By Kaddy Jawo
Delegates from more than 50 African countries are currently in Dakar, Senegal for a five-day Pan-African summit.
It brought together journalists, activists and artists across the continent to discuss issues of good governance and democracy, and how to get rid of dictatorships and reflect on activities in each respective country including strategies being used to work in civic spaces they occupy.
It is the first edition, under the theme Citizenship and right to decide, with a slogan Small weapons against bare hands.
The cry is from activists and artists from those countries to allow them to reflect on their activities and the kind of strategies that they need to deal with restrictions on civil society, corruption and bad governance.
The representatives, citizens and descendants of Africa, are part of social movements like Africans Rising, Black Lives Matter, Fees Must Fall, Rhodes Must Fall, Sindimuja, among others.
These Pan-African movements working for peace, justice and dignity, are determined to foster an Africa-wide solidarity and unity of purpose of the people of Africa to build the future that Africans want including right to peace, social inclusion and shared prosperity.
At the summit, they spoke of their outrage at the centuries of oppression; condemned the plunder of Africa’s natural and mineral resources and the suppression of fundamental human rights among others.
They called for the need for economic development that is just and embraces social inclusion and environmental care.
“Africans have a diverse, rich and powerful heritage, it is important to heal ourselves and repair the damage done by neoliberalism to our humanity and environment,” one speaker said.
The delegates also discussed the way forward towards realising the Africa that “most children would want to see, if not during their lifetime, for their children, grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
“Their conclusion is that the civic space is shrinking whether one is fighting corruption, gender-based violence, environmental issues, and unequal distribution of resources, mineral exploitation, electoral malpractices or unfair trade with the West.”