Dr. Elshafie Khidir Saeid
On 23 & 24 August 2016, two hundred and seventy-two representatives from across Africa and the African diaspora, representing civil society, trade unions, women, youths, writers, prominent intellectuals, people living with disabilities, parliamentarians, media organizations, and religious groups, convened a conference in Arusha, Tanzania, under the slogan “Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity”.
The participants expressed their outrageous anger condemning the centuries of oppression, the plunder of natural and mineral resources, and the suppression of fundamental human rights in Africa. They showed a strong determination to foster the solidarity and unity of the Peoples of Africa to build the future they want; a right to peace, social inclusion, and shared prosperity.
They affirmed their commitment to build a Pan-African movement that recognizes the rights and freedoms of the African peoples. The participants interpreted all these principles in the final communiqué of the conference, “The Kilimanjaro Declaration”.
The Declaration states that Africa is a very wealthy continent with very rich resources that belong to all African Peoples, not to a minority of narrow political and economic elite.
That is why Africans need to fight for a just & sustainable economic development that embraces social inclusion and environmental care, and for the better life promised by their governments, the declaration says.
I do believe that, as the Kilimanjaro Declaration says, Africans should be very proud of their diverse, rich, and powerful heritage capable of playing a major role in repairing the damage done by neoliberalism to the continent.
They should be proud of the Nguni Bantu philosophy of Ubuntu which is based on the beliefs of humanity towards the others & the universal bond that connects all humanity. This philosophy was the motive behind the conference & the Kilimanjaro Declaration.
The conference addressed the African Youth as a critical foundation of building success in the continent. It concluded that the youth, as well as Africa’s Diaspora whether displaced through slavery and colonialism or part of modern-day migration, are part of Africa’s history and future.
Both are a reservoir of skills, resources, energy, and passion that should be harnessed and integrated into the various movements whose central objective is to rebuild Africa.
They must play a central role in building a decentralized, citizen-owned future for Africa that will attract support and solidarity for local struggles, empower local leadership and immerse the activists in grassroots work of building social movements from below and beyond borders.
All Africans should be committed to organizing a citizen’s movement that is accountable to the constituencies they represent and enforcing the highest standards of ethical behavior.
On African Liberation Day, celebrated 25th of May each year, the African activists celebrate the Kilimanjaro declaration through evaluating their efforts to launch, organize & connect the local, national, continental, and global campaigns, and to galvanize solidarity with all of them so as to meet the agreed-upon goals of:
- Expanding the space for civic & political action.
- Fighting for women’s rights and freedoms across society.
- Focusing the African’s struggle on the Right to Equality and Dignity.
- Demanding good governance while fighting corruption and impunity.
- Fighting for climate and environmental justice.
- Committing to peace and non – violent action.
- Asserting inherent rights as Africans and inviting the African governments, leaders, chiefs, other stakeholders and institutions, to join this collective effort in pursuing the future we want for the coming generations.
- Mobilizing the people across Africa around this shared vision, and to continue building the momentum towards the genuine liberation of the continent.