‘Africa must ensure every inch of Africa and Palestine is liberated’

We commend African leaders for condemning corruption and openly describing it as ‘cancer’ that is destroying African economies, writes Dr Mustafa Mheta

As we celebrate 58 years since the formation of the Organization of the African Union (OAU), there is a need to take stock of where we are coming from and where we are going as a continent and a people.

The changing of the name “Organization of African Union” (OAU) to African Union (AU) seem to have brought a change in Africa’s policy direction altogether. Or is it a case of throwing away the baby with the bathing water?

We are beginning to see policy inconsistencies or rather changes to reflect in most cases, policies that serve the interests of our former colonizers rather than our own interests. This is reflected in our politics and economics.

On the political front, this is true when one looks at what is going on in the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic where Morocco is still holding on and denying their independence. We all know very well what happened at the AU and all those compromises that brought Morocco into the fold of the AU. We also know too well where the pressure to accept Morocco came from.

Ironically, while Morocco illegally occupies Western Sahara, Morocco itself continues to allow Spain to occupy the two enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.

The African continent should flex its muscle and end the continued colonisation of an African nation by a fellow African country. Currently, Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic is the only African country which is still under foreign occupation.

Many people across the continent lament the fact that there is need to put maximum effort towards total independence in the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic on the continent, and Palestine which still remains under the Zionist oppression.

“As we celebrate Africa Day, we celebrate the liberation of the continent and the commitment that Africa’s independence would not be complete, unless and until all the African countries and Palestine were free from colonial rule”.

“This objective is almost achieved but has not been fully achieved because we still have Western Sahara, the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic which is still under colonial occupation. The irony of the colonial occupation is that the occupying power is another African country, Morocco, something which was never imagined in the heyday of the African Liberation struggle”.

Independence

Africa Day is an extremely important day on Africa’s calendar as it is all about independence. Perhaps it’s about time we ask this question: Why does South Africa not mark this day as a very important day on its calendar?

To underline this, the organisation set up the African Liberation Committee which was based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, whose main task was to mobilise support for the Liberation Movement on the African continent.

There is need to accelerate intra-African trade to boost the continent’s trading position in the global market by strengthening Africa’s common voice and policy space in global trade negotiations.

It is a day that we recall, the journey that we have travelled over the years. Africa went through one of the most terrible periods in its history when our fathers and mothers were forcibly taken away as slaves to the Americas, many perished on the way even after slavery has been banned, Africans never enjoyed equal status with their European counterparts.

Immediately after the banning of slavery, the Berlin Conference took place and Europe partitioned Africa. It took several years of bitter African struggle to liberate the rest of Africa. As we speak only Western Sahara is still under colonial rule. Otherwise, the rest of Africa is now free. The dream that our founding fathers of Africa always had was to form a united Africa with a single governing authority.

As Africa we need to appreciate a number of things. Africa is still compromised by its dependency on its former masters, particularly on financial dependency, on the issues of the models of economic systems, how to run the economic systems. There is, therefore, a need to come up with our own homegrown economic systems that will work for our continent just as China has done.

On the market structures front, even of natural resources, we will find that some arrangements have created unfair leverage on African administrative purposes such that the ability for Africa to move forward in the thrust that it wants becomes very compromised.

We still have Western governments finding a way of influencing the direction of policies in Africa, finding a way of financing political activities in Africa and ways of initiating conflicts with the ultimate purpose of causing confusion. The neo-colonialism mentality is definitely still there.

We commend African leaders for condemning corruption, openly describing it as cancer that is destroying African economies.

We call upon all progressive forces on the continent to ensure that as we celebrate this very important day, we should never forget our Palestinian brothers and sisters, who by the way, have always been our comrades in arms right from the inception of the Africa Liberation Committee. Viva Africa! Viva Palestine!

*Dr Mustafa Mheta is a Senior Research Fellow/Head of Africa Desk, Media Review Network SA

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