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“We must unite now or perish” – President Kwame Nkrumah

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“We must unite now or perish” – President Kwame Nkrumah

Instability and frustration

In independent Africa, we are already reexperiencing the instability and frustration which existed under colonial rule. We are fast learning that political independence is not enough to rid us of the consequences of colonial rule.

The movement of the masses of the people of Africa for freedom from that kind of rule was not only a revolt against the conditions which it imposed. Our people supported us in our fight for independence because they believed that African governments could cure the ills of the past in a way which could never be accomplished under colonial rule. If, therefore, now that we are independent we allow the same conditions to exist that existed in colonial days, all the resentment which overthrew colonialism will be mobilised against us.

The resources are there. It is for us to marshal them in the active service of our people. Unless we do this by our concerted efforts, within the framework of our combined planning, we shall not progress at the tempo demanded by today’s events and the mood of our people. The symptoms of our troubles will grow, and the troubles themselves become chronic. It will then be too late for pan-African unity to secure for us stability and tranquillity in our labours for a continent of social justice and material well-being.

Our continent certainly exceeds all the others in potential hydro-electric power, which some experts assess as 42% of the world’s total. What need is there for us to remain hewers of wood and drawers of water for the industrialised areas of the world? It is said, of course, that we have no capital, no industrial skill, no communications, and no internal markets, and that we cannot even agree among ourselves how best to utilise our resources for our own social needs. Yet all stock exchanges in the world are preoccupied with Africa’s gold, diamonds, uranium, platinum, copper and iron ore. Our capital flows out in streams to irrigate the whole system of Western economy. Fifty-two per cent of the gold in Fort Knox at this moment, where the USA stores its bullion, is believed to have originated from our shores.

Africa provides more than 60% of the world’s gold. A great deal of the uranium for nuclear power, of copper for electronics, of titanium for supersonic projectiles, of iron and steel for heavy industries, of other minerals and raw materials for lighter industries – the basic economic might of the foreign powers – comes from our continent.

Experts have estimated that the Congo Basin alone can produce enough food crops to satisfy the requirements of nearly half the population of the whole world, and here we sit talking about gradualism, talking about step by step. Are you afraid to take the bull by the horns?

For centuries, Africa has been the milch cow of the Western world. Was it not our continent that helped the Western world to build up its accumulated wealth? We have the resources. It was colonialism in the first place that prevented us from accumulating the effective capital; but we ourselves have failed to make full use of our power in independence to mobilise our resources for the most effective take-off into thorough-going economic and social development.

We have been too busy nursing our separate states to understand fully the basic need of our union, rooted in common purpose, common planning and common endeavour. A union that ignores these fundamental necessities will be but a sham. It is only by uniting our productive capacity and the resultant production that we can amass capital. And once we start, the momentum will increase. With capital controlled by our own banks, harnessed to our own true industrial and agricultural development, we shall make our advance.

We shall accumulate machinery and establish steel works, iron foundries and factories; we shall link the various states of our continent with communications by land, sea, and air. We shall cable from one place to another, phone from one place to the other and astound the world with our hydro-electric power; we shall drain marshes and swamps, clear infested areas, feed the under-nourished, and rid our people of parasites and disease.

10 responses to ““We must unite now or perish” – President Kwame Nkrumah”

  1. A very historic opportunity that slid by and changed the spiral of African progress downwards.
    It was clear at the time that irrespective of whether their people wanted so or not, some of the leaderships of the African chunks of lands that had been moulded as states or countries were not ready to add their pieces of lands (and the resources thereof) to make the greater whole as was being advocated by Nkrumah and others.
    Those people were not needed at that historic meeting because they were anti-unity and known collaborators of the former colonialists.
    Some present African governments are also anti-African unity, known puppets/collaborators of the west/former colonists. We should not rely on them when deciding continental matters. We should make this known to them.
    The success of the quest for African unity lies with the African (and African descent) masses. The leaderships of the masses (not the governments) must seize the opportunity and rally the masses behind them to push forward the agenda and realize it.

  2. Author Thumbnail Joatham Devine says:

    This is a utopian fantasy at best the power and autonomy of African States could never be achieved within the limited scope of economic resources and political solidarity!!!!!! The European powers exist solely because they can project force of arms globally without fear of any serious resistance from the victims of its imperialism!!!!!!! Until the African states amass the military power to confront or overcome this fact their union would be laughable in the face of ruthless force being the ultimate contractual negotiator of independence!!!!!! When the war machine is sent to collect the booty who will stand to prevent this in real time!!!!!!! All the resources in the world without the industry of war machines superior to those who threaten your freedom is a waste of human energy on this planet in the context of out time!!!!!!!!!

    • Author Thumbnail Kwamena says:

      No doubt, you are of the same sort as the imperialists and would consider this fantasy. If everyone reasoned linearly like you do ancient Egypt would still be supreme today. But what do we see? The Chinese who were so lowly decades ago, subject even to tiny Japan, seem to be on your backs and you cannot shake them off.

      • Author Thumbnail Ceaser Chembezi says:

        Indeed. If there is a people who need to walk up straight on this planet are African. We can and we will revive the glory of our ancestor.

    • Author Thumbnail Ceaser Chembezi says:

      This is not an utopia. What we need is the political will. We did not have a great standing military force during the era of fighting for independence. If we decide on what we want, there will not be a western country to come here and make war with us.
      We have failed because we have not chosen to decide on this. If anything we have acted in solitude. This was the case with Burkina Faso with Thomas Sankara.

      Where were other African states when Libya was attacked? We all stood aside. The challenge that we have to tackle is to release ourselves of who things
      1. Mental Slavery/ colonization
      2. Economic slavery

      These chains are the ones killing us.

  3. Author Thumbnail Edmond Marcel says:

    everyone knows the problems of Africa and the african people everywhere there are, everyone knows what needs to be done. But how do you get someone who is sleeping, who is brainwashed, who is under drug, who thinks that there is no solution, who says ‘if you can’t defeat them joins them even if they are rapping your mum how do you get them to stand up, not to march the streets, not to shout but silently get together to think together design a plan and work and educate the children to carry on, how do you do that! bcause this thing can’t be done in one life time. The caucass hasn’t done anything wrong, he is fighting to survive, if you know his history, where and how he started, you will understand his behaviour.China didn’t shout, complain, China accepted the humiliation, the suffering and silently and together started to work hard, very hard and today, oh yes today…..Look at all those murdered, malcom, n’kruma….Lumumba, they all made the same mistake of trying to solve a problem, you don’t have a problem to solve bcause its limited, you have a destiny to design, but here is not exactly the place to go any further…

    • Author Thumbnail Kwamena says:

      That’s true. But on a continent as diverse linguistically and separated by distance as Africa, how do you champion a cause without “shouting”? “Shouting” was not the undoing of our independence. The undoing is a more pertinent issue you mention – mentally-challenged and brain-washed “leaders” like Houphet Boigny and Senghor who preferred to loiter about Paris in wonderment at the “european” than to roll-up their sleeves and work for their own people.

      Of course, Nkrumah could have been politically wiser instead of directly confronting the west, simply because the west had too much power. Nkrumah’s loss was the greatest loss to Africa in the past 100 years. With leaders like him, Sankara, Mugabe, Lumumba, DuBois, and Malcolm X, we as Africans would have found our true identity in this world and be able to assert ourselves as Africans. How far from the goal of independence we have fallen – Spineless parasites on our own continent, off our on resources.

      • Author Thumbnail Sort Cobra says:

        Respect and brotherhood is the first step to take inorder to take the path of African fraternity and uniting their powers.
        That is lacking badly now. Look at what Ethiopia is dowing to Somalia and the somalis!!! destroying the country massacring its people!!! will that unite Africa???

  4. Author Thumbnail Kwamena says:

    Obviously, the majority of president’s then, as today, had not overcome their petty tribal prejudices, even as we see today all over Black Africa, and could not interpret the new global context

    into which the newly independent countries had been thrust. It was no longer Ibo against Yoruba or Hausa in the West, or Oromo against Amhara in the East; This gathering as if impervious to the

    consciousness movements in both the Francophone and Anglophone Americas, and even to the immediately passing experience of physical colonialism; these narrow-minded and less than insightful

    “leaders”, the majority of whom were carefully groomed by the colonial governments, were incapable of perciving any theat from the european countries or being true representatives of their people.

    Regardless that only in aggresive unity lay the future of the young continent, that is why it did not engender much support from the like of Houphet Boigny.

    The embarrassing lack of insight into the painful history of colonialism by those who put forth themselves as our leaders, which colonialism was still fresh in the minds of the masses of the

    continent, the lack of foresight and the wisdom of the polity chosen by this gathering is very stork today.

    Todays much touted African union is an affront to the ordinary people of Africa and is only a gathering of egocentric pretenders who, only through the general global social ignorance of the African

    electorate, come to power: the AU is without any practical vision and, unfortunately, also a gradualist approach, because after over 10 years of its formation it is doubtable that it is much

    different from the previous organization.

    Where do we see the “renaissance” frequently bandied about when the AU was being formed? Do we see a common African strategy for all the major production centers on the continent from textiles, to

    agriculture for our basic necessities (which we now import from all over the world rather than produce from the vast resources at our disposal), to industrial raw materials which we ship to the EU,

    US, BRIC, and Japan for a pittance, to precious earth minerals we ship all over the world? Are these areas of production not still controlled by foreign interests? Even worse, they are now in the

    hands of Chinese and Indian corporations, as well, who were as colonized as we were about 80 years ago.

    The evidence of the inefficacy of the AU is clear:

    1. there is more division amongst African countries now than at independence, and an even stronger hegemony by Europe and America on our economic affairs than at independence.

    2. The AU stood by idly watching whiles Laurent Gbagbo was arrested by the French, has idly stood by while china and india present a new neo-colonialist threat and has indeed welcomed such foreign

    intiatives as “dvelopment asistance.” It seems we never learn that africa is never seen i practice as a partner in economics by any country but a region to be exploited to support foreign political

    and economic agendas.

    3. Individual African countries cherish their ties to European countries more than their ties to the constituents of the AU, cherish their budgetary support from “development partners” in Europe

    and US and Japan more than they are willing to use their own internal resources to work independently of these powers, and persistently disrepect the political rights of their contitunts whiles the

    African Union stands by trumpting a democratic agenda as the foundation for a future African renaissance.

    Regardless of the above it is time we black africans recognized that the continent as a whole can never be united into one multi-racial polity as is vainly imagined today by the AU. We share no

    common political or social or economic bond with the Arab north of the continent. It is shallow thinking and foolish to imagine that we can forge such a union when the Arabs show more importance to

    the Arab league than they do to Africa. The situation of the former Sudan is a stark illustration that Afro-Arab relationships are only imagined by those who are very idealistic. The Arabs in

    Africa were also instruments of Colonialism and slavery which, if these were the same reasons for rejection of European domination, then it is right to reject any such unions with Arabs. we can

    have no unity with any whose hands are as bloodied as the European colonizer and slaver. Let us be brutally frank that the current AU is misconceived, lacks any useful direction, and cannot achieve

    any meaningful objective unless there is a radical shift in dogma and pratice to coopt all black africans on the continent and in the diaspora into the AU because, foremost, the inspiration and

    intellectual force behind Black Pride and our independence movements did not come from the continent but in the Americas! Amongst the likes of Marcus Garvey and WEB DuBois. These have a heritage in our continent us much as we do. Political power, economic power can only begin when we begin to be conscious of our identity in this world, and realize that we need to be one in purpose and planning with our brothers across the Atlantic and all over the world.

  5. Author Thumbnail paul darko says:

    It’s not too late, we still have the opportunity to unite. Nkrumah wasn’t just a freedom fighter but a unifier and a prophet as well

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