Prof. Jean Emmanuel Pondi Visits CATUC
Professor Jean Emmanuel Pondi visited CATUC on May 24 th 2013.
His visit had the following main points on Agenda:
Professor Jean Emmanuel Pondi:
Life and Death of Mouamar Al-
One attendee(Mr. Fonyuy Fridoline) gathered for us the following from Prof. Jean Emmanuel Pondi's visit.
The Casablanca bloc, lead by Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, wanted a federation of all African countries. Aside from Ghana, it comprised also Algeria, Guinea, Morocco, Egypt, Mali and Libya. Founded in 1961, its members were described as "progressive states".It also discussed neo colonialism in Africa, Algerian assimilation, Apartheid in SA, African Unity.
The Monrovian bloc, lead by Leopold S. Senghor of Senegal, who felt that the unity should be achieved gradually, through economic cooperation. It did not support the notion of a political federation. Its other members were Nigeria, Liberia, Ethiopia and most of the former French colonies (Cameroon, Senegal, Gabon etc…) also met to discourse African Unity, Apartheid. The year 1961 was a year of diplomatic polarization as the wind of change was passing in Africa during same period i.e. independence of most states.
The dispute was eventually resolved when Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I invited the two groups to Addis Ababa, where the OAU and its headquarters were subsequently established. The Charter of the Organisation was signed by 32 independent African states.
Nkrumah was for immediate African Unity, Some leaders were of the position that it was too early to talk of Unity. On May 25 th1963, Ben Bella during one "OAU" conference being very radical said
"Free Africa first before Unifying and instead of creating Development Banks he proposed that blood banks be created to assist those who will fight to free Africa from the colonial masters".
Sept 9 th, 1999 saw the birth of propaganda on United States of Africa. On July 11 th, 2000 the Lome Constitutive Act was signed by 27 countries and on July 9 th, 2002 in Durban South Africa , the African Union (AU) was borne. Colonel Gadhafi the Leader of the 1st of September Revolution of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya said
"Political Independence is useless as what Africans need is economic independence".
He also set aside 1 Billion USD as loans to African countries and discouraged loans from the World Bank.
The Achievements of the OAU/AU
Despite the turbulent periods OAU went through like the cold war and non-
OAU/AU has stood the test of time especially considering all that it had been up against for example, "Some Western journals in the 60s provocatively labeled the OUA as –Birds of different feathers coming together".
OAU/AU succeeded in coordinating and harmonizing African foreign policy.
OAU/AU help to fight against apartheid and liberation of African countries.
OAU/AU had all countries represented (With conflict over Western Sahara in 1982 Morocco left on 12 November 1984 following the admission of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as the government of Western Sahara in 1982. The King of Morocco disgruntled and upon leaving OAU said "We say Good bye to OAU/AU but not farewell"). Meaning he recognized the culture of unity and symbiosis.
OAU/AU has been present and spoke for Africa in most international forums.
FLAWS OF THE OAU/AU
SGs of OAU were treated like Administrative clerks with little or no political and financial powers.
Budget not enough to run OAU affairs i.e. 29 Million USD and brought down to 26Million USD in 1986 (equivalent to budget of UN security force per month for that year).
Many African nations did not pay their dues, some for up to 10 years, but had audacity to take the rostrum and criticize the Union.
Catastrophic education policy: OAU never thought of bringing pedagogy into its policies.
The organisation was widely derided as a bureaucratic "talking shop" with little power. It struggled to enforce its decisions, and its lack of armed force made intervention exceedingly difficult. Civil wars in Nigeria and Angola continued unabated for years, and the OAU could do nothing to stop them.
OAU served information and not communication to the African people. Reason being existence of Big Brothers who took care of Africa and always manipulate the media with a poor image of Africa like war, famine, assassinations etc…
We need to be conscious of the opportunities Africa is having.
Presently Average National Economic growth rate is 6-
Many demagogues still exist in power in Africa and fear to relinquish power or get demoted to governors under a new African Union.
Championing African Unity is not an afternoon picnic but a peaceful walk which as Africans we need to embrace.
The AU needs to communicate to its audience. We thus need TV stations and radios promoting African Unity with each country giving a daily account of events in the 53 African states on African Unity (Africans don’t give reports on Europe and the USA but they do on African
RESPONSE TO QUESTIONS
Q: Can African Union succeed with its diverse cultural backgrounds?
PROF. PONDI: Diversity of African should be seen as strength instead of cause for failure or weakness.
Q: Does Africa have a military to stand up and handle African affairs in times of conflicts?
PROF. PONDI: Few countries have military structures in Africa. Imagine how someone could travel 3000 Km from Lubumbashi to take over power in Kinshasa? Where was the military? Reason is most army Generals were relatives of the then Head of State and have never been to any military academy thus diluting the army. Same for Mali as most Commanders were sons and daughters of elites and were called back home when at breakout of war by Al-
Cameroon is a step further as one can’t be a colonel without first being a lieutenant Colonel. Equally Chad and Angola have proven their military strengths in several situations.
Q: Should Africa continue receiving aid from the West?
PROF. PONDI: Aid is neither genuine nor philanthropic. Philanthropy is an abuse of Language said Sylvie Brunei , French Geographer, Economist on article (Les gaspillage des aides Publique, Seuil, 1993) 50% of aid to African return to France to purchase equipment for the project, 30% to pay French experts involve in project, 15% to buy locals and lobby for loan to be approved, 5% to execute the said project. (Food for thought).
Q: Why Africans still give contracts to China, is this not same as moving from one frying pan to another?
PROF. PONDI: China though in Africa for raw material has given Africa an alternative i.e. help Africa to have where to turn to. So today we can say ‘NO’ to Europe and the USA and move to China and Brazil (NB: Most quality goods in the Western world are manufactured in China). However we need to be careful not to fall into the same pit as was with Europe and the USA.
Q; Can religion serve as a force towards African Unity?
PROF. PONDI: Religion is a both a uniting and dividing factor. In religion we belief in what we don’t see while in the world we belief in what we see (rationality). All religions have a fundamentalist mindset, intolerant. There exist Jewish, Christian and Islamic fundamentalisms. If all religions follow the message of truth "Love one another" there will be no war.
Q: The Head of state have not been to the African Union often, what do you think about that?
PROF. PONDI: Surprisingly true but Cameroon had always been represented one can argue.
Julius Nyerere is one of African statesmen that left power without owning a house. He said Tanzania was too poor to spend it’s not enough resources in building a house for him.
Africa got its models of democracy: The Foumban Dynasty has existed for 700 years and can trace its history to that period. We should investigate what system of government Foumban has used to survive for such a time and use as a model for African democracy rather than always copying Napoleon, Churchill or Washington.
On Mindset: If your mindset has not been captured no one can dominate you. Most African mindsets have been captured. Ethiopia is the only African country that has never been captured, from the wars of 1895 and the Abyssinian crises of 1935. In Ethiopia their Millennium (AD2000) was celebrated in 2008 and an appointment for 3PM takes place at 9AM East African Time i.e. 3 rd hour of the day. If you want to do business in Ethiopia you must learn to speak Omoro or Amharic not English, French or let alone Italiano. They have a free and a non-
The talk was followed by a review of the launching of a book by Professor Jean Emmanuel Pondi: Life and Death of Mouamar Al-
Reviewers: Professor Martin Ndumu and Dr. Canute Ngwa.
Book focuses on what Gadhafi has done for Africa (us) and not what he has done to the West. It highlights his flaws then, strongly and rationally bring out his economic and unifying successes. "A must read".
My personal position: This exercise was making the African Union Struggle a pedagogic exercise.
Data Officer, CATUC Bamenda.