President Paul Kagame this week officially began his chairmanship of the African Union. The atmosphere that accompanied the ceremony was that of hope. Hope that the continent was finally on the right track.
The first incident that triggered hope was that at least half the member countries had started to execute or were on the verge of implementing the AU self-financing mechanism.
The other was the adoption of the Continental Free Trade Area that is slated to be signed in Kigali in March. This is a very key achievement that needs its own chapter. Without free movement of people and goods, the dream of integration would remain just that; a dream.
And that would not be complete without mentioning that over 20 countries ratified a treaty to liberalise their airspace. Of course, the icing on the cake was the coming into force of the widespread reforms, a task that was handed to Kagame by his peers to lead.
But as Africa was celebrating, the same old ghost of unforgiving imperialist and bigoted French media was seeking to spoil the party. They outdid each other in trying to undermine Kagame’s occupation of the top seat with all sorts of deliberate inaccuracies and distortions.
The fact that Africa had found a formula to wean itself off dependence on foreign aid did not seem to augur well among some sections of the French media. One even intimated that the reform agenda was forced upon some countries, especially francophone.
But no amount of subversion will stop an Africa that has finally found its voice and leaders who will manage to steer off detractors’ paths who are still gnawed by neocolonial mentalities.