Today, Ghana joins the rest of Africa to celebrate 55 years of the founding of the African Union (AU), originally the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
The union started with a meeting by African states held here in Accra with the common objective of fighting for freedom and bringing a stop to colonisation.
Among others, issues of promoting democratic principles and institutions, popular participation and good governance, promoting and protecting human and people’s rights in accordance with the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights were key in the establishment of the body.
The union was also to promote trade among African countries and ensure the free movement of people.
It has had both successes and challenges and many meetings held have been aimed at supporting members and ensuring a unified and strong body.
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Whatever these issues are, there is also the belief that some of them are within the powers of the continent and its leaders and, therefore, they could be solved.
The Daily Graphic believes that issues such as the free movement of people and goods and the removal of barriers and cumbersome procedures in trade can and must be resolved.
We are also of the view that corruption may have some outside influence, to a large extent and at all levels and that putting in place measures to ensure that the practice is stopped is a decision that should emanate from within.
The situation whereby some African leaders refuse to hand over power after their tenure and do everything, including amending constitutions, just so that they could remain in power must become a thing of the past.
The independence of the Judiciary must be ensured, while the media must be allowed to perform their work within an atmosphere that will be free from intimidation and fear.
The security of states and people must be taken seriously. Recorded cases in this country of security personnel being attacked in their line of duty, with some engaged in criminal activities, do not speak of a people who are conscious of our security.
Recent clashes between the military and the police buttress the fact that we care little about our safety, without which development will be far away from us. That is why such acts must be strongly condemned and those found to be involved punished as the law allows.
Again, terrorism is on the ascendancy, piracy has assumed alarming rates and cyber crime and money laundering seem to be getting out of hand. In this day and age, there are reports of women finding it difficult to access farmlands, while they suffer from many outdated and stereotyped traditional practices.
To ensure accelerated development, the continent must pool resources to fight crime at all levels.
And we call on governments to put in place policies that will protect women and children, provide comprehensive productive education for all and abolish unproductive and obsolete cultural and customary practices, such as female genital mutilation and terrible widowhood rites.
We wish all a happy AU Day.