The 2023 African Liberation Week was officially launched on Monday, May 22nd in Accra, Ghana, at the International Press Centre. The event was officiated by Hardi Yakubu, Movement Coordinator, who declared open the one week of actions and events across the continent and diaspora which will be organised under the broad theme “Borderless Africa”.
In a statement to the Press, Hardi reiterated the need for Africans to celebrate the week from Monday May 22nd to Sunday, May 28th by mobilising in ways that go beyond the one-day commemoration. The need for Pan-African mobilisation and post independent solidarity that would see Africans come together to build the kind of power and solidarity that averts any form of colonisation and exploitation. Among the key issues highlighted during the presser were the following:
- The 60 years we are marking today since the formation of OAU in 1963 to celebrate the determination of the African people to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation; with African Liberation Week acting as a vehicle for Pan-Africans to organise and engage in actions that reflect their true African identity and reclaim their lost glory.
- Removal of colonial borders imposed by people whose interest was driven by division, exploitation and domination. It’s against this backdrop that Africans Rising has embarked on a campaign dubbed “Borderless Africa“ which coincides with this 60th anniversary milestone, an initial vision of the OAU to push for free movement of African people across Africa by ensuring:
- the abolishment of visa requirements for intra-African travel
- the removal of all border restrictions
- the mass roll out of the African passport including for those in the diaspora
- We acknowledge the efforts of ratifying the AU protocol of free movement of goods but emphasise that the benefits of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) associated with this protocol can better be achieved by incorporating the free movement of persons. In 2018, over 30 countries signed the Free Movement of Persons Protocol but only four countries have fully ratified it – Rwanda, Niger, MaLi, Sao Tome and Principe. The protocol requires 15 ratifications to enter into force.
- Over 500 actions have been registered and planned throughout the week and are happening in about 48 countries in Africa and 6 in the diaspora; among these activities, peaceful marches for Borderless Africa in about 10 countries including Zambia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana. Other activities are organised around gender justice, current food crisis, climate change, fight against inequality and economic justice among other sub-themes.
This year’s celebrations mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) now the African Union (AU) on 25th May, 1963. Over the years, Africans Rising has used the May 25th historic occasion to mobilise citizens across the continent and diaspora on issues around good governance, anti corruption, civic space expansion and promotion of democratic participation, gender justice, climate change, reparative justice and broader African unity. Africans Rising was established to create a platform to amplify the voices of active citizens and citizen movements to engage and connect with each other in building solidarity and unity of purpose across the African continent.
In conclusion, he cited one of the proponents of Pan-Africanism and a passionate believer in African unity, Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah and urged all Africans to unite and avoid divisions among themselves, sentiments echoed by other speakers accompanying him. “Africa must unite, we unite or we perish” he said.