By Isaac Dadzie
If things go according to plan, over 300 delegates around the world will gather at the Accra International Conference Center on the 27th and 28th of October this year to deliberate on critical areas of interest relating to the development and liberation of the African people. The event is the 8th session of the Pan African Congress (PAC).
The International Preparatory Committee (IPC) has made a political call, inviting individuals and organisations to participate in the event scheduled to be held in Accra, Ghana. A statement signed in July 2014 by the Chairman of the Pan African Movement based in Kampala, Major-General Kahinda Otafire, said this year’s Congress seeks to keep faith with the broad character of all previous congresses. He stressed that the Congress will be open to ‘all shades of opinion, groups and individuals in the whole Pan African world’. To this end, a Local Organizing Committee (LOC), chaired by Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr, has been established to ensure maximum participation of local organisations in the Congress. The Government of Ghana has pledged to support the organisation of the Congress.
Flared with the passion to deliver, the LOC is made up of voluntary organisations such as the Socialist Forum of Ghana (SFG), Rastafari Council of Ghana, Musicians Union of Ghana, Pan African Writers Association (PAWA), Trades Union Congress of Ghana and some individuals who have all since its establishment undertaken some significant steps in achieving maximum participation. In an effort to reach out to broad based organisations, the LOC on Tuesday 26th August 2014, held meetings with various organisations including youth and student movements, faith based organisations, the Rastafari community and other organisations. The purpose of these meetings was to solicit their participation, ideas and input into the planning and implementation of the Congress. The outcome of these deliberations was very fruitful, especially when many expressed enthusiasm to collaborate with the LOC to carry out some pre-congress activities.
Pre-congress activities like composing a congress song, organizing seminars and fora to create awareness, involvement of selected senior high schools in the opening ceremony of the congress, organizing a national debate, essay and quiz competitions and Africanizing the congress, were some of the important suggestions and decisions taken at the meetings. All organisations have agreed to work towards achieving a dialogue that would reflect the concrete situations and aspirations of the African people.
The main objective of the 8th session of the Pan African Congress is to galvanize Pan African efforts towards Africa’s renewal including its total socio-cultural and politico-economic independence, self-reliance and liberation. Specifically, the Congress hopes to propel informed dialogue by trade unions, policy experts, artists, historians, youth, women, cadres of revolutionary fronts and civil society activists to reflect and develop strategies on current threats and opportunities within the global political economy. It seeks to discuss topical areas such as the foundational roots and contemporary dynamics of Pan Africanism in the 21st Century; global African citizenship and the struggles for human and peoples’ rights, dignity, popular democracy and social justice; reparative justice for historical and on-going injustices; African arts, culture and media; Education, Science, Innovation and technology for liberation. Other areas to be examined include governing migration, free movement of people and realizing full African citizenship; the emancipation of women, women’s rights, humanization of men and leadership of the women’s movement: gender, masculinities & power dialogue; Pan Africanism, youth leadership, participation and empowerment: inter-generational dialogue; and so on.
Pan Africanism has been on the agenda of the African people since the beginning of the nineteenth century when many Africans in the diaspora began to create platforms in finding strategies for the continents liberation as well as the liberation of all Africans across the globe. The formation of the African Association in London in 1897, the first pan African conference in London in 1900 and the series of pan African congresses which began in 1919 in Paris up to the 1994 7th PAC in Kampala have been recognized to be the historical landmarks for drawing up the agenda of continental unity and emancipation.
It is worthy that during such occasion heroes like Haile Selassie, W.E.B Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Amy Ashwood Garvey, Henry Sylvester Williams, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Casely Hayford, George Padmore, C.L.R James, Julius Nyerere, Amilcar Cabral, Patrice Lumumba and many others who have immensely contributed to the foundation and development of Pan Africanism be remembered and acknowledged. All hopes are that the Congress will achieve maximum participation, deliberate on critical unresolved questions around Pan African unity and resolve to work with a new structure potent enough to crash imperialism and neocolonialism in all forms.