From the 20-25 of August 2016, Africans from across the continent and those in the Diaspora trooped on the East African Country of Tanzania to discuss the Africa Africans want.
Many of the delegates especially those residing in the continent flew with African airlines such as Kenya Airway, branding itself as the ‘Pride of Africa,’ Ethiopia Airway, Air Cote D’Ivoire, Royal Air Maroc, and others.
Between two famous mountains, Mt. Meru and the highest peak on the continent, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the green enclave MS Training Center for Development Co-operation in the provincial city of Arusha, was chosen for a two-day action-packed conference to dream another Africa.
An Africa that will still have 54 territories, but with a single agenda.
An Africa that majority of Africans can take responsibility of and hold the few accountable for their actions which continue to make others to mock the home of civilization and the only hope for humanity.
From Zambezi to Nile; from Limpopo to Congo and Niger, the continent roared in its loudest voice that no intruder will be given free lunch because of his past activities in the continents.
The delegates, many of whom were under thirty-five years, were from all walks of life. This was meant to send out a clear message that Africans and not Africa, are now ready.
It was a declaration that Africa’s youth are leaders without time and boundary. This manifested that since holding everything constant, the future belongs to youth, they themselves must craft it.
For two days-August 23-24, Africans deliberated on and endorsed the Africa Rising preposition.
With energy, enthusiasm, and hope for a new Africa, they endorsed this more than a decade old term not from the perspective that Africa has vast mineral resources which its colonial powers must exploit, but from the viewpoint that a Rising Africa must be the one with African consciousness and self-realization.
They didn’t accept that a rising Africa is for the few elites and their families and allies, but one that turns its raw materials into finished products for the benefit of at least 1.5 billion people and reserves some for another 1.5 billion.
A call has been reechoed that Africa has enough for everyone’s needs and not for anyone’s greed. With the memory of these two great and historical mountains on the minds of the delegates, Africans, knowing that they were around the presumed resting place of Noah’s Ark, pledged not to repeat the mistakes of the past if they are to be safe from the consequences that follow.
This call was summarised in the Kilimanjaro Declaration
A movement to unite Africans without border and language, but by a common goal to stand up for themselves and in solidarity with all Africans and group of Africans, and to take their future into their own hands, knowing that a Rising Africa must correlate with a Rising Africans.
But let it be known to Africans and especially the delegates that the formation of this movement without corresponding actions doesn’t solve any problem in the continent.
It’s always bumpy to fight the status quo and even bumpier to take the minds and hearts of people away from the traditional way of doing things. The delegates must go back in their local communities and mobilize people and resources for a shared vision towards a continent without borders.
The dream of Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta, Haile Selassie I, Nelson Mandela, Sekou Toure, Siaka Stevens, and other great Africans must live on and replenish on the minds of every Africans. There are values we all cherish together and we must hold on to those values to preserve the dignity of every African and inhabitant on the continent.
At times we will need to pay prices for what we believe in because there are many Africans especially the political elites and their corporate and foreign friends who believe that we have come to hinder their transactions and exploitation of the continent resources and its people.
But never us compromise the hopes and aspirations of the millions who depend on our gathering in Arusha, Tanzania. Because the prices we will pay if we fail them are far greater than the prices we will pay due to our fear of paying a price now in rescuing our continent and dignifying our own lives.
It is time that institutions like the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and Dangote Group invest more in a Rising Africans than a Rising Africa. The Mo Ibrahim Foundation Good Governance Award must now be channeled to civil society organizations, trade unions, community initiatives.
The Foundation must stop giving former African heads of state bonuses on top of what they have already stole from the continent. An initial $5 million and an annual $200,000.00 for life to a former African head of state can do far more better for an organization to hold a government to its feet and neck in delivering than giving to someone who has the key to the nation’s coffer.
Someone who doesn’t even need it at all.
An annual prize awarded to former three heads of state in ten years shows how there is nothing like good governance in the African continent. Evident by this is that even the awarder doesn’t have its headquarters in the continent. It is an irony that one is not willing to be with someone he or she honors and says the person is the best.
As Africa rise, let Africans rise above it.
Let’s rise above corruption, imperialism, neocolonialism, and the abuse of fundamental rights by our own citizens.
Let’s liberate ourselves from our liberators and fight for social justice, equal participation, and inclusion.
Let’s raise our voices and use our hands for climate and environmental justice.
Because only by these we will see the top of a rising Africa.
An Africa that will rise for all Africans in the tiniest corner of the continent.
The journey begins now and with you!
Mohammed A. Foboi is Executive Director at Students Against Destructive Actions and Decisions-SADAD Lib. INC.