Africa

14 The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, “Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring[a]forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted.17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” Genesis 13:14-17

At the Pan African Parliament on Monday, 8 May, 2017, President Arthur Peter Mutharika, called on his counterparts to strive for unity in Africa, and not to allow national boundaries to be an excuse for divisions. He did not mince words but straight reminded the leaders of treaties and resolutions that founding the fathers of Africa pledged when the continent freed itself of the shackles of colonialism and attained independence from the colonial rulers. These were Britain, France and Portugal.

“In 1964, we all pledged that we will respect the borders we found by colonialism. In Resolution 17(1) of the First Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the OAU (Organization of African Unity), all member states solemnly pledged and declared ‘to respect the borders existing on their achievement of national independence.’ The most outstanding of those forefathers, was Julius Nyerere, who sponsored the resolution and led Tanzania in playing an active role in respecting the territorial integrity we inherited from colonialism,” President Mutharika said.

The President’s reference to the historical landmark agreements, come in light of the on-going disputes between Malawi and Tanzania over the ownership of Lake Malawi, which from the onset of colonization, has been entirely owned by Malawi. In his remarks, Mutharika cited that “from the 1890 Heligoland Treaty to the 1964 Resolution on Border Disputes among African States by the OAU,” there has not been  any disrespecting or disputing of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations.

The path that the founding African nations fathers took in 1964, was good, because it has to-date, kept African countries from major conflicts arising out of border disputes. Futhemore, any scholar of history will recall the 1884 Berlin Conference, hosted by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. The conference led to the arbitrary carving into the nations found in the African.

The European-induced carving up of the African nations, showed no regard of the traditional or ethnic groups, but rather where one European country had more economic interest or its nationals, then they made a claim. This is the reason for reference of this carving into states is sometimes referred to as the “Scramble for Africa.” The carvers of the continent into nation-states, were Great Britain (present United Kingdom), which took the lion’s share; France, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, and Germany.

After two world wars, Germany found itself on the wrong and losing side of the battles, and it lost its territorial claims in Africa. (Tanganyika and South West Africa (current Namibia).

The founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity, (OAU) which is the predecessor of the African Unity (AU), realized that while the creation of the organization that would unite the independent African states, but they also recognized the critical importance of respecting the 1884 boundaries that the colonial rulers had etched on the tables in the Berlin conference hall.

Currently Africa has 54 countries, and remains the largest voting bloc at the United Nations. It would be one endless conflict after another, if the “gentleman’s agreement” that was  reached through the resolution, were not accepted and respected.

The resolve to respect the territorial integrity of the colonies, included other previous treaties, such as  the 1890 Heligoland Treaty. Germany got this and Britain took that and in exchange Germany also took the other while Britain staked this bit, etc.

It was all a European affair.; but It was endorsed by all African presidents upon acquiring leadership from the colonials. Now it’s an African affair.

For any African nation to deny the boundaries and enter the battlefield in a bid to re-carve the boundaries in Africa, it would be a losing endeavor from day one. The battle would be fought on African soil; there would be loss of lives of innocent African civilians and soldiers; the weapons of the battles would be weapons procured from the former colonial rulers.

Africa gains nothing.

As President Mutharika said: “united, we are a rock, divided, we are sand.”

 

 

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