitenzhe.

The Executive Director of the Mapungubwe Institute made this observation on Thursday, when presenting a report dubbed ‘Towards Agenda 2063: A Pan-African Renaissance in the next 50 years?’ on the floor of the Pan-African Parliament.

Commenting further, he said the Pan-African renaissance would not come on its own accord, since it required foresight in leadership, activism of society, and renaissance of Africa’s ‘think industry’.

To this end, he entreated the African Union (AU) to play a more active role, particularly, through bodies such as the AU Commission and the Pan-African.

The above-mentioned bodies, he noted, could work in partnership with civil society organisations to serve as critical continental thought-leaders, facilitators, and monitors in the continent’s pursuit for economic advancement in the next 50 years.

According to Mr. Netshitenzhe, since the birth of the AU, formerly, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), 50 years ago, the continent had witnessed lots of progress.

He said in most regions of the continent, peace and stability had been attained, with South Africa, the last bastion of colonial domination, being liberated.

Debilitating conflicts in countries such as Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Sudan, Sierra Leone and Liberia have been resolved, whereas, a new crop of leadership had emerged; capable states being built and democracy, and citizen participation improved in most African countries.

He said despite this improvement, there were insidious factors still inhibiting faster growth. Among the factors, he noted, include, issues of identity and control of resources that drive recurrent conflicts in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and the Central African Republic.

Added to this failure, according to Mr. Netshitenzhe, was the failure to extend formal democracy to embrace genuine inclusivity, which, for instance, was nibbling at the outcome of the ‘Arab Spring’ in Tunisia and Egypt.

But, going forward in the next 50 years, the Executive Director of MISTRA said a human-centered approach to all the strategies being pursued was the key.

His presentation was immediately followed by a debate on the floor. B. B. Dumbuya of Sierra Leone, in a sharp response, said there was the need for Africa to have a common force to combat some of the unsavoury problems confronting the continent.

He prayed to his colleagues and the Pan-African Parliament to use the 50 th Anniversary celebration of the AU to pay tribute to known political faces like the late Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Nelson Mandela, and others who had played a meaningful role in shaping the continent.

‘The name of Kwame Nkrumah should be written in gold in all the books of Africa,’ he noted.

Dominic Nitiwul of Ghana, in his response, said the Vision 2063 the continent had ascribed to pursuit was too long, and appealed for the years to be sub-divided into 10 years apiece, where achievements attained could be measured.

’50 years is a very long time. 50 years ago, China and the rest of the Asian Tigers were far below Africa in terms of development. But, today, it looks like they are 100 years ahead of us. I believe we should sub-divide this 50 years vision into 10 years vision, and have measurable benchmarks that we can measure ourselves into,’ he noted.

For instance, he said, for the next 10 years, African leaders must ensure that free movement of goods and services being pursued across the continent were attained. He also proposed the establishment of an African Court in another 10 years, ‘and see whether that target could be achieved.’

Another Ghanaian legislator, Alhaji Mohammad Muntaka Mubarak, in a contribution to the debate, was critical about the divisions in the continent since the formation of the AU, a situation he attributed to the guerilla tactics of the west.

‘Fifty years down the line, all the languages spoken in Africa, apart from Swahili, were left behind by the west. They made us believe that we are Francophone and Anglophone. The divisions in the continent will not help the progress that we are seeking for,’ Alhaji Muntaka lamented.

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