With Ambassador Arikana Chihombori-Quao in Harlem yesterday where she spoke about a plan she’s already putting in place with an existing bank to build financing, supported by Africans at home and Diaspora, for projects in Africa. In background Prof. Leonard Jeffries. Photo Gbenga Subair.
As I write this column 58,371 people have already signed a Petition calling upon the African Union to tear up the letter of termination that it sent to Ambassador Arikana Chihombori-Quao.
She is the AU’s ambassador to the United States. But she is bigger than that–she is Ambassador for Africa’s economic liberation and will remain so.
Supporters have clearly rejected and repudiated the AU’s wrongful termination of Ambassador Chihombori-Quao. The correct thing to do would be to rescind the dismissal letter and actually fire the person who terminated Ambassador Chihombori-Quao’s employment. That person is AU executive secretary Moussa Faki Mahamat, the former Chadian prime minister.
He’s the one who deserves to be booted.
Supporters of Ambassador Chihombori-Quao believe the AU and Moussa Faki Mahamat acted after pressure from outside powers. Ambassador Chihombori-Quao has been very critical of France’s continued exploitation of its former African colonies. These countries currencies are tied to the French Franc and additionally they pay a form of reparations by depositing their reserves in the French banking system. It is France that should be paying reparations for the resources plundered from Africa during the colonial regime and the lives destroyed. Ambassador Chihombori-Quao has also spoken about the exploitation of other African countries by the former colonial powers.
She wants Africans and Diaspora Africans–including sisters and brothers in the United States, Caribbean, South America, Europe and elsewhere– to break this neocolonial domination by pooling their financial, economic and intellectual capital. She, and we Pan-Africans who share the same vision, Economic liberation for Africa.
There are two visions for Africa: one is to have Africa remain as a plantation that provides cheap labor and resources to the industrialized West and China so that these countries can continue to create wealth and prosperity for their citizens The second vision, which Ambassador Chihombori-Quao and we Pan-Africans support is the one that sees Africa building factories and creating regional markets, using its resources to create value-added products, and eventually a United States of Africa.
Ambassador Chihombori-Quao espouses the lessons of Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. DuBois, George Padmore, C.L.R. James, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Malcolm X, Thomas Sankara, and many other heros of Pan-African unity. Several of these visionaries paid the ultimate price, with their lives, for daring to dream of a United States of Africa.
When Garvey declared “Africa for the Africans” he was hounded by the F.B.I and thrown in jail; W.E.B. DuBois was harassed by U.S. authorities and toward the end of his life found peace in Ghana during Nkrumah’s days, Lumumba was murdered barely six months after he became Congo’s prime minister because after independence he dared to ask for a better share for his country of the mineral riches exploited by Belgium, Malcolm X was murdered after he had started making regular trips to Africa where he held meetings with African leaders, Nkrumah–who said the independence of Ghana was meaningless unless all of Africa was liberated and united–was overthrown shortly after he inaugurated the Volta River power project which was meant to industrialize Ghana, and Sankara–who was the reincarnation of Nkrumah and Lumumba and Malcolm combined–was gunned down after he preached self-reliance in Burkina Faso and repudiation by Africa of the debt albatross that impedes the continent’s development.
These African heroes had one thing in common: they preached African unity and African mobilization of their own financial capital to develop the continent. They preached a unified Africa because, just as Nkrumah predicted in “Neocolonialism The Last Stage of Imperialism,” so long as they remained weak balkanized mini-nations none of them would be able to protect their sovereignty and resources. The desecration of Congo by Western powers in the 1960s has proven this; a similar crime was repeated in 2011 with the destruction of Libya with France under Nicolas Sarkozy taking the lead in the NATO bombings. Sarkozy later was arrested and charged with corruption in his earlier alleged financial dealings with Muammar Quathafi before he decided it was time to kill him.
Ordinarily individuals are rewarded with promotions and bonuses when they excel in their duties or mission. Ambassador Akari Chihombori-Quao has been an unqualified success in promoting Pan-African unity, resource mobilization, and economic liberation. Yet the AU has responded by punishing her. This incident has exposed the AU and undermined its credibility. Now millions of Africans will wonder what the organizations true agenda is.
Any African who dared to challenge the dependency model created at the Berlin Conference in 1884 has been punished. This is not surprising. Why would a former colonial power want true independence for the ex-colony?
Fearlessly, Ambassador Chihombori-Quao has picked up the baton that fell when other Pan-Africans were struck down. She has been preaching African empowerment through resource mobilization, creation of value-added productive economies, and an end to criminal exploitation of Africa including by France and other former colonizers.
So which vision will prevail in Africa? The one of Nkrumah and his peers or the reactionary one that led to Ambassador Chihombori-Quao’s dismissal?
We must all answer this question emphatically by siding with Africa and demanding that the AU terminate Moussa Faki Mahamat’s employment.
Africa is not yet Uhuru.