Amidst the issues of the African Union offensive in Somalia and an international arrest warrant against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir at the just ended African Union summit in Kampala, Uganda, Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi found time to push for a United States of Africa.
The outspoken Libyan leader told reporters that this week’s African Union summit in Kampala, Uganda was another step toward an African unity government. Gaddafi insists that it is the only way Africa can develop without Western interference.
“I am satisfied that Africa is going along its historic and right road. One day it will become similar to the United States of America,” Gaddafi told a small group of reporters in Kampala at the end of the summit.
“We are approaching the formation of the African Authority, and each time we solve African problems and also move in the direction of peace and unity… we deal with problems step by step. We are continuing to do that,” Gaddafi said.
While Gaddafi’s initiative tallies with some African leaders, others believe they cannot be expected to concede sovereignty to any African bloc just decades after they squeezed it away from their colonial rulers.
But Gaddafi told reporters that: “Studies are still continuing and it is not finished yet. Experts and the people responsible are still studying the documents. They might be completed at the next summit or after.”
A number of senior AU members also support the proposed federation, believing that it could bring peace to a ‘new’ Africa.
Gaddafi, who had previously described the AU as a failure, and asserted that only a true pan-African state can provide stability and wealth to Africa, has spent millions of dollars in aid on needy African nations. An element that has helped to sway sentiments on his pursuit of a United States of Africa.
The Libyan leader in 2009 was leader of the African Union and has since advanced the idea of a United States of Africa at three regional African summits: in 2000 in Lome, Togo, in 2007 in Conakry, Guinea and again in 2009 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Some sources have indicated that the idea of a “United States of Africa” was first mentioned by Marcus Garvey in his poem ‘Hail, United States of Africa’ in 1924. Garvey’s ideas deeply influenced the birth of the Pan-Africanist movement which culminated in 1945 with the Fifth Pan-African Congress supported by Patrice Lumumba, George Padmore, Jomo Kenyatta and Kwame Nkrumah.
Later, Nkrumah and Halie Selassie, among many others, took the idea forward to form the 37 nation Organization of Africa Unity, the forerunner of today’s African Union.