On the AU Grand Debate Halifa Sallah sets the record straight

Saturday, July 7, 2007

The 9th African Union (AU) Summit, that ended last Wednesday in Accra, Ghana, came at a crucial time in which the African continent finds itself in a precarious economic and political situation.
Almost fifty years after 1960, which is considered the symbolic year of Africa’s independence, many African countries continue to experience serious difficulties in the process of consolidating the double challenge of statehood and integration.

In a wide-range of pre-statements made during a press conference on 3rd July, 2007, at the Peoples’ Centre for Social Science Research, Civic Awareness and Community Initiative in Churchill’s Town, Halifa Sallah, former member of the AU Parliament added his voice to the grand debate. 

Considering that lack of sufficient sensitisation on the grand debate has created the impression that Colonel Muhammar Ghaddafi is pioneering the cause of a United States of Africa against the wishes of other African heads of state, Mr. Sallah said that the dichotomy, portrayed in the popular media, is totally irrelevant. “It is important for everyone to realise that African integration is one of the fundamental objectives of the African Union. The transformation of OAU to AU gave birth to many declarations on democracy, political, economic, corporate governance and the introduction of mechanisms to monitor compliance to shared values and principles of state administration such as the African Peer Review Mechanism,” he noted.

According to the former Pan African Parliamentarian, who was also a member of the Task Force that was established by the continental body in order to study and make recommendations on the issue of the AU Government, the grand debate culminated from the demand for realism. “The AU Assembly of Heads of State formed a Committee of Seven Heads of State and governments in 2005, to look into the feasibility of founding an AU Government. The Committee of Seven Heads of State commissioned a study, which was tabled at the African Union Summit in Banjul in July 2006,” he indicated.

Far from succumbing to the antagonistic debate, opposing supporters of gradualism and spontaneity, Halifa Sallah spoke on the 8th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State in Addis Ababa. For him, at the end of that session, the heads of state resolved to confine the agenda of the 9th Ordinary Session in Ghana to the ‘feasibility of founding an AU Government. “In setting the record straight, he said, ‘this grand debate therefore, is a continental initiative to find a way forward to unite Africa.

He concluded by saying that the recommendations and conclusions of the study, that was submitted to the parliament, is thus very relevant to the African continent and its future. According to him, with the creation of great blocs in Europe and America, Africa is finding itself marginalised in world affairs and in the globalisation process. The establishment of a Federation of African Republics, scheduled in the study for the 2016 Summit he noted, poses one of the greatest challenges facing the African continent, and indeed, the entire international community. Halifa Sallah then added: “There is an urgent need to answer the forum Nkrumah, Lumumba and Cabral set so as to enhance the clarity, dignity, liberty and prosperity of the African people.”

Author: Written by Abdoulie John
Source: The Daily Observer Newspaper