An aspect of 21st century Pan-Africanism

Practical Politics

David L. Horne, PH.D. | 8/18/2016, midnight

The first issue of credibility and legitimacy for the AU-Diaspora project, is that of inclusion, as expected from the 2003 AU invitation to the African Diaspora, and the subsequent meetings, declarations, definitions and pronouncements which have directly or implicitly confirmed these expectations. Even though the AU’s ECOSOCC is and will remain an advisory, recommending body only, it is a permanent commission of the AU and it is the designated first AU entity to include African Diasporans as voting members. So inclusion in ECOSOCC would mean the advanced opportunities for the African Diaspora members to gain valuable diplomatic experience and to ready themselves for eventual participation in other areas of the African Union, including the Pan African Parliament.

As of the middle of 2016, the 20 delegate seats assigned to the African Diaspora by the AU in 2003-2004 through the AU’s ECOSOCC, remain unfilled for a variety of mainly bureaucratic reasons. That is a credibility problem of the first order. To date, the AU has not approved a general method for the African Diaspora to elect its 20 representatives for inclusion in the AU, and a full debate/discussion on resolving that issue has yet to occur.

Clearly, becoming members of ECOSOCC will not be the ultimate credibility nor legitimacy standard for the African Diaspora. However, it is part of the first level of real credibility that must occur, and must occur soon. Otherwise the African Diaspora’s credentials and reputation as a serious international player in this chess game of paradigmatic change will never rise above the mediocre. The AU-African Diaspora relationship will remain ephemeral and paper-related only, in spite of the grandiose declaration of an AU-Diaspora Programme of Action and Consolidated Outcomes.

Recently, in preparation for the May 25, 2012 African Diaspora Summit in Pretoria, South Africa, most of the major NGO organizations within the African Diaspora have adopted a regional approach that has a significant chance of success in getting those 20 representatives elected from the global African Diaspora. To wit, there is already a North American Region Unity Council (NAADUC), a Caribbean Pan African Network (CPAN), a Central American Region Unity Council (CARADUC), and a Middle East Region Unity Council (MEADUC) established and operating, with a Western Europe African Diaspora Unity Commission, an Eastern Europe African Diaspora Unity Commission, and a South American Region Diaspora Unity Council, on tap for establishment before the end of 2012. Such regional unity councils address the challenge of the AU’s having to wade through over 10,000 active Pan African-oriented organizations, large and very small, within the African Diaspora. Such a confusing cacophony has long had a chilling effect on closing the African Diaspora inclusion deal.

Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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