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Summit will Choose new Anthem and Flag for Africa
By Dan Kashagama,
AUF General Secretary
July 4, 2004

The 2004 Annual Summit of the African Union Heads of State and Government takes place next week, from the 6th to the 8th of July, in Africa's capital Addis Ababa.

The Summit will be considering several important proposals including the adoption of an African National Anthem and the creation of a new All-Union flag. The AUF submitted proposals for the anthem and the flag, before the AU Commission extended last year's deadline for new designs and compositions. Mr. Marcel Diouf and Ms. Margarite Elias of the AU Commission's depatment of Education and Culture were responsible for processing the submissions.

The AUF submission for the AU anthem included a score of "Lift Every Voice" by Weldon Johnson, as well as the lyrics and sound recordings available on the AUF website. The submission for the flag was the "Maure" without the olive branch cartouche that the AUF uses for its flag. Both submissions included explanatory notes.

This Summit is also pivotal for another important reason. It is the last Summit that will take place without considering the input of the Pan African Parliament. All future Summits will have their shortcomings or excesses moderated by the PAP. If the PAP excels and becomes a powerful and positive force, the Summit may become redundant and perhaps more ceremonial.

In fact the Summit has never been a good forum to make complex and comprehensive decisions, and for that reason alone, it needs reform. The resolutions are crafted elsewhere, and the Heads of State usually have no time to really grasp the implications of decisions they are making. From time to time, the Summit agenda is hijacked or derailed by a leader whose grasp of Pan Africansism is tenuous, or by a dictator looking for international legitimacy.

The existense of the PAP makes reform of the Assembly of the Heads of States possible. The next Summit should be used to explore ways to make the Summit more relevant, more robust, and more responsive to the concerns of Africans. The PAP can lead the way in finding the means to reform the Assembly, so that its members can serve Pan Africanism better.

One thing that the Assembly could do well is serve to make sure that the PAP never fails Africa. The Assembly would do a great thing if saw its role as the protection and empowerment of the PAP. The Assembly could exist to complement and serve the PAP and to safeguard the independence and integrity of the PAP. The Assembly could grow to become an institution that all Africans can look up to with fondness and pride.