UNION GOVERNMENT FOR AFRICA: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES.
A union government, a concept long envisaged by some Pan-Africanist such as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, has once again become a catch word for our contemporary world. Pan-Africanism, which was spearheaded mostly by people in the diaspora, such as George Padmore, Marcus Gavey and a lot more, was a movement to liberate Africans from the shackles of their colonial masters and this was built on three pillars which were; i. Shared historical and cultural values.
ii. Collective self-reliance and self-sufficiency and
iii. Political freedom.
In reference to these pillars, the interaction between the movement and the political leaders led to the struggle for independence in the whole of Africa and of which the search for unity and collective integration was part of it. Since independency, the need for African unity both political and economic has become a powerful force for the Africa Continent. According to S.K.B Asante (2007), it is generally believed that the only way to achieve the economic reconstruction and development essential to fulfill the aspirations, needs and demands of the people of Africa is through a “sustained shift to continental planning, so as to unite increasingly the resources, markets and capital of Africa in a single substantial economic and political unit”. Ever since the thought of de-colonization cropped up in the minds of African leaders, a lot of efforts have being made towards addressing their political and social challenges but have chalked little success. This is due mainly to enormous hindrances such as lack of good governance, pockets of conflicts that have raided most of Africa, the anarchical structure of the overall international economic system and many more. These have affected the African Continent so much that it has become almost impossible to compete economically with the other continents. In order for Africa to boost its economy and to improve on development, African leaders have sought for the need to integrate and act collectively and this has accounted for the sudden shift towards the attainment of a United States of Africa. This is what Nkrumah envisaged when he said that “Africa must unite, or disintegrate individually.” (Nkrumah 1963) At this moment, Nkrumah was calling for a united Africa which could pull together its resources to develop its economies. Upon this background, this work mainly seeks to identify the opportunities for a union government as well as challenges likely to hamper the formation of a union government for Africa. Furthermore, a roadmap towards attaining a common government for Africa will be provided. WHAT IS A UNION GOVERNMENT?
Union government a concept that is difficult to define in simple English terms can be described as the name suggests as a central government or a world government to which member states surrender their sovereignty to. In Kwesi Armah’s book “Peace without Power” (2004), he stated that, a Union of States is in existence when two or more sovereign and independent states are, by a treaty, recognized by third states and linked together under the same government or Monarch, so that they make one and the same subject of international law. Union government of Africa is a concept long envisaged by heads of government of newly independent African states such as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda, just to mention a few. However, these leaders possess varied ideas about how a union government should be with respect to the strategy, the form and functions of an African Union government. Some Pan-Africanist such as president Tubman of Liberia wanted it to be a loose alliance where member states will still maintain their sovereignty while still members of this Union and others like Presidents Nkrumah and Sekou Toure of Guinea saw African Unity in the context of United States of Africa where states would surrender their sovereignty to this Union. That is, to them, it should be more of a supranational state. A United States of Africa therefore for Nkrumah meant, one Pan-African Parliament, Joint Military high command, a common economic market, and a borderless Africa. This was evident of Nkrumah when he together with Sekou Toure made a joint declaration in 1958 to form a Ghana-Guinea-Mali Union which was to constitute the nucleus of the United States of Africa. We could infer from the above that President Tubman’s concept of a Union government was entirely opposed that of Presidents Nkrumah and Toure, namely, a Continental Unity. Kwesi Armah (2004) again stated that, to establish such a United Africa required the political and economic unification of the whole continent of Africa including an overall economic plan on a continental basis, the establishment of a unified military and defense strategy, and the adoption of a unified foreign policy and diplomacy which would give political direction to the joint efforts for the protection and economic development for Africa. Nkrumah also supported this notion when he stated that “The survival of free Af...