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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

Common citizenship

No independent African state today by itself has a chance to follow an independent course of economic development, and many of us who have tried to do this have been almost ruined or have had to return to the fold of the former colonial rulers. This position will not change unless we have a unified policy working at the continental level. The first step towards our cohesive economy would be a unified monetary zone, with, initially, an agreed common parity for our currencies. To facilitate this arrangement, Ghana would change to a decimal system.

When we find that the arrangement of a fixed common parity is working successfully, there would seem to be no reason for not instituting one common currency and a single bank of issue. With a common currency from one common bank of issue, we should be able to stand erect on our own feet because such an arrangement would be fully backed by the combined national products of the states composing the union. After all, the purchasing power of money depends on productivity and the productive exploitation of the natural, human and physical resources of the nation.

While we are assuring our stability by a common defence system, and our economy is being orientated beyond foreign control by a common currency, monetary zone, and central bank of issue, we can investigate the resources of our continent. We can begin to ascertain whether in reality we are the richest, and not, as we have been taught to believe, the poorest among the continents. We can determine whether we possess the largest potential in hydro-electric power, and whether we can harness it and other sources of energy to our industries. We can proceed to plan our industrialisation on a continental scale, and to build up a common market for nearly 300 million people. Common continental planning for the industrial and agricultural development of Africa is a vital necessity!

So many blessings flow from our unity; so many disasters must follow on our continued disunity. The hour of history which has brought us to this assembly is a revolutionary hour. It is the hour of decision. The masses of the people of Africa are crying for unity. The people of Africa call for the breaking down of the boundaries that keep them apart. They demand an end to the border disputes between sister African states – disputes that arise out of the artificial barriers raised by colonialism. It was colonialism’s purpose that divided us.

It was colonialism’s purpose that left us with our border irredentism, that rejected our ethnic and cultural fusion. Our people call for unity so that they may not lose their patrimony in the perpetual service of neo-colonialism. In their fervent push for unity, they understand that only its realisation will give full meaning to their freedom and our African independence. It is this popular determination that must move us on to a union of independent African states. In delay lies danger to our well-being, to our very existence as free states.

It has been suggested that our approach to unity should be gradual, that it should go piecemeal. This point of view conceives of Africa as a static entity with “frozen” problems which can be eliminated one by one and when all have been cleared then we can come together and say: “Now all is well, let us now unite.”

This view takes no account of the impact of external pressures. Nor does it take cognisance of the danger that delay can deepen our isolations and exclusiveness; that it can enlarge our differences and set us drifting further and further apart into the net of neo-colonialism, so that our union will become nothing but a fading hope, and the great design of Africa’s full redemption will be lost, perhaps, forever.

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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