Pan-Africanism Is Taking a Back Seat

The Minister of Defence Nahas Angula has called on African countries to strengthen continental bodies because most African states are prioritising nationalism more than Pan-Africanism.

Angula made the remarks on Tuesday in the National Assembly during the debate on the report of the Pan-African Parliament, which recently held its Fourth Ordinary Session of the Third Parliament in South Africa.

“It is a pity that nationalism is taking over Pan-Africanism in many of our countries and the decisions we make as nations, therefore there is a need for us as Africans to strengthen African institutions such as the Pan-African Parliament because the destiny of the continent lies in the hands of all Africans,” he said.

He warned that unity between African states would not happen while the continent is fragmented.

“We have become victims of nationalism where we only want to guard our so-called sovereignty and in the process lose sight of the bigger picture,” he said.

Angula proposed that money be allocated to the African Union under the national budget or a special tax be formulated to fund the continental body.

“Resources are the common heritage of Africa, so there must be a tax on minerals to fund the African Union and its organs so that these institutions can defend us,” said Angula.

Angula said an AU organ like the Pan-African Parliament has the potential to develop a common culture of governance in Africa.

“Good governance is a challenge in Africa at the moment, and to create good governance we must establish institutions within the continent that will guide our values,” said Angula.

With over 90 percent of the Pan-African Parliament’s funding coming from donor partners, Angula said the continental parliament can not be as proactive as it should be.

“This is supposed to be a proactive parliament that must come up with modern laws to protect the resources of the continent but it is not being funded adequately,” said Angula.

Angula proposed that the Pan-African Parliament devise continental laws on investment and mining industries.

“We pride ourselves in being a mining country yet the mines do not belong to us. People [investors] come and dig holes and never declare profit until the minerals are exhausted and then they pay us peanuts in the form of royalties. We are not getting value for our minerals, I must say the revenue we get from our resources is disappointing,” he said.

Angula said if laws on the various industries were the same all over the continent, it would prevent investors from moving from one country to the next in search of less stricter laws.

The minister also called for the Pan-African Parliament to be given legislative powers. The parliament is currently only an aisory body of the African Union.

“We give concessions to investors to exploit us but we do not want to give incentives to grow African institutions. We should see our weakness in our division,” said the defence minister.

Justice Minister Utoni Nujoma concurred with Angula’s sentiments that African institutions need to be strengthened, but he did not agree with his request for the Pan-African Parliament to be given legislative powers.

“The legislative function will not work at this point in time because institutions are not funded by ourselves. They are funded by foreigners who happen to be the ones controlling those institutions,” he said.

He warned that the continent would face problems if the Pan-African Parliament is given legislative powers while most of its funding comes from beyond Africa and suggested regional blocs must be developed.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, said African institutions are established but end ureceiving no funding.

“We create institutions but we do not fund them. Most of the AU’s budget is not funded by ourselves, this is an old situation but we do not seem to be doing anything about it to the extent that they are not ours anymore -they now belong to those funding them,” she said.

She however indicated that the AU is busy formulating mechanisms to fund its programmes like that of the planned levy on African resources.

“There was a decision that every African country should introduce an African levy depending on its natural resources but because of the division on the continent this is taking long,” she said.

Source : New Era