January 2, 2004
NEW YEAR MESSAGE OF DAN KASHAGAMA, AUF GENERAL SECRETARY
Kind new year's wishes on behalf of the African Unification Front leadership.
Events in 2003 have made clear that Africa is going to have better and easier time ahead in assimilating the realities of our new and great federation, the Africa Union.
Because of unification, Africa has a stronger identity as a nation. In our lives, African identity that is respectful of Pan Africanism is increasingly manifesting itself in social, political and economic interaction. The aggregation of attitudes, feelings and hopes that we share, which organize and animate our communities and organizations, these are the things that inform the direction of the Pan African movement and the growth of peace and security in Africa and around the world.
A new orientation is emerging in the world as the African Union takes on a more concrete role in international affairs. The change in the language of the media, in its collective recognition of the unity efforts, has been especially welcome. The efforts of the various institutions of the African Union, especially the AU Commission, in which we have invested our hopes, have already achieved phenomenal results in the reduction of war violence and irregular changes of state governments. This has been achieved through a process of peaceful negotiation and by addressing the concerns of dissenting groups.
Rural prosperity is a priority for Africa's long-term stability. Rural prosperity is greatly dependent on Africa’s economic integration and the promotion of determinants of health. If we are to eliminate poverty and improve health in Africa, we have to increase access to clean water. Effective water management is now the basis for improving quality of life, human and animal health, and the growth of agriculture and industry in the African Union. But we must make sure that the growth of commercial interests does not lead to the destruction of rural communities by the unplanned urban expansion that continues to corrode and eat away at the cultural, social and moral fabric of Africa.
The year 2004 promises uncertainty in world economic terms, owing to instability caused by the escalating military posturing of America, and faltering international trade arrangements. However, the AU has a domestic market large enough to provide insulation against instability in the world economy.
I am very pleased that the formation of the Pan African Parliament is now a certainty, and that the African Court of Justice will also be entering a decisive phase. We all have to work harder to put the parliament in the forefront of the transformation of Africa. Our parliament must become the central vehicle for close and active cooperation with each other. It is through the parliament that we can address successfully the challenges that we face in preserving peace, security and prosperity in the African Union.
This year marks the 200th Anniversary of the African Revolution in Haiti. The journey home to dignity and freedom for the African was pure hell. Centuries in captivity, our ancestors were bought and sold against their will, their lives spent in despair, to service with their labour and time the selfish needs of others. African slavery corrupted civilization and has twisted and skewed our collective understanding of human nature. Haiti struck not just a blow for freedom, but represents a struggle for the redefinition and redemption of humanity. In a way the revolution is not over yet.
Finally, my heartfelt thanks goes out to the members and friends of the African Front, whose endorsement of the direction of the leadership is a continuing source of morale and strength. I especially would like for the members of the AUF whom I have not had time to contact to bear with me. Thank you all for the great work that you are doing. Keep the faith.