Pomp, colour and “renaissance” as PAP marks Africa Day
The Pan-African Parliament -PAP was full of colour in all forms and shape as it commemorated Africa Day, 60th anniversary of the of the African Union-AU previously known as Organization of African Unity-OAU.
The sitting was a cocktail of colour from the dressing, language, accents, presentation, entertainment and even physical appearance not forgetting the show stopper which was a key note address by Dr PLO Lumumba whose speech stirred the audience earning him a standing ovation, all gelling into the theme
“Our Africa, Our Future”. Indeed Africa is rich.
West Africans in the room could be spotted from a far with the signature outfits for both men and women whose imposing head gears could not have attempted to miss.
Returning the favour were delegates from Southern Africa who donned their traditional coloured outfits punctuated with their coloured hats on the head not forgetting the unmatched dictions that didn’t leave behind the clicking sounds for those from the host country South Africa referred to as Muzantsi.
As for North Africa, the Arabic dress code colourfully perched on their body frames and hijabs for women.
In East Africa, Kenyan delegation took one for the community with Nairobi County MP Esther Passaris donned the beaded Kikuyu women tradition dress, Rehab Mukami wore a red Maasai dress with embedded silver ornaments while Prof Margaret Kamar dressed in a grey Kitenge with blue patches.
Parliament’s President Fortune Charumbira who is a head of tradition chiefs in Zimbabwe and a senator as well calmly occupied his seat at the front in an African attire that was blue in cloud and patches of grey as well flanked by flags from all the countries in the continent that have been lined up near the podium.
Entertainment was delivered by a group of young stars that alternated between songs, poems and skits as huge African drums continued beating whose highlight was the singing of one of late Miriam Makeba songs.
One of the photographers from West Africa not to be left behind had a hard time taking pictures because he kept holding into place his hat that was matching his outfit for prevent it from falling off his head but also need to balancing his camera lens as he captured the events of the day.
When time for speeches came, the gathering was reverberated by various speakers and one could feel the spirit of renaissance as they invoked names of the continents founding fathers, in a way making it feel like their spirits were alive and hovering in the chamber. This was set in motion by Andre Nzapayeke who is the dean of the African Diplomatic Corps.
Professor Mathole Motshekga, Executive Director of Kara Herrigate Institute paid homage to legendary Marcus Gavey whom he said was the man who amplified calls for Pan Africanism calling him a great warrior for liberation of the continent. “Marcus Gavey said, Europeans have their Europe, Americans have their America, Asians have their Asia, where is the country of the African people?” He said Africa still needs an African cultural revolution which will ensure that social and political freedom is achieved.
“Today Africans are politically free, but not socially and economically free”
Keynote speech was delivered by Prof PLO Lumumba and despite him addressing the Parliament virtually, his speech was repeatedly interrupted by loud applause culminating into a stand ovation when he finished.
Lumumba lamented at how the current African leadership seem to have betrayed efforts of founding fathers who delivered liberation.
“The AU headquarters is built by China while 60-70% of its budget is funded by foreigners”
According to Lumumba, this is a form of neo-colonialism as he cited African Development Bank-ADB which he said that Nigeria, second highest investor is the US and all major European powers are share holders.
“One can dare say, that the bank is only African in name”
He decried the fact that despite Africa Agenda 2063 being mooted in 2013, ten years down the line, achievements have been modest.
“Africa has become a forest of declarations which are honoured in breach”
The professor of law said it is a shame that a solution to current Sudan political crisis is being midwifed in Saudi Arabia, asking the AU and PAP where they are as outside step forward to offer a solution to an African problem.
PAP president Fortune Charumbira attributed the continental parliament’s underperformance to under funding.
Tana River Senator Danson Mungatana who is leader of Kenya delegation at PAP there’s no need of trying to reinvent the wheel.
“What we need is standardization. One currency, one boarder, one flag, one passport etc”
He added that political unity in the continent is key which can be achieved by raising an African army and police.
Nairobi County MP Esther Passaris said what African needs to do is reduce over reliance to donor funding if the Pan African dream is to be realized.
“We need to be truly independent in all forms and shape. Resources are there, problem is embezzlement”
Kabuchai MP Majimbo Kalasinga told the house that they were ignoring a seriously vice, gender based violence which is a major threat to the family unit needs to be dealt with in order to ensure everything remains on course.
His short speech caused laughter in the chamber when he reminded men that a true African man does not go to the bush to pick a small stick to beat a women, instead they need to use one naturally given solution by God to beat women with love and affection.
Any views or opinions presented herein are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Nation Media Group.