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A True African

Today, I woke up in a happy mood and engaged in my research as usual. Then I stumbled on to a speech that I am sure will inspire me to work harder today. I read the opening statement of one Mr Amara Essy who was the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity just before it was transformed into the new African Union on 9th July 2002. On the eve of the launch of the African Union, and to a powerful audience that included the Secretary General of the United Nations Mr. Kofi Annan, South African president Thambo Mbeki amongst others, Mr Amara stated that for:

‘[T]he people of Africa of today and tomorrow, a new era will dawn on Africa and for Africa. This sun will brighten all the cities, villages and hamlets of our Continent. The message is that of hope and the rejection of fatality. This new day which symbolizes the future victorious conquests on all social, economic and political fronts, ushers in also the new pages of the history of our Continent which we are going to write’.

I remember the period that the African Union was established as if it were only yesterday, particularly those morning that I would sit in the kitchen reading about the eventful celebration across Africa, on the Nation and Standard newspapers, whilst having my traditional breakfast of Kenyan tea and bread with blueband. I recall the attention that Muammar Al-Gaddafi received in Durban especially in regard to his massive tent and the applause which Nelson Mandela, who is probably the personification of all that Africans would like their leaders to be, received.

Who would have known that just four years later I would be sitting here engaged in research on the important topic of African Regional Security under the African Union’s Constitutional Framework? And how proud I am to be an African analysing Africa from an African perspective and its interaction with the world,including its capability of offering valuable lessons to the international community.

But to me, there is something else that was special about what Mr Amara Essy had to say, and one that is to be looked upon in the context of Africa’s history of slavery, colonialism and imperialism. In establishing the African Union,

‘We are on the road to guarantee that never again no other non-African will define Africa’

Jamesmuiruri

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