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Nkrumahs Actuality Dr.

Viorel Cruceanu The celebration of 50 years from the proclamation of Ghanas independency inherently brought about a resurrection of Kwame Nkrumahs personality, both as a father of Ghanas independency and a visionary of the African unity (K. Arhin). Even on March 6 th, 1957, dr. Nkrumah declared that he wanted his country to become a symbol of the Black Africas political revival and a place where all the African peoples should meet together. It was an aspiration which made Ghana the promoter of the African unity. The beginnings of Nkrumahs huge Pan African project were influenced by the alliance Ghana Guinea (November 1958), the creation of the group of Casablanca (January 1961) and the alliance Ghana Guinea Mali (April 1961). The climax was reflected in the discourse of Ghanas leader at the summit for the foundation of AOU (22 25 May 1963). In Addis-Abeba, Nkrumah imperatively asked the foundation of the United States of Africa, based on: unique constitution, Pan African government, common market, common external policy, continental army, African citizenship. The importance of this idea was not understood at that moment. On the contrary, it brought about envies, frustrations, animosities and fears which led to the dishonoring event on February 24th, 1966. It is undoubtedly true that big ideas never die. Almost half a century later, Nkrumahs dream became unexploded again. In other times and with other people: Kadhafi, Konar, Wade, R. Mugabe, J. Kikwete and others. Unfortunately, there is a certain inertness and Africa is about to miss a new historical chance. In Accra (1-3 July 2007), many African leaders proved that they were incapable to think taking into account the perspective of the long historical period. Maybe they cannot understand the meaning of some concepts. That is why, starting from some questions, I have also looked for some appropriate answers for them: What kind of Pan Africanism? Pan Africanism is a creation of the Africans abroad. The uproot and the humiliations of slavery generated, at the Afro-American elite level, a socio-cultural solidarity unseen until the end of the XIXth century and the beginning of the XXth century. The successive generations of slaves maintained, in their souls and mind, the nostalgia of Africa. That fact is mentioned by Aim Csaire, deeply influenced by his ancestors faith that, once they die, they come back to Guinea, that is the native Africa. That is why, the coryphaei of Pan Africanism, E. Wilmot Blyden, H. Sylvester Williams, W.E. Burghardt du Bois, dad an idyllic perception: Africa was not the huge continent we know but the mother country. That is reason why it was easy for Marcus Garvey to consider himself the emperor of the United States of Africa. The Pan Africanism naturalized itself only after the young Kwame Nkrumah and Benjamin Nnamdi Azikiwe, at the time students in the USA, assimilated its ideas. Then there followed the Congress from Manchester, in October 1945, when Pan Africanism became a real ideology, elaborated by the Africans, for Africa (P.F. Gonidec). Nkrumah was faithful to the Pan Africanism until the end of his life. Tragic destinies such as Patrice Lumumba and Barthlmy Boganda, or great characters such as Julius Nyerere, Kenneth Kaunda and Djibo Bakary had an identical attitude. A variable support was offered by Azikiwe, Skou Tour or Modibo Keita. On the contrary, it was deeply disappointed by others (not to say it was betrayed): Obafemi Awolowo, Jomo Kenyatta, Hastings Banda. To the latter ones there added redoubtable opponents such as Tafewa Balewa or Flix Houphout Boigny. It is no wander that, in a rather hostile atmosphere, Nkrumah became persona non-grata. Moreover, he was even the victim of the Cold War, also affecting Africa in the 60s-70s.

The end of the bipolar world, in the 90s, brought democracy on the continent and, consequently, the freedom of thought. This fact determined the rehabilitation of the great Ghana mans image: he was no more considered a communist, Maoist, megalomaniac etc., becoming again the symbol of Black Africa. A symbol preserved by intellectuals such as Ali Mazrui who made a very interesting and suggestive parallel between General de Gaulle and K. Nkrumah: if de Gaulle was a French first and then an European, Nkrumah was first an African and then a Ghananian. Well, at the summit from Accra, the continental leaders were first the representatives of their countries and then Africans. They had to chose between a Pan Africanism reflected in the United States of Africa and a Pan Africanism on paper delayed sine-die. The African political class was disappointing again What kind of the United States of Africa? Let us have a look at the United States of Africa as a concept. To Nkrumah, the conceptual model was represented by the USA. At the beginning, the Americans were divided into two groups: the federalists, with George Washington as a leader (who wanted the unification of the 13 states) and the republicans, led by Thomas Jefferson (who wanted the territorial independency). The obvious differences among the 13 colonies seemed to lead to a territorial independency. Yet, two factors were vital for the common destiny: the fear for the red skin people and the fear for the French from Canada. Once the federal structure was institutionalized, through the constitution in 1787, the USA consolidation evolved mechanically: the Western and Far western territories, which lacked a certain organization, were included in a functional structure. Starting from this example, we may ask ourselves: Was it possible the creation of the United States of Africa, in 1963, following the American model? The history proved the contrary! Besides the ethnic and ideological differences, the year 1960 also created a socio-political reality, which is still valid: the territorial independence. So, the independence institutionalized that colonial deal, imposed by the conference from Berlin from 1884-1885. The independence was not a continental one and it was not even based on the colonial blocks (British East Africa, British South Africa, lAfrique Occidentale Franaise, lAfrique Equatoriale Franaise). Consequently, it generated a micro space of states, jealous of their independence, such as Nigeria, Lesotho, Sudan or Djibouti. Besides there was also a decisive factor: the big powers. Were there interested in supporting a united Africa? No way. A balkanized Africa was much easier to control in the sphere of the international relations. That is why, Nkrumahs great project was a failure from the very beginning. The following decades, decades characterized by imported ideological models and a poor governance, proved that it was a unique salvation: Africa must unite. The project seemed a failure when, suddenly, there appeared Kadhafi the African. He is considered exactly like his mentor Nkrumah: arrogant, unpredictable, incoherent, impulsive, megalomaniac. Partially true! Unfortunately, the Libyan does not want to improve his image, either. In this respect, the comical episode in Accra is suggestive: Kadhafi became angry when the host, John Kufuor, called him the president of Libya. Or, he is the Guide! Well, such a Freudian reaction supports once again the idea of his detractors that Libya is too narrow, Kadhafi wanting himself the guide of the entire Africa. Yet, Kadhafi is a deserving leader. First of all, he imposed again, at the level of both the political discourse and the collective mentality, the idea of African unity. Second, he pioneered the African construction by adopting a new model: the European Union. That is the reason why, in July 2001, AOU turned into AU. The idea of a United Europe has deep roots (especially in the occidental area). The Treaty from Maastricht, on 7 th February 1992, puts the foundation of the United States of Europe: political union, European citizenship and unique monetary system. But, the European construction has its own dilemmas, which feeds Euro skepticism, starting from the rejection of the constitutional Treaty to the adjustment crisis due to the successive extension waves (and Poland, Bulgaria and especially Romania represent real problems).

In this summer, in Accra, the supporters of the United Africa wanted to burn the stages. They met the rejection of the pragmatics led by the South-African Thabo Mbeki. Finally, the latter imposed their point of view: AU has to be a union of independent states, so a confederation (like de Gaulles Europe of countries). Moreover, this structure has to be preceded by the consolidation of the existent sub regional communities. Unfortunately, no one asked himself how much the respective consolidation will last!? In this respect let us take into account an eloquent example: ECOWAS is considered the most developed regional group in Africa. But, recently, in Abuja, the strategic vision of the leaders of the states which are ECOWAS members emphasized that only towards 2020 will it be a spiritualization of the frontiers (probably an optimistic perspective). Not to mention EAC and SADC, they are much more behind. Even from here, from the Eastern Europe, it is clear that if the African integration has to follow the economic integration, then the United States of Africa will become real at the Greek calends. A Pan African government? And from this perspective, the voluntarism of the Libyan guide proved itself faultless. Col. Kadhafi proposed a government made of 15 ministers, including ministries of sovereignty (foreign affairs and defense). The African leaders had to choose between statusquo and renewal. But, once again, there was a lack of political will. This, despite the interference of the president of the European Commission, the Portuguese Manuel Durao Barroso. The European guest was satisfied with the policy of the small steps and the pragmatism, but he also underlined that the great ambitions are preferred. In spite of all the expectations, at Accra a historic opportunity was missed. Probably the continental leaders reacted in the spirit of a famous African saying: lets give time to the time. Or, maybe there are some mean interests, which refer to their own privileges? What else should we say about a common army? The operations la Pyrrhus of ECOMOG, in Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as the problems of the expeditionary bodies from Darfur and Somalia show a log way to run. It is exactly the same for a unique constitution or African citizenship. Africa has no more time to waste. Due to its complexity and defiance, it has to burn the stages. We believe that the political will is vital. So, Africa should start with the political integration: the proclamation of the United States of Africa , the foundation of a Pan African government, the improvement of the Pan African Parliament role, the appointment of the continental capital (or capitals), etc. The political effort will be accomplished by the economic one, which may be conceived on the regional integration criterion. This way, Africa might be divided in development regions (East, West, Sahelian, Equatorial, Austral). Such a atypical evolution may support the words of the Ghana president, John Kufuor: we imitate neither the USA nor the EU. 44 years ago, Nkrumah showed the way of a unique experience for Africa. Then, he was almost alone, against the others. Nowadays, it is high time the continental leaders proved the fact that they became mature and improved their mentality. But not solitary, but together. Consequently, in order to succeed, Africa needs 53 followers of Nkrumah. Does anyone volunteer? August 2007, Bacau, Romania.