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424 CHAPTER 24 21st Century Pan-Africanism LegitimisingtheAfricanDiaspora6thRegion David L. Horne INTRODUCTION The AEC (African Economic Community) and its two major corollaries, the African Union (AU) and the African Regional Economic Communities (RECs), have embarked on an enormous paradigm-altering mission for the 21st Century: the internal and external operational unity of Africa, and the transformation of that geo-physical territory into a world power with the structural ability and capacity to fundamentally improve the quality of life of the majority of its citizens. A pipe dream to some (including some current members of the AU), this quest depends on the successful coordination and blending of many different components over a sustained period of time. As stated at the end of a recent student debate in an advanced university class in pan-Africanism, ‘21st Century pan-Africanism (i.e., the Union of African States) can and will only be achieved by a balanced combination of governmental action, consistent, even relentless community-based organising , mass political mobilisation, international networking, and technological expertise by Africans, with the timely and relevant assistance of specific allies for particular issues.’ 3 Piece-meal and seemingly haphazard though it has frequently been thus far, the AU represents the dominant collective government response to the objectives of 21st Century pan-Africanism.4 In evaluating the success , remaining potential, and missteps of the African Union during its first ten years of operations, 2002/2012, the issue of the African Diaspora and its integration into the AU still looms large, as part of the communitybased organising and international networking aspects, and can include technological expertise, political mobilisation, and financial engagements. So, how has that AU-African Diaspora partnership grown, fared and matured between 2002 and 2012? Is it even possible for the wildly scattered, 425 essentially non-governmental African Diaspora to actively become a viable 6th Region of Africa? To answer those questions to some degree, this paper will focus on the twin issues of legitimacy and credibility of the African Diaspora project. In any serious endeavour, more particularly one that is as potentially transformative to fundamental African relations as the 21st Century Pan-African Movement is, the consistent legitimacy and credibility of the participants (organised and individual) are a reliable barometer of the dynamic status of the overall effort at any given time. Little to low credibility and/or legitimacy, for example, of the African Union Commission (the AU’s Secretariat) at any particular time equals virtually no respect for the AU as a whole.5 So, as part of the assessment of the maturation of the AU-AD project and whether the probability of an actual African Diaspora 6th Region occurring should even be within the range of discussion, what are the significant challenges of legitimacy and credibility faced by the African Diaspora as part of the AU’s thrust forward, and how are those challenges being addressed? The first issue of credibility and legitimacy for the African Diaspora project is Article 3(q) itself. Although passed into existence by a solid majority of the AU attendees at the June, 2003 meeting, the amendment to the AU Constitutive Act remains unratified by the required 2/3 of the membership (36 member states).6 Even after constant references to the African Diaspora relationship in hundreds of AU documents and meetings since 2003, including the May 25, 2012 Global African Diaspora Summit, this remains the case. 7 For those inside the AU who oppose the AU-AD relationship (and there are several countries), this is a consistent bone in the throat they use when discussions arise about broadening and solidifying that AU-African Diaspora relationship. In specific ways, although clearly it is important to obtain ratification of the Article 3(q) amendment, that is a specious argument against the legitimacy of the AU-AD project. Principally, this is the case since there were several other items also passed along with and at the same time as Article 3(q), and those items have become fully integrated into AU operations without ratification.8 They, like Article 3(q), have become ‘past practice’ and ‘regular use acceptable’ components of the AU. Essentially, there are simply too many integral parts of the AU in which the African Diaspora has been included, at least on paper, in published documentation, in summits and meetings, and ultimately, in the grandiose Global African Diaspora Summit in May, 2012, for lack of ratification to cause marginalisation of the AU-AD...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780798304054
Related ISBN
9780798303873
MARC Record
OCLC
870684317
Pages
564
Launched on MUSE
2014-02-18
Language
English
Open Access
No
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