The Pan-African Parliament (PAP) today celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), a predecessor to the African Union (AU), by reflecting on how far the continent has come and how much more still needs to get done.
Opening the programme of the day was Hon. Amina Souna, the Chairperson of PAP Committee on Education, Culture, Tourism and Human Resource who gave context to this significant occasion we call Africa Day.
“On the 25th of May 1963, 32 African leaders gathered in Addis Ababa Ethiopia and charted the way forward for the continent’s collective progress. Today celebrates the day our leaders gave a new vision for our continent, that of unity, prosperity and the eradication of all forms of colonialism in Africa,” she said.
Hon. Souna said that Africa Day also acknowledges the achievements of the AU since its inception and the positive impact it has had on the lives of Africans. She also gave members direction on how they can further advance PAP’s program as an organ of the AU. “As we celebrate Africa Day, I urge you to lobby our governments to rapidly implement Agenda 2063 – the Africa We Want, in order to improve the lives of the people we represent,” she said.
Agenda 2063 is Africa’s blueprint and master plan for transforming Africa into the global powerhouse of the future. It is the continent’s strategic framework that aims to deliver on its goal for inclusive and sustainable development and is a concrete manifestation of the Pan-African drive for unity, self-determination, freedom, progress and collective prosperity pursued under Pan-Africanism and African Renaissance.
Reawakening the spirit of the AU founding fathers at the PAP Africa Day celebrations today was Prof. Patrick Lumumba, Director of Kenya School of Law who named some of the most inspired and inspiring leaders of the continent who mapped the way for Africa’s prosperity.
Prof. Lumumba reflected on the history and vision that the continents leaders and people had for Africa and called on PAP members to allow this 60th Year of the Anniversary of the AU to be its Pentecost.
In the Christian Faith, Pentecost is the beginning of the Christian church’s mission to the world. He advised the PAP members to lobby their governments to ensure legislative powers for the organisation.
“We have to ask ourselves that an institution such as yours, in the current way that it has been instituted, does it really drive the spirit of Pan-Africanism. I think you are a beginning and I see the PAP as the early days, the embryotic stages of moving towards a more demographic representation of Africans within Africa. Today, many of your deliberations do not bind any country. To the extent that they don’t, they undermine the very value that you can add to the African agenda.
“Let the spirit of Pan-Africanism be sent into your hearts and minds, wherever you are from, go back to your country and tell your president you want more power for the Pan-African Parliament,” he said.
Prof. Lumumba ended his speech saying that Africa can be great and that PAP can be instrumental in creating an environment that will energise the African agenda.
“Africa can rise. And we must remember these immortal words of Kwame Nkrumah, ‘We may have differences, but we must never emphasise those difference, we must de-emphasise them, because our diversity is a cultural mosaic which if we use well, it is the symphony that will create the music of Pan-Africanism and Africans will be a people who are respected in the world’,” he said.
Closing today’s celebration was PAP’s 2nd Vice President Hon. Dr Ashebiri Gayo saying that he would like for the PAP to celebrate next year’s Africa Day having resolved some of the organisation’s stumbling blocks.
“How are we going to celebrate Africa Day in 2024? I would like for us to have legislative powers as a continental organisation. I would like for us to have free movement in Africa, that issue has to be resolved. We also need to have achieved the free trade area matter,” he concluded.