African Union to Unveil Statue of Emperor Haileselassie
February 1, 2019 (Ezega.com) - The African Union (AU) will unveil the statue of Emperor Haileselassie in its compound as a founding fathers of the Organization of African Union (OAU), according Spokesperson of Foreign Affairs.
In briefing journalists, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Nebiat Getachew said preparations are underway for the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Africa Union whereby the statue will be unveiled.
The Spokesperson said “it will reflect the history of African liberation, integration, and Emperor Haileselassie’s indisputable role in the evolution of Africa’s development agenda.”
Emperor Hailesilassie of Ethiopia was one of African leaders who, In the early 1960s, when independence was sweeping throughout the continent, spoke about a united Africa that will end colonization in the whole continent.
Ghana’s first president, Dr Kwame Nkrumah, articulated the idea of African union in 1957 when Ghana gained independence from Great Britain.
Nkrumah further wrote about African unity and organised the first Pan-African meeting called the All-African People’s Conference in the same year. In 2012, the AU recognized his contribution with a statue at the AU headquarters.
The second president of Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, also penned down the concept of African unity while Tanzania’s first president, Julius Nyerere, expressed confidence in a united Africa.
Together, with the leaders of Algeria, Guinea, Morocco, Mali and Libya, they became known as the Casablanca Bloc, formed after the second All-African People’s Conference in Addis Ababa in 1961 and led by Nkrumah to push for a federation of all African states to be called the United States of Africa.
The United States of Africa concept was opposed by some leaders of other independent African states including Senegal’s Léopold Sédar Senghor and the leaders of Nigeria, Liberia and Ethiopia. They were referred to as the Monrovia Bloc and wanted unity to be achieved gradually while Africa remains a continent of independent states.
Subsequent debates over a United Government – before the OAU was formed – was held during meetings in the towns of Sanniquellie, Liberia and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 1959 and 1960 respectively. This was followed by an invitation from Emperor Haile Selassie to Addis Ababa for a summit.
Emperor Hailesialssie financed the building of an Africa Hall worth $2 million to provide a place for African leaders to meet. He also footed the bill for a luxurious guest house and banquet among others.
While many voiced for the immediate establishment of United States of Africa, others, including the host, Emperor Haile Selassie, urged for a step‐by‐step unity towards a union.
His proposal gained the signatures of all the 32 independent African states on the charter that established the Organisation of African Unity on May 25, 1963.