…Over Their Hypocrisy Against Africa
Former President, Jerry John Rawlings, has descended heavily on the Western world, accusing them of hypocrisy in dealing with issues that affect the African continent.
According to him, “as a continent we cannot continue to allow some members of the developed world to interfere and intervene in our affairs while we become passive observers”, stating that “today, Libya is but a pale shadow of itself with militants ensuring on a daily basis that political authority does not take root”.
Rawlings maintained that “as a continent we cannot look on while elected Presidents are plucked out of their countries and humiliated in such a crude manner”.
“Our continent needs to merge its power into one meaningfully strong voice. We need to question why the West is so uncomfortable about the Ukraine and Crimea issue when evidence abounds of gross Western interventions in the recent past, as earlier stated, and in the distant and not too distant past”.
Former President Rawlings, made these comments yesterday March 18, at the tenth anniversary celebration of Pan African Parliament in South Africa, he spoke on the theme: “Ten Years of the Existence of the Pan-African Parliament: Reflections On Its Role”.
While condemning the Western’s interferences in Africa, Mr. Rawlings conceded that “we are equally to blame for looking on as the global powers entered our continent and virtually staged coups in our countries. Some of us chose to blame Laurent Gbagbo and Gaddafi for the fate that befell them”.
To him, it is significant to note however that, in the midst of the political turmoil Libya finds herself in, its national football team put up a brave and determined fight to win the CHAN Football tournament earlier this year. The result was a clear manifestation of the fact that beneath all the pessimism and negativity lies a spirit of determination, which has to be nurtured, guided and supported into a positive governance structure.
He said the rationale behind the establishment of the Pan-African Parliament has been well spelt out.
The Parliament has executed its advisory and consultative role as the legislative organ of the African Union quite creditably over the past ten years.
“The truth is that we cannot discuss the role of the Pan African Parliament without placing significant emphasis on the African Union. The Pan-African Parliament was established as part of the ambitious plan to unify the continent and to integrate it not just economically, culturally and socially, but also politically”.
Ex-President said “after ten years in existence, there are questions about the autonomy of the Parliament and its lack of legislative powers. There are also important questions about how the continent can be truly independent if its Parliament continues to depend on donor support rather than agreed subventions from member states”.
The Pan-African Parliament, he said “has undeniably played a significant role in establishing various protocols of the African Union, thereby enhancing the AU’s relevance. The Parliament has also offered significant support towards strengthening legislatures across the continent. These structures are key to the eventual integration of the continent”.
“If as a continent we are keen to let our voice be heard, then we cannot continue to procrastinate on the matter of integration. Integration may sound ambitious for a huge 54-member organisation, but continued delay further relegates our continent to the depths of irrelevance”.
He said “there are several developments across the globe that cannot escape our attention, especially because many of these developments have affected our continent in the past few years.
President Rawlings mentioned that, “developments in Syria and Ukraine may seem irrelevant to our continent, but they are not. They are not much different from the terrible events that unravelled in Côte d’Ivoire in 2011 and in Libya in the same year”.
He concluded by stating that “Africa has power in numbers and resources. It has power in size and cultural uniqueness. This can be forged into a powerful voice of reason.