By Adedayo Akinwale
The President of Namibia, Dr. Hage Geingob, has commended the African Union (AU) for achieving what some thought would be impossible – a free, democratic, self-governing and most importantly an Africa without incessant civil wars.
The Namibia President stated this on Monday in his message to commemorate AU at 57.
He said when the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was formed, as it was then known before it metamorphosed to AU, its primary mandate was Africa’s decolonization.
Geingob noted that in light of Its commitment to freeing Africa, acting at state level, without sacrificing state sovereignty, OAU was largely transaction in nature and it was able to promote unity and cooperation amongst African states.
He stressed that unquestionably, OAU proved naysayers wrong, having been ridiculed at inception, adding that many doubted whether the organization would survive institutionally and achieve remarkable successes.
The Namibian President stressed further that through the OAU‘s steadfast leadership and support, many African countries achieved political freedom and the restoration of dignity and pride amongst African people.
Geingob noted that as Africa and the rest of the world approached the dawn of new Century, having emerged from the Cold War Era and faced with post-Cold War realities, a new organisation became a necessity – an organisation more accurately geared towards dealing with the challenges in a changing and globalizing world.
He stressed that the need for transformational organisation that could spearhead its effort towards economic independence informed the formation of AU.
The Namibian president noted that in order to better fulfill its mandate, the AU placed emphasis on the need for self-financing with the understanding that if Africa aims to achieve its developmental aspirations, Africans should fund such efforts in this regard.
Geingob said this made African leaders to decide in 2016 that institutional reforms of the AU were urgent and necessary, given the AU’s expected role in driving the Africa We want under Agenda 2063.
He stressed that in July 2016, the Assembly of Heads of State and Government mandated President Paul Kagame of Rwanda to lead the reform process.
According to him, Although several issues regarding modalities remain, the process under President Kagame has been commendable and Africa is moving closer to the reality of a self-financing AU.
Geingob said: “We truly have much to celebrate as Africans. In 57 years, we have achieved what some thought would be Impossible, free, democratic Africa, a self-governing Africa, and most importantly an Africa without incessant civil wars and unrest, focused on the wellbeing its citizens.
“We stand upon the precipice of a new reality for the people of this continent. From the darkness of colonialism, we have emerged Into the light that promises future prosperity.
“Although we are currently faced with a new unprecedented challenge of the COVlD-19 pandemic, we are assured and confident that in the AU, we have a time-tested and proven organization through which we can galvanize continental and International support and solidarity.
“To conclude, I would like to emphasize that Africa must maintain unity of purpose and move forward with a sense of urgency towards the upliftment of the African citizen. both materially and ideologically.
“We should harness our rich cultural diversity towards reaching our common objective of economic emancipation and social development. Through collective vision, through unity of purpose, we will usher in the New Africa.
“An Africa where more than 1.2 billion sons and daughters of the soil can live in peace, unity and harmony. An Africa where we can move freely as brothers and sisters. An Africa where we can all pursue the dream of prosperity. This Is our Africa The Africa we want.”