Africa Day has lost meaning

Source: Africa Day has lost meaning – DailyNews Live

25 May 2017

HARARE – Today was supposed to be a significant day for Zimbabwe and
indeed for Africa as a whole in celebrating the continent’s uniqueness and
dreams of its founding fathers, but that has not been the case.

Most African governments have nothing to celebrate or be proud of on
Africa Day as the continent’s political leadership has failed to take
advantage of the liberalisation of the political system and the growth of
democracy on the continent to come up with a strong Pan-Africanist body.

The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was established in 1963 due to
rising Pan Africanism shortly after the Second World War, and was created
to promote unity and solidarity among African States as well as to rid the
continent of colonisation and apartheid.

Critics believe that the establishment of the OAU was such an important
point in the continent’s history that the date of its creation is
celebrated as Africa Day.

However, celebrating the Day has become meaningless over time, as
democracy has remained a pipe dream as those in power have gravitated
towards self-aggrandisement at the expense of the majority.

The African Union, which replaced the OAU in 2001, has failed to stop the
continent from bleeding, as wars and epidemics continue to ravage our
beloved countries while those entrusted to lead turn a blind eye.

In most countries across the continent, former freedom fighters have
turned into selfish tyrants – interested only in the primitive
accumulation of wealth and retaining power at all costs.

Like most progressive Africans, we advocate for a new system that requires
African people to control their governments and that issues of financial
planning and budgeting are discussed in the villages, townships and cities
across the continent.

What is required is a departure from the current retrogressive politics in
most African States where the leadership has taken – to cultural
proportions – the tendency to turn their backs on the people as soon as
they take office.

There is now an urgent need to create new democratic institutions to
strengthen popular participation and representation.

Parliamentary democracy on its own is not enough – it must be supplemented
with and strengthened by other popular institutions and associations like
the local governments, civic movements, independent workers, women,
student and youth organisations, assemblies or organisations for the
environmental concerns and for minority rights, and so forth.

A new leadership must ensure this is the dominant political culture, with
enough flexibility to allow for changes when they are needed to strengthen
and further consolidate that culture.