African Liberation Day; are we still on course?

Stephen Asiimwe

What you need to know:

We salute our heroes of Independence who were full of ideas, mobilized fellow Africans through writing, trainings for the betterment of our continent.

May 25th is African Liberation Day (ALD), the day that honors the signing of the Charter that established the Organization of African Unity (OAU) on May 25, 1963, now renamed African Union (AU).

It is the day that Africans continue to pledge their solidarity for the liberation of Africa, our forefathers, the heroes of the Independence struggle from the Diaspora, people like Padmore, Marcus Garvey, Dr. W .E Dubois struggled for African Independence in the diaspora, they organized and mobilized a number of compatriots and heroes who participated in the African Congress in Manchester in 1945 the likes of Kwame Nkurumah, Sekou Toure, Nyerere, Jomo Kenyatta, A’bdu Nasser, Kenneth Kauda and many others from the continent participated in the liberations and later moved to liberate countries beginning with Ghana in 1957, later in December 1958 Kwame Nkurumah convened the All African Peoples Conference (AAPC) to discuss Pan Africanist issues among them a United States of Africa

The conference was chaired by Tom Mboya, the Secretary General of Kenya Federation of labor, was the first one of its kind on African soil and brought together Black delegates from all over the World, Nkurumah used it as a platform to outline his bold and passionate vision of one powerful United states of Africa, in his opening speech, he stated that there was a burning desire among African people to establish a community of their own, we further hope that this coming together will evolve eventually to a union of African states, just as the original 13 American colonies developed into 49 states (by then) constituting the American Society she said.

One of the resolutions passed at the end of the conference called upon the Independent nations to lead the people towards achieving a United States of Africa, according to Nkurumah, it was through Africans coming together in a union that they could guard their freedom and avert the greed and avarice of Imperial powers, during the period the push for one United Africa was met with mixed results.

The formation of the Organization of African Union on May 25, 1963 appeared to be a step in the right direction. In his address Nkurumah warned “ If we let this grand and historic opportunity slip by then we shall give way to greater desertion and division among us for which the people of Africa will never forgive us”.

Therefore, as we celebrate the African Liberation Day, so far OAU now African Union must have received a forest of “Insults” for doing “nothing” most especially on democracy, poverty alleviation, conflicts, and wars that have not stopped in Africa, however many of the criticisms are understandable each if not all of them were deserved because our heroes formed OAU for twin purposes, of finishing anti-colonial struggle of the 1960s and also uniting Africans.

It was successful on the liberation front in many countries and the last was South Africa in 1994, Bravo to comrade Julius Nyerere who led the frontline states and we salute our comrades who supported the liberation of South Africa. The contribution of the Uganda government led by Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is well documented, who helped South Africa from the racist settler regime of Apartheid led by Declerk and his cronies. The African Union should be a symbol of how Africa has fared in the past six decades, assuming that Imperialism and Neocolonialism has drastically reduced on the continent.

The African Union should stand as an affirmation of the Independence, freedom and progress on the continent. Those who run the affairs of the African Union should account to Africans, wherever they are in the world, how the continent has fared politically, economically, culturally, and socially.

The African Union Agenda 2063 with seven pillars, should be fully implemented so that Africans can start recovering from the psychological torture created by the slave trade, colonialism and imperialism, otherwise, the Africans will continue referring to Africa Union as “a lame duck” The Agenda should be concrete and be able to improve people’s livelihoods, we cannot remain in the current situation of exporting primary commodities that are detrimental to economic development and undermines our ambition for greater Integration and prosperity.

We salute our heroes of Independence who were full of ideas, mobilized fellow Africans through writing, trainings for the betterment of our continent. As Kwame Nkurumah said “Backward Never Forward Ever”

Mr Stephen Asiimwe is a Pan Africanist.