On the occasion of Africa day 2020, we must introspect and ask bold questions on the status of the African citizen more than 5 decades since the founding of the Organization of African Unity ( now African Union).
Indeed, Africa’s independence is meaningless if it can’t be counted in terms of tangible advancement in the concrete social, economic and political reality of African citizens. The dividend of total political and economic emancipation is overdue to African citizens from all the sacrifices by those who fought for an independent Africa.
Our rallying motto at the Citizens Manifesto is the pursuit of a better society for all, driven on the wheels of self-activity by all in all things starting from the lowest strata of the public sphere going up to the pinnacle of national and continental governance.
The Covid-19 crisis has made the year 2020 one of the most challenging for the whole world, moreso for underdeveloped and developing Africa. The devastating pandemic has exposed in the most painful way, the glaring unfinished business of Africa’s liberation in the way it has unmasked weaknesses in state institutions and an inexcusable lack of attention to citizens’ most basic needs including healthcare, education, sanitation and social protection. The normalization of this abnormal reality is unacceptable and renders Africa day hollow.
Our message to compatriots and to the rest of Africa this year is to dare to change society for the better. Date to shape the future! What Covid-19 has challenged us to do is to do things differently. We can have a new normal. A new normal that is built around pillars of equality and social justice. As Africa we are blessed with abundant natural and human resources. Total, efficient, transparent and accountable domestic resource mobilization should be our compass as we emerge from the ashes of Covid-19 and rebuild a better society for all. Let us renew our commitment to a free, “integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa driven by its own citizens” as espoused in Agenda 2063.
We also posit that the African Union(AU) needs to promote principled pan-African solidarity based on promoting basic freedoms, anti-corruption, pro-poor economic progress, human rights observance and democratic consolidation. These principles which are already espoused in the various AU treaties and conventions, should move from paper to practice.
So indeed let us continue to celebrate, but like the duck let our feet be equally frantic under the water to maintain our balance.
Onwards to a truly emancipated Africa!