The New Patriotic Party of Ghana joins all the peoples of Africa in celebrating the golden jubilee anniversary of the African Union, formerly the Organisation of African Unity.
The NPP is particularly proud because our party traces its roots directly to the first political party set up in the Gold Coast in 1947 to lead the struggle against colonial rule, the United Gold Coast Convention. The leaders of the UGCC included Paa Grant, J B Danquah, Edward Akufo-Addo, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, Emmanuel Ako Adjei and Kwame Nkrumah, with Nkrumah moving on to become the popular driver for the de-colonialisation and unity of Africa.
Fifty years on, the one billion people of our diverse and resourceful continent still see the unity project as very much an unfinished business. The instability, socialism and dictatorship that hampered progress for much of the first three decades have now given way to a renewed consciousness gingerly driven by the principles of the rule of law, democratic accountability, respect for human rights, individual liberty and a market economy.
The NPP believes that the 21st century is for Africans to build and capitalize responsibly and efficiently on our rich human and economic resources to build across our vast continent free interconnected societies of opportunities and aspirations for every African. What Africa needs are educated and skilled competitive people who are free, and encouraged, to create wealth for themselves and for the greater benefit of our societies.
In this fiercely competitive world of economic blocs, the AU needs now more than ever leadership — clear economic and political leadership committed to delivering and delivering. A leadership devoted to building transnational infrastructure and harmonising rules to facilitate the free movement of people, goods, services and ideas. The politicians must give the people and businesses a far greater chance to help bring our nations and peoples together economically and socially. We must empower the private sector to play a leading role in the integration process.
But, to do so, we need to enhance the confidence of our peoples in the multiparty democratic path that we have opted to travel on. The days when membership of the AU was merely geographic must give way to membership strictly by shared democratic principles. To achieve this indeed, first, national elections must truly reflect the democratic choices of the people by being free, fair and credible. Next, those elected to lead must be held accountable to their promises and stewardship and give the people value for money services. Third, civil societies and the private sector must be respected partners in this new leadership project. Finally, the can-do spirit of the African must reign; which means our leaders must believe more in the capacity of the African people and empower them to lead the development project. Africans must approach this century with the confidence of a people who believe that this is their time and it is up to them to make it happen. We must empower the African to make it happen!
Happy 50th birthday, African Union!
Happy anniversary, Africans!
Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, NPP Chairman, and
Kwadwo Owusu-Afriyie, NPP General Secretary