OAU and Western penetration efforts

OAU and Western penetration efforts
  • PublishedMay 3, 2013

Nkrumah’s Plan B

In fact, Nkrumah had taken the defeat in Addis Ababa as a battle lost but not the war. He continued to fight, after the formation of the OAU, for the strong African unity project of his dreams by trying to reach out directly to the people of Africa over the heads of their unwilling leaders. On 19 July 1964, 14 months after the founding of the OAU, Nkrumah gave a speech on African unity in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, in which he warned that the “gradualism via regional groupings” approach that had won the day in Addis Ababa on 25 May 1963, would eventually destroy the African unity project. “We cannot, therefore, afford to let the warning clearly illustrated by the East African Federation go unheeded,” Nkrumah said. “If, in the short period of the independence of the East African states, the careers and ambitions of political leaders are already strong enough to delay a regional grouping, how much more will every year’s delay make a continental union impossible of realisation? Not only the careers of ministers, but thousands of entrenched bureaucratic posts will raise formidable barriers against the establishment of a Union Government.”

And so it turned out – until the OAU was retired in 2002 by a new generation of African leaders who were mere saplings at the time the great war for the soul of Africa raged between Nkrumah and his radical colleagues on one side, and Tubman, Abubakar and Nyerere and the others on the other.

In June 2002, the OAU’s place was taken by a brand new African Union (AU) which has even grander aims and objectives. But looking at the lie of the land, a Union Government of Africa as advocated by Nkrumah will never materialise in the lifetime of many African generations to come. In fact, it is safe to say a Union Government of Africa is an idea that is dead in the water. “Gradualism” and “regionalism” will continue to hold sway, and African leaders will continue to use them as a smokescreen for doing nothing about closer integration of the continent.

Written By
New African

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