Uhuru’s Pan-African agenda deserves support
It was gratifying to hear President Uhuru Kenyatta addressing himself to the nauseating plight of African immigrants who perish in the Mediterrenean Sea every day en route to Europe in pursuit of greener pastures.
Europe and America are pushing to close their doors to immigrants and it is only fair that African leaders resolutely tackle challenges bedevilling the continent. They must create space for every aspect of democracy and economic growth, which will assure residents of prosperity.
Addressing the 42nd conference of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity in Nairobi last week, Uhuru observed: “I really want to reiterate from one pan-Africanist to several in this room, let us work together for our unity.
It is very sad, it is very disheartening to see our sons and daughters struggle, lose life crossing the Mediterranean, being humiliated in foreign lands because we cannot get together and grow our own prosperity and provide employment, a future and hope for them...But I do believe that together with our African brothers and sisters, we can find the answer.”
Uhuru could not have put it better. He spoke on behalf of hundreds of millions of people on the continent who do not have a privileged platform and voice like his.
That he stepped up to the plate and confronted a sensitive subject which his counterparts on the continent dare not touch is encouraging.
Majority of African countries attained independence between 55 and 70 years ago. This is sufficient time for the continent to have charted its own path amid the challenging global geopolitics.
Unfortunately, it has not. Africa still sits on the periphery at all fora where important decisions of far-reaching social, political and economic ramifications of international impact are made and executed.
Each year, thousands of African migrants brave the harsh conditions of the Sahel and the Sahara aiming to reach Europe, with hope for a better life.
It turns out not to be; some drown in canoes and boats while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
Others who do not make it after failing to pay smugglers are held in squalid militia-controlled dungeons, while those who make it across the sea end up as prostitutes and casual labourers in circumstances not dissimilar to slavery.
For far too long now, Africa has taken a back seat on matters affecting its own people and left the Western capitals—and in recent times the Far East—to solve its problems.
Yet African heads of state converge under the auspices of the African Union (AU) annually to discuss the continent’s challenges and achievements.
Strangely, the issue of illegal migration and repression from the affected countries do not feature. Such matters are left for the West to find solutions. Those whose shoes pinch most elect to remain mute.
Time is now for Africa to stand up. Leaders must change the AU from a mere talk-shop into a serious caucus of reasonable men and women to lay strong foundations for the future of the continent.
Which is why President Uhuru must be lauded for sticking out his neck to boldly speak about this menace.
He should be encouraged to take this agenda to his colleagues at continental gatherings.
Since becoming President, Uhuru has shown a convincing desire and determination to engage the rest of Africa on matters of Pan-Africanism, culture and free movement of people, goods and commodities for the common good of each and every State.
He should not shy away from taking the baton if only - as it should - earn Africa the respect and dignity it deserves in the eyes of the world. - The author is a Revise Editor at the People Daily newspaper—[email protected]