General News of Thursday, 6 December 2018
The Institute of African Studies of the University of Ghana has commemorated the 60th anniversary of the all African Peoples Conference (AAPC) in Accra, with a call on the youth to come together and collectively address issues and problems the continent is facing while outlining a road map for Africa for the next 60 years.
The event, which was organised in collaboration with the Ghana Trades Union Congress, the socialist forum of Ghana and the Lincoln University in USA is to encourage participants to engage in open and dispassionate reflection of the African condition in the contemporary world, against the backdrop of the 1958 conference.
Speaking to delegates representing political parties, civil society groups, trade unions, members of the global African family as well as observers from Europe and other foreign states, chairperson for the conference who is also the former secretary-general of the association of African universities, Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr said, it was time for Africa as a continent to think through its problems and come up with ways to solve it.
“This conference will be judged not by the vigour of celebrating the past but by the degree to which we are able to reimagine and think through the problems confronting us. There is no escape from our obligation to take it forward.
We cannot simply re-live history, so the next three days are critical as this conference last. It is up to us to vigorously think through our problems as a continent and devise ways of working ourselves out of those problems. I am saying this because the rest of the conference will be only three days and in that period it is up to us especially the young ones to not only listen and learn but to interrogate and actively work towards ensuring that the outcomes help us in going forward.”
Delivering the keynote speech at the conference, past President of the African studies association of the United States, Professor Nzongola-Ntalaja blamed African leaders for betraying the cardinal principles of pan Africanism and the unity of the African continent.
According to him, it was also worrying that Africa, after so many years has also failed to manage its affairs despite the people’s expectation after independence.
“As a continent we need to ask ourselves such critical questions which when we are able to answer will throw more light on how we can move forward. We must ask why the new colonial state is incapable of dealing effectively with catastrophes facing us. Is the current African leadership the obstacle to our development and what can we do about it? The most practical thing which is not necessarily the best for us to do is to implement the Abuja treaty.
It is also a shame that foreigners have less difficulties traveling in mother Africa than her own daughters and sons. The expulsion of African refugees and migrates by African states is a violation of the spirit of pan Africanism. Moreover, our government and leaders are also not ashamed to blame non-governmental organisations and foreign donors for not coming to their aid when they should be providing for their people.” he concluded.
Adding his voice, member of the socialist forum of Ghana, Mr. Kwesi Pratt encouraged the youth to take an interest in the history of their country, the pace that was set by their forefathers and what they can do to help. He further chastised political figures for twisting and changing the history of a country in a bid to win election and elevate undeserving personalities.
“We need our history to be taught in our schools, because we cannot expect anything from a country in which leaders are busily turning history upside down for a shameful, extremely foolish exercise such as winning election or making our grandfathers and great uncles to look better than the others. We therefore have a duty of telling the true African story and we have the duty not just as story tellers but as people intend to inspire ourselves and others to break those chains of domination and exploitation.”
Held under the theme; Revisiting the 1958 All-African People’s Conference – The unfinished business of liberation and transformation, the 2018 Conference was in line with the first AAPC hosted in Ghana by Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, which was used to mobilize the ordinary Africans in the decisive struggle for liberation across the continent and beyond.