Pres. Mutharika Speaks To African Parliament: Sells His Three Dev Pillars To The Continent
Malawi President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika who left the country for Pan African Parliament in Midrand,South Africa on Monday, today addressed the Heads of states , government officials and other delegates at the opening of the 4th ordinary session of the African August House.
In his opening remarks, Mutharika said he was honored and thankful for being invited and having the opportunity to address the parliament today.
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In a special way, I am also delighted to share this precious moment with my brother,His Excellency Roch Marc Kabore from Burkina Faso. Let me share that in Malawi, I have been promoting three pillars for development. These are patriotism, integrity and hardwork. Every time I think of integrity and its call for honesty, I have always remembered that Burkina Faso literally means “land of honest people.” You remind us one of the cardinal virtues that Africa needs –the need for honesty and integrity .
This august gathering occupies an important place in the destiny of Africa. We have met as African parliamentarians. We represent parliaments that also represent African people from every part of the continent.
This Parliament is founded on the principles of Pan-Africanism. Since the 1960s, be it in the Diaspora or here at home, African people have always aspired to pursue a common goal. In those days, Black Americans and Africans here on the continent understood themselves as sons and daughters of one Africa and always saw a common goal to pursue.
It was on the same spirit of Pan-Africanism that the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was founded. This is where the idea of African Unity comes from. We believe in standing together as a united front. We believe that united we are a rock, divided we are sand.
Our national boundaries should never be an excuse for division. I have used the word excuse because excuses are not reasons anyway. From the 1890 Heligoland Treaty to the 1964 Resolution on Border Disputes among African States by the OAU, there has never been a reason for disrespecting the territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations. Africa did not come to be what it is by mistake. It is then wise to remember that we co-exist peacefully because our forefathers who founded the countries we govern today valued unity in spite of our boundaries.
In 1964, we all pledged that we will respect the borders we found by colonialism. In Resolution 17(1) of the First Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the OAU, all member states solemnly pledged and declared “to respect the borders existing on their achievement of national independence.” The most outstanding of those forefathers was Julius Nyerere who sponsored the resolution and led Tanzania in playing an active role in respecting the territorial integrity we inherited from colonialism. Paradoxically, our unity lies in the borders that divide us. On 6th March 1997, in Accra, the founding President of Tanzania, Nyere himself, said we must continue respecting the borders we found because “without unity, there is no future for Africa.”
Ladies and Gentlemen
I want to emphasise the need for us in this Parliament to see ourselves as one people with one goal. It is impossible for this Parliament to achieve anything if we cannot share a common goal. Let us be guided by the wisdom of our people, who in one proverb say to us: “he who does not know where he is going will never know whether he has arrived.”
As Africans, we can best share a sense of a common destiny when we cultivate a shared critical consciousness of our history.
I am therefore delighted to note this Parliament considers African history as an important subject of discussion. I am looking forward to the times when the African Union will consider a common African history that every African child must know regardless of where one comes from. We need to share a common narrative that binds our solidarity.
The point I am drawing is simple. We speak about integration at various levels across the continent and in our regional blocks. But there can never be meaningful integration in Africa without a shared critical consciousness of our people.
We always talk about social, political and economic corporation and integration. But the first point of integration needed to be the way we think and define ourselves. A child born in one nation must grow up realizing what he or she shares with a child born in another country. It will be easy for those children to walk together, fight together and conquer together one day.
As we gather here, we already have many wars to fight and win on many social, political and economic fronts.
We need peace and security to prevail across Africa. In fact, in the complex world we live today, you do not need to go to war in order to be at war.
Think about cyber security! Developmentsin technology have brought cybercrime by which any country can be under attack at any time. In addition, African countries are fast becoming crime routes and corridors of terrorism.
In our quest for peace and security, we must also stop crime and terrorism being exported from one country to another through our countries. We must remember to stand together and remember – when you protect your neighbour, you protect yourself.
We need a shared atmosphere of peace and security for African economic growth and prosperity. We have the war on poverty to fight. Not only do we need African economies to grow, but we also need the participation of the people in that economic growth.
If our economic growth is to be meaningful, then we need the participation of women and the youth.
Women constitute almost half of the African population. Women empowerment is a vehicle for economic growth. In fact, there is no vehicle that can move when half of its wheels are not moving. Therefore, we have no choice but to promote women empowerment. And women empowerment must begin with investing in the girl child of Africa.
The situation of the African girl child also relates to yet another challenge that we face. The African Youth situation!
Africa is the youngest continent because the majority of our people are the Youth. About sixty percentof African population are the Youthunder age of 35. Unfortunately, the population in the youth bracket is still growing and Africa must be braced for more alarming figures.
As African Heads of State, we have agreed to make 2017 the Year of the Youth. As a Pan-African Parliament, you are mandated to advocate the policies and objectives of the African Union. And we say: Youth Empowerment is one objective you must aaddress this Parliament.
At the moment, the continent is unable to provide jobs for most of the Youth. This is creating a growing sense of alienation and frustration which is building up negative energy in our Youth.
The Youth are energetic people. They want something meaningful to do with their lives but there isn’t much around. They are moving fast forward on a continent that is moving slowly. Unless we are belligerent to move fast, the African Youth will slip out of our fingers.
Youth frustration breedspolitical radicalization. Youth poverty and joblessness can be the next cause for civil strife and political instability in Africa. Disenchantment and its subsequent radicalization can make our Youths vulnerable to outside forces of violent extremism and destruction.This is something that you and I can never, must never, and should never allow!
If there is a common cause on which Africa must unite, then it is the plight of the African Youth. If there is a common mission for our generation to pursue, then it is the destiny of the African Youth. If there is a common front on which Africa must fight, then we must fight the future of the African Youth.
I wish you productive deliberations on the various issues that concern mother Africa. We will wait to see action from our resolutions. Remember, resolutions are like children crying in the church, they must be carried out promptly.