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The Final Call On The African Union


Last month we wrote about the historic importance of the Organization of African Unity's (OAU) meeting in Sirte, Libya where leaders from 53 African nations agreed to establish an all-African Union. And while most of the mainstream media ignored the event, the same cannot be said of The Final Call and its editor James Muhammad, who covered the event, in person. By far, the paper published by Minister Farrakhan has provided the best coverage of the OAU's efforts towards an African Union since momentum for it picked up in 1999.

Today we look at The Final Call's account of this historic meeting. For the entire article please visit:

http://finalcall.com/international/africa_union03-27-2001.htm

An African Union - Leaders take step toward Nkrumah's dream of One Africa

SIRTE (FinalCall.com)- The establishment of an African Union that will keep the continent viable, even thriving, in the face of mounting challenges from globalization and a united European community was reaffirmed here March 1-2 by more than 44 representatives of African governments, including many heads of state.

The 5th Extraordinary Summit of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), or Sirte II, ended with solid support from the OAU's 53 member states for the Constitutive Act of the African Union, a document that establishes the various institutions of the African Union. The remaining holdout countries put their signatures to the document during the summit, meaning that the establishment of an African Union has support from all OAU member states. At Final Call press time, 31 nations had officially ratified the Constitutive Act. Thirty-six member states must ratify before the Constitutive Act can be enacted, calling into existence a Pan-African Parliament; a Court of Justice; an African Central Bank with a common currency; African Monetary Fund; and an African Investment Bank.

"Here we re-establish the balance that was lost in the world … that can't be restituted by weapons of mass destruction or hegemony and dominion, but rather by the people's will," said Libya's Col. Muammar Gadhafi, the summit's host, during the closing session.

"Africa has no intercontinental ballistic missiles or nuclear weapons, but Africa today is stronger than those who possess cruise missiles. We created this day based on a sea of tears and sweat and blood and martyrs. Glory to African men and women in the struggle," he said.

The latest call for a United States of Africa came from Col. Gadhafi several years ago during a July 1999 meeting of the OAU in Algeria. That clarion call resulted in the signing of the Sirte Declaration here on Sept. 9, 1999, a document setting the pace for establishing such an African Union.

In Lome last July, the Constitutive Act for an African Union was signed by many of the leaders, with the remaining signing here. It was hoped that a majority of nations ratifying the document would be reached here.

Once ratification is reached, now expected to happen during the annual OAU meeting in Lusaka in July, movement toward establishing the five institutions will begin.

It is hoped that these institutions-a Pan-African Parliament, a Court of Justice, Central Bank, Monetary Fund, and Investment Bank-will help to: achieve greater unity between countries,

defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states,

promote democratic principles, institutions and good governance,

promote and protect human and peoples' rights, and

help the continent to play its rightful role in the global economy, among other objectives.

The Pan African Parliament initially will have consultative and advisory powers only, while its ultimate goal is to evolve into an institution with full legislative powers, whose members are elected. As currently written, the Parliament will consist of five members from each state, at least one being a female. As the African Union progresses, a common currency will be introduced for the continent and a common defense force ultimately will be established.

"I call this the second liberation of Africa," Zakaria M. Abdi, Somalia's minister of information, told The Final Call, explaining that independence brought Africa freedom from colonialism. Today the struggle is for political, economic and social liberation, he said.

Throughout Ouagadougou Hall, references to the Founding Fathers of the African liberation movement-names like Nkrumah, Nasser, Lumumba, Sekou Toure, and those who founded the OAU with the idea of a United States of Africa-were never far from anyone's lips.

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Monday, April 9, 2001

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