NKRUMAH AND SOBUKWE SPEAKING FROM THEIR GRAVES

BY DR. MOTSOKO PHEKO

President Yoweri K. Museveni of Uganda has delivered an interesting paper at the 32nd Summit of the African Union Heads of State. This was in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 11 February 2019. Its title is Principles For Change: Africa’s Economic And Political Integration. It must be widely read, especially by the youth of Africa. It is attached hereto or posted.

For my part I am reminding that Museveni’s paper shows that the vision of two prominent Pan Africanists, namely Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and Dr. Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe refuses to die despite all kinds of excuses and sabotage.

From their graves in Accra and in Graaf-Reinet respectively; these two Pan Africanist giants and visionaries seem to be defiantly speaking of this liberatory, redemptive and necessary vision. This vision refuses to die. That is the vision of a United States of Africa, integrated politically and economically. These Pan Africanist giants paid the price for this vision. Nkrumah suffered an imperialist quo d’etat while Sobukwe suffered an endless imprisonment in Robben Island and suspected premature death through poisoning by the South African apartheid colonial regime. On this vision, let me use the words of these African leaders directly.

On the 4th of April 1959, Dr. Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe said, “We honour Ghana as the first independent state in modern Africa, under the courageous national leadership of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the Convention People’s Party… [which has]held out the vision of a democratic United States of Africa.

We regard it as the sacred duty of every African state to strive ceaselessly and energetically for the creation of a United States of Africa stretching from Cape to Cairo, Morocco to Madagascar.” Sobukwe added, “ I wish to make it clear that we are anti-nobody, We are pro-Africa. We dream Africa. We live Africa because Africa and humanity are inseparable.” Sobukwe uttered these words 60 years ago.

Much earlier Dr. Nkrumah the first President of Ghana said, “There is no time to waste. We must unite now or perish….We have already reached a stage where we must unite or sink.”

Africa has immense wealth and resources. There is hardly an agricultural product that cannot be produced on this great continent. And almost every kind of mineral is found in Africa: vanadium, chrome, cobalt, tantalum, platinum, oil, gold, diamond, iron etc. etc. Africa is blessed with three types of climate. They are temperate, tropical and mediterranean.

The paradox is that its African owners are among the poorest people in the world. Africa is the size of the following twelve European countries combined Britain, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Armenia, Albania, France, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and Belgium. Imperialist countries have made Africa their looting ground for many years through many forms such as slavery, colonialism, racism and neo-colonialism.

Congo became a Belgian colony as a result of the imperialist Berlin General Act of 26 February 1885. This was through which seven Western European countries stole the whole of Africa except for the Empire of Ethiopia. Thanks to the glorious victory of the Battle of Adwa on 1st March 1896 in which Empress Taitu played a very decisive role, in defeating the Italian colonial invaders.Of course Emperor Menelek 11 and Ras Makonnen the father of Emperor Haile SelassieI I were also present in this decisive victory for Africa.

The paper by President Yoweri R. Museveni attached or posted here is timely. It must result in action. Nkrumah and Sobukwe appealed to Africa on a United States of Africa long time ago and there has been only a suicidal movement on this slow pace to a United States of Africa. The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) did what it could. But the African Union seems to have reversed the gains of the OAU. Its agenda of now uniting Africa in 2063 is suicidal for Africa’s people. Sobukwe propagated a United States of Africa sixty years ago. Nkrumah who had already won independence for Ghana on 6th March 1957 advocated this earlier than this. He disliked this dragging of feet on this important matter of the survival of Africa’s people.

Dr. Nkrumah pointed out that: “Freedom is not a commodity which is ‘given’ to the enslaved upon demand. It is a precious reward, the shining trophy of struggle and sacrifice. Nor do the struggle and sacrifice cease with the attainment of [political] freedom. The period of servitude leaves behind tolls beyond what it has already taken. These are the cost of filling in the emptiness that colonialism has left. We have to guard closely our hard-won freedom and keep it safe from the predatory designs of those who wish to re-impose their will upon us.”

For his part Dr. Mangaliso Robert Sobukwe as a student in 1949 addressing graduating students at Fort Hare University in Azania (South Africa) said:

“Let me plead with you, lovers of Africa, to carry with you into the world a vision of a new Africa, an Africa re-born, an Africa rejuvenated, an Africa re-created, young Africa. We are the glimmers of a new dawn. And if we are persecuted for our views, we should remember, as the African saying goes, that it is darkest before dawn, and that the dying horse kicks most violently when it is dying….

Africa shall be free. The wheel of progress revolves relentlessly. And all the nations of the world take their turn at the field-glass of human destiny. Africa shall not re-retreat! Africa shall not compromise! Africa shall not relent. Africa shall not equivocate!. And she shall be heard! REMEMBER AFRICA!” said the man who later became the first President of the banned Pan Africanist Congress of Azania (South Africa) imprisoned in Robben Island not even with a mock trial. (Dr. Motsoko Pheko is a historian, political scientist, theologian, lawyer, researcher, author, former representative of the victims apartheid at the United Nations in New York and at the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland, Member of the South African Parliament for ten years. He has the distinction of a former freedom fighter who was imprisoned by two colonial regimes namely in South Africa and Rhodesia and detained by the Portuguese colonialists in Mozambique).

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