This year’s African Union (AU) Day commemoration has been launched in Accra, with a call on individuals, state and non-state actors to support initiatives to weed out corruption from the country.
The day will be commemorated in Accra on May 25 with flag-raising at the forecourt of the State House.
A Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Charles Owiredu, who launched the event yesterday, urged the public to support the Office of the Special Prosecutor to tackle the canker head on.
He also stressed the need for all stakeholders to collaborate to effectively implement the National Anti-corruption Action Plan (NACAP), stressing that the policy had the potential to substantially make corruption a disincentive.
“The setting up of NACAP and the Office of the Special Prosecutor shows the government’s commitment to kick out this canker at all levels to promote sustainable national development and so everyone must do something to free the country of corruption,” he said.
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The AU, which was formerly called the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), was formed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 25, 1963 to provide a platform for African leaders to work together for the political emancipation of the continent.
This year’s celebration is the 55th edition and is being held on the theme: “Winning the fight against corruption: A sustainable path to Africa’s development”.
Activities lined up for the celebration include a health walk, a flag-raising ceremony at the forecourt of the State House, a cocktail and a quiz on the AU.
Mr Owiredu described the theme as appropriate, noting that corruption was the bane of the myriad of challenges confronting Africa and stressed that the time had come for an integrated approach to deal with the challenge across the continent.
Among other things, he noted that the theme for this year’s event was a wake-up call on all African governments to rise up against corruption, bad governance and negative attitudes that drew the continent back.
He called for a new mindset that would see Africans take charge of their own development agenda.
Mr Owiredu further urged African governments to work together to eliminate barriers to free trade and the movement of people within the continent.
“Flagship programmes such as the African Passport and Free Movement of People, the Single African Air Transport Market and Continental Free Trade Area and the implementation procedures being put in place by member states will undoubtedly go a long way to deepen continental integration and unity,” he noted.
A professor at the Institute of African Studies (IAS) at the University of Ghana, Professor Esi Sutherland-Addy, used the occasion to announce that the next Pan African Historical Theatre Festival (PANAFEST) would take place from July 25 to August 2, 2019.
She said the celebration would mark the 400th anniversary of the landing of freed slaves at James Town in Accra.
She urged Ghanaians and all Africans to see the commemoration of that event as an opportunity to write a good script about the continent’s contribution to global development.