Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nyerere vs Nkrumah on Pan-Africanism

I would argue, President Nyerere realized what the challenge was then, but I think President Nkrumah's approach would have been better.

The world superpowers were not going to allow the "investment" they had to disappear just like that (as that would have happened from true and genuine unity). Not sure whether it was stupidity or ignorance of some of the African leaders of the time, but really the struggle was not genuinely for the people, as if it were, it did not need a rocket scientist to figure out that unity was a must just as freedom was, in fact at the very same level. Evidently Nyerere was trying to balance all these factors as the countries already had "flag independence". The ideal situation would have been freedom to united countries.

Nyerere was right when he said we inherited deep divisions. What was overlooked was the fact that even lack of freedom and unity was equally inherited and needed the same level of struggle and strategy to get rid of and create a united Africa.

It was true then, it is even true now. Sacrifices are needed to secure the true unity, freedom and prosperity of future African generations.

When various leaders steer fears during debates on creating federations and a united Africa, the rift between African people is taken even further - especially amongst those not in the know, and we all know so well what that means in terms of where we end up standing in the politics of the 21st century world.

We either unite or perish as we keep getting fake pats in the back that we are doing so well, heading in the so called right direction!

Temu, ABS

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Chambi Chachage
Date: 2008/9/5
Subject: Nyerere vs Nkrumah on Pan-Africanism

The following quotations are extracted from an excerpt from the discussions between Bill Sutherland (BS) na Julius K. Nyerere (JKN) that took place sometime in the 1990s - they can be accessed from a book entitled 'Guns and Gandhi in Africa: Pan African Insight on Nonviolence, Armed Struggle and Liberation in Africa' that was/is edited by Bill Sutherland & Matt Meyer and published by Africa World Press, Inc of Asmara, Eritrea in 2000:

JKN: ...My differences with Kwame were that Kwame thought there was somehow a shortcut, and I was saying that there was no shortcut. This is what we have inherited, and we'll have to proceed within the limitations that that inheritence has imposed on us. Kwame thought that somehow you could say, "Let there be a United States of Africa" and it would happen. I kept saying , "Kwame, it's a slow process." He had tremendous contempt for a large number of leaders of Africa and I said, "Fine, but they are there. What are you going to do with them? They don't believe as you do - as you and I do - in the need for the unity of Africa. BUT WHAT DO YOU DO? THEY ARE THERE, AND WE HAVE TO PROCEED ALONG WITH EVERYBODY!" And I said to him in so many words that we're not going to have an African Napoleon, who is going to conquer the continent and put it under one flag. It is not possible. At the OAU conference in 1963, I was actually trying to defend Kwame. I was the last to speak and Kwame had said this charter has not gone far enough because he thought he would leave Addis with a United States of Africa. I told him that this was absurd; that it can't happen. This is what we have been able to achieve. No builder, after putting the foundation down, complains that the building is not yet finished. You have to go on building and building until you finish; but he was impatient because he saw the stupidity of the others.

BS: ...You said that you and Nkrumah had one objective, but you differed on how to achieve it. When you thought about a united Africa, did you think that the present nation-states would emerge?

JKN: When I clashed with Kwame, it was when we were very close to a federation of East African states and Kwame was completely opposed to the idea. He said that regionalization - that's what he called it - was Balkanization on a larger scale. I said "Look, Kwame, this is absurd." I thought that historically there were grounds for different groupings of countries trying to come together. West Africans at one one time -under the British - had a common currency. Basically, the French had two huge colonies - French Equatorial Africa and French West Africa. I thought it was possible to move towards unity by putting those areas together. But even that didn't happen. I thought that these groups could come together naturally, within the OAU. Then there could be propaganda, an incentive, and the push for greater unity. Kwame thought that we all could just sit down together and come out as a United States of Africa. I think that Kwame was perhaps over-influenced by the way the US and the Soviet Union came together. You know the way the thirteen colonies came together, drafted a charter, and then declared the United States of America? I never thought it would work this way, because these African countries had become independent and the mistake was evident in East Africa. If we wanted to come together, we should have come together before independence, because if you wait until after independence it cannot be done. With four presidents, four flags, four national anthems, four seats at the UN - ahh! It's extremely difficult!

BS: Didn't you note, about the preamble of the OAU, that it says "We the heads of state" - it doesn't even say " We the People?"[sic]
JKN: No, what I said was that the UN Charter has its better: it says "We the People of the world," whereas the OAU Charter says " We the heads of state."

BS: Did you not, at a certain time, just shake your head and say that there must be a devil in Africa?

JKN: I said that there is a devil in Africa. I went to Addis and it was an incredible meeting. Here is this continent of young nations coming from colonialism and so forth and the debate is awful, and really what provoked me was the French-speaking counties [sic] you know. With all their French culture, training in rationalization - you can't really argue with those fellows. And I discovered some of these fellows have their visas - THEIR VISAS - signed by the French ambassadors in their own countries! And I said, "Oh, but I thought you were fighting for freedom?" I had given up PAFMECA [Pan-African Movement of East and Central Africa]. PAFMECA was 1962, and in '63 the North African and the West African countries had divided themselves between the Casablanca group and the Monrovia group, the radicals and conservatives - really absurd! So I welcomed the idea that we could all be together, rather than have a continent divided along ideological lines. After the OAU was established in 1963, I allowed PAFMECA to die out. I'm still quietly complaining, because PAFMECA was a movement of people. It was an organization of the liberation movements, and therefore could be a movement of people. "We the heads of state!" When I hear the African heads of state talking like a bunch of colonials sent by France, of course I get livid! That's why I said there is a devil in Africa, and that devil is still around. We are still fighting that blessed devil!

The choices are still the same today: Nyerere's evolutionary way or Nkrumah's revolutionary way?

My mission is to acquire, produce and disseminate knowledge on and about humanity as well as divinity, especially as it relates to Africa, in a constructive and liberating manner to people wherever they may be.


kwamemaseko May 23, 2010 at 5:03 PM  

Not every African wants to evolve, a lot are contented with the way their lives are. Maybe it's because no one has ever showed them what we can achieve by ourselves (as a people) or maybe they've accepted the lies passed down to them by generations gone.
Like Nkrumah, I have strongly been influenced by Marcus Garvey and believe in a united Africa. Of course there will always be differences of opinion but with a common cause all differences pale into insignificance. That common cause should be the harnessing of the powers of the earth and universe and using them for the benefit of the Human Race. A united Africa will aim to improve the lives of all inhabitants of this planet because peace and prosperity will only be achieved when everyone's needs are met. Greed and hatred should be made into a punishable offence. No Bankers allowed.

Anonymous February 25, 2012 at 2:51 PM  

Hmmmmmmm AFRICA

Anonymous January 24, 2014 at 1:00 AM  

talking about African union that is a dream an illusion,won't be united states of Africa ever due to the differences we have example issue of tribalism i.e in Rwanda,Burundi,Kenya,Nigeria.issue of weak domestic politics within the countries where by there is no true democracy...leaders a selfish(power monger) they don't want to loss their position once they come into power example mugabe and museveni.For this it is impossible for real.Nyerere was right will take a time to do so

Anonymous May 18, 2016 at 1:04 AM  

I agree with you. Nyerere was right when he said you build the foundation first before you build a house - you don't start from the top - and that is how African countries should unite: one step at a time.

The regional approach to unity, or gradualism, as advocated by Nyerere, is the most practical. That is why even today we have regional economic blocs, not regional federations or regional federal governments for West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, or Southern Africa. Nkrumah was only dreaming when he said we should unite our countries right now, all at once, and form a union government for the whole continent in one day or in just a few days, may be even in a few weeks. History has proved him wrong.

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