ACCRA — The modern African state is the product of a colonial enterprise, which collapsed, in the post-traumatic stress of World War 2. The pre-colonial African states were independent self-governing entities with highly sophisticated forms of government. They were based on sound political and social theories although many were suffused with religious undertones. The state had the legitimacy of the government, it had efficient systems of taxation and national mobilization. However, these traditional African states in the whirlwind of the rapacious colonial adventures of the West ceased to exist as independent entities.

They found themselves in agglomerations called colonies by the European colonial adventurers. Using Ghana as a classic case study, citizens of states like the Asante Confederacy, Dahomey, the Fante Confederacy and Dagomba with traditional rights now  found themselves residents of a colonial contraption with no properly defined legal identity except that of the pejorative term natives.  Independence from the western colonial adventurers created the modern African State which is practically for all purposes a forced union of traditional African states partially or fully (taking cognizance of the fact that some traditional African states found themselves divided  between different colonial entities).

The issue after independence was how to forge a unified nation state from a collection of traditional African states that a priori did not come together voluntarily reaching a consensus about a voluntary union state and the rights and obligations of the traditional entities within that new nation state.  Many African states like Ghana for example, to deal with this chose a unitary structure or macro federal structure of government like in the case of Nigeria. The unitary or federal structure of government was borrowed lock stock and barrel from western models without any adaption to African ethnic and traditional notions of government.

Thus arose issues of who or which ethnic groups wielded power in the new states whether unitary or federal.  This resulted in long bouts of political instability punctuated by paroxysms of violence reaching their apex in civil wars. We have the exact example of Biafra that attempted to secede from Nigeria and create an independent state during the Nigerian civil war of 1967-1970.

A possible solution to such issues of power devolution is the concept of micro-federalism within the unitary or macro federal African state. We will use Ghana, which is a union of traditional states as an example to explain the practicalities of the micro-federal concept.

Ghana consists of ten regions with further sub divisions into 216 districts. The districts have a district assembly with members partially elected with the remaining one third appointed by the president in consultation with traditional authorities and other interest groups in the district. The district chief executive is appointed by the president in consultation with the members of the district assembly. The financing of the districts is through the district assemblies’ common fund that receives five percent of the total revenue collected by the central government in any given year.

This decentralized system of local government although a step in the right direction still falls short of the kind of micro-federal structure that we envisage. The all-powerful presidency appoints all the district chief executives throughout the entire country and a full one third of all district assembly members. This is a reflection of the unitary structure of the district assembly local government concept. The presidency still directs the micro activities of the various districts through their appointments of the district chief executives.

A micro-federal structure envisions that the people of the district will directly elect the district chief executive. The electorate of the district will also directly elect all members of the district assembly, which will then choose by democratic vote in the district assembly the presiding officer of the district assembly.  The issues of revenue collection and financial allocation of resources can also be further decentralized. This ensures that the local residents of the district are in control of their own local affairs and can demand accountability from the district chief executive that they directly elect.

What about control over local resources like mineral and water rights that are found in the district? These resources belong partly to the indigenes of the local traditional areas that make up the district and to other non-indigene residents of the district and to the nation at large.

We propose the establishment of two types of corporations, a District Development Corporation incorporated by the district assembly at the administrative level and a Traditional Area Development Corporation incorporated by the Traditional Area/s governed by the traditional authorities. These two development corporations will split equally a third of the equity in any subsoil or water resources development in the area. This ensures that the residents of the district both traditional indigenes and non-indigene residents have a stake in the sub-soil resources on the lands they live on. This can certainly reduce or eliminate the tensions between local traditional communities and companies that exploit the mineral wealth located on the lands of these communities. The profits from such equity stakes can serve as a revenue source for district level development. The introduction of local income taxes is another possible revenue source for the districts in addition to a progressive national income tax.

This model of micro-federalism empowers local communities, gives them an equity stake in the mineral wealth of their lands, and makes them responsible stakeholders in district and national level development.

In parallel with this micro-federal structure, a confederal model on the continental level is a realistic model of African integration. Confederation is a historical conceptual model for political integration found in Africa. The earliest historical example found is the rule over Kemet and Nubia by the pharaohs of the 25’Th dynasty. Kemet and Nubia although separate states were joined together in a super state union under the pharaohs of that dynasty. Other confederal super states like Ghana, Mali and Songhai arose in the western Sudan and were marked by centuries of political stability and highly sophisticated forms of state administration.

Such a confederal African super state, which we envision as a confederal parliamentary super state can start with a few states integrating in a confederation and gradually expanding to cover the African Union. We envision the process whereas the confederal African super state expands and the African Union contracts until we reach a convergence where the entire African Union becomes a confederal entity.

This African confederal super state does not need to have a single capital. It could have four or more confederal capitals. The Russian Federation for example has two capitals Moscow and Saint Petersburg that hosts the constitutional court, Russia’s Supreme Court.  Nation states within the confederal state would maintain broad autonomy and have control over their local affairs. The confederal center will have responsibility for defense foreign affairs and a unified monetary space.  National military forces will partly become interior ministry troops while the rest would be confederalized for the confederal army. A confederal parliament composing of two chambers will make laws for the confederation and would appoint the upper echelons of the confederal armed forces. This will guarantee that the armed forces is accountable to the elected representatives of the African peoples of the confederacy and not to an executive branch that can act dictatorially and imperialistically if it controls the instruments of organized violence.

A confederal supreme court would interpret the laws made by the parliament of the confederation. Its decisions will be binding when it comes to constitutional matters concerning the confederal state. It would be based in one of the confederal capitals.

The head of state of the African Confederacy can be a collective body of individuals elected by universal suffrage whose collective role is ceremonial. The confederal parliament and its various committees of the upper chamber will delegate real executive power to the confederal Prime Minister chosen by the confederal parliament who will head a Council of Ministers acting as the executive branch and the government cabinet.

Ayi Kwei Armah, the celebrated Ghanaian and African writer, on March 17 2016, in a video from Senegal, the Global Conversations with students of Morehouse College and the University of Ghana, suggested an intriguing idea. A continental African language could be based on resurrecting the use of the language of Kemet. This classical African language as a base could be fused with parts of modern African languages to create a continental language taught in schools across the continent.  This would solve the problem of which language to use as a unifying authentic African language. We all have the unifying consensus that it is the oldest classical and literary language existing on the continent and the earliest civilization in Africa.

This would have the effect of linguistically and psychologically linking this new confederal African parliamentary super republic with ancient Kemet and powerfully establish the confederal African state as the legitimate historical successor state to Kemet in the same way that Russia is the successor state to Byzantium and the Soviet Union.

We have a modern example of the creation of a new language to unify a diverse group of people. Indonesia after its independence in 1945 from the Dutch brought together a group of linguists to create a new language out of the disparate languages and dialects of the vast Indonesian archipelago.  They succeeded and this creation is called Bahasa Indonesian, which was taught in schools and is now spoken by virtually all Indonesians and acting as a unifying factor.  The task in Africa is infinitely easier; we already have a base language, the language of ancient Kemet.

The combination of micro-federalism on the local scale and a confederal republic on the continental scale with a unifying language based on that of Kemet as proposed by Ayi Kwei Armah is a viable and realistic path to achieving African political, economic and linguistic integration. We as African peoples are ready for the task. We must.

15 COMMENTS

  1. Everything’s been said and done in this article. It’s a good base to start the reunification of our Homeland.

  2. Jehuti Nefekare has, once again, made a brilliant contribution to thinking out loudly the solution to the geopolitical problems of Afrikan people throughout the continent and diaspora of Afrika! Nevertheless, nothing will come out of such kinds of brilliant thinking out loud online, in books and in the media, unless their proponents get out into the midst of the ordinary suffering masses of our Afrikan people at home and abroad and, like Ngugi wa Thiong’o and others used to do before being violently chased out of Kenya into exile in the university comfort-zones of the United States of America (USA), practically fight for their comprehension and implementation alongside the mostly non-Euroliterate masses of our underprivileged Afrikan people in the various grassroots nooks and crevices of the continent of Afrika! The likes of Ayi Kwei Armah have been writing brilliantly and talking to their petty-bourgeois intellectual friends and students in the ivory tower institutions of the Establishment Academia and the bureaucracies of NGOs in and outside Afrika without any indication that they take him seriously enough to do anything other than misuse those ideas in engagements in what Ghanaians call “booklong” talkingshops of pseudointellectual masturbation in elitist conferences, seminars, workshops, etc, including those that are pretentiously advertised to be about Pan-Afrikanism! I wonder to what extent Ayi Kwei Armah, whose brilliant works I love beyond any measure, is contributing to the promotion of the grassroots conscientization of youths, particularly underprivileged young people and students in villages. small towns and urban slum schools, colleges and other educational institutions in deprived rural and urban areas, who are most likely to grasp the importance of his revolutionary ideas because of their relevance, in terms of the well known axiom of Amilcar Cabral, to resolving their everyday problems! I wish Ayi Kwei Armah were, to my own and public knowledge, active in grassroots educational work among underprivileged youth and students at least in the mostly indigenous residential areas and migrant slums of Accra! Mawuse Yao Agorkor, Emmanuel Nat Doku, Wedam Abassey and other young Activist friends of mine now involved in pooling their fragmented groups and efforts together in building the Ghana Youth and Students Changemaking Alliance (GYASCA) would gladly appreciate the support and assistance of the likes of Ayi Kwei Armah and Jehuti Nefekare! As far as the ideas proposed by Jehuti in the article above are concerned, it will be good, in addition to the GYASCA, to discuss working on their practical realization as relevant to the groundup work of People’s Self-Empowerment for Decolonization and Participatory Democracy that has already started being done in this direction by the Peki-based KILOMBO, through its Ghana Street Parliament (GSP) initiative in the South Dayi Constituency of the Volta Region, and the Accra-based VAZOBA, in conjunction with others, through the Global Afrikan People’s Parliament – Glocal Affinity Action Learning Link (GAPP-GAALL), in the Greater Accra Region, of Ghana. As Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah very well put it: “Thought without Practice is empty; Pracice without Thought is blind”!

  3. African unity always excites me! Let me first address the micro-federalism idea. Some of our districts are very small with tiny populations not enough to generate enough funds through taxes and fees. I am all for power devolution at the local level but we need to factor in that some districts as they are currently structured are not financially viable units. Perhaps some of these districts need to merge with others.

    On the continental level, I am more of an economic union advocate rather than for a political union. I guess pragmatism is the thing that feeds this sentiment of mine. I think Africa can derive the full benefits of a union by simply setting up an economic union with a common currency and common trade policies toward other countries.

  4. Any idea of ‘micro-federalism’ will be disastrous. Divisions would be done possibly along ethnic lines. And I can foresee the issue of ‘border’ disputes and of leadership.
    This prescription would ignite smouldering internecine antagonisms that will permanently balkanise and disintegrate the continent.

    • Kofi, it depends on what mechanism to create the federal states. What I foresee which will be viable in creating the states without tears is using population in economic view rather than ethnic and land marks style of balkanisation. Federalism according to population is better to support economic activities in defined state. There is hope!

  5. First of all Akosua, I use this opportunity through you to congratulate the writer with deligent effort to produce Vol.1 of a Manifesto that provoke a true modern revolution, as a modern component version of Dr. Nkrumah et.al; How i wish to deeply analysed this manuscript but this page will not permit, however working out also with another Manefesto possible will be the Vol.2 to compliment the whole body of knowledge for the true freedom we seek for Africa, as it has a role to guide the paths meticulously as the day of Karl Marx.
    Before Dr. Nkrumah would publish his politico-economic pathway as an astute Pan-Africanist, every one will agree with me, as a social scientist he may have some premises to build his doctrines. But to justify whether faulty or accurate comes with experimentation to amend the wrongs and continue with the correct ones. Which the coup detat did not give him that opportunity

    Premise 1: He assume that Traditionally the African man has communal spirit embedded in our culture which I term it Economics of Co-operations. Therefore felt what needed at moment was to seek ye the Political Kingdom the rest will be added.
    With another Premise that the Colonial structures were well established, what needed is to drive it to sychronise with his first premise of the grassroots then his hope of Scientific Socialism is automatically won.
    But something happened which my curiosity brought me on the table of Prof. Nubuor a Marxist-Nkrumahist. And he said the civil service structure build by the colonial masters was “impermeable” (you can’t easily sink policy and implementation through it easily) this is the fustration encountered by all modern politicians in control of affairs in Africa.

    That would have made it easy to link the Colonial structures to the grassroots structures. Per the wonderful paper work of the writer. This colonise structures will fustrate the program of unification. So what he has to do was to create alternative state structures quick in response with the people owning power but time could not permit for his overthrown.
    ———”————————–
    Now for language proposal was assume could further strengthen bonding spirit for our unification to avoid any future capitalistic mindset that could cause devision on years fought vision but the mentality of imperialism on some of the comrades in the direction of solitary and individualism to maintain their leadership opportunities, benefit and leverage among most of them caused the misinterpretation of the good idea as self interest and ambitious agenda for one person to rule Africa, with the purpose to deny the rest this leadership blessings. Up to date is the cause roots.

    Now Each of the African state seeking superiority as capitalist style of thinking to make his homeland language to be adopted.

    To end this stupidity is to go back and construct the kemet language for easy study and speaking, to be a common language. Which you have done justice to it.

  6. Finally I want the writer to know; historic antecedent deduce clearly that civilisation started with communalism, through certain “class struggle” led to feudalism and gave birth to capitalism. Therefore any new “Politico-economic order” will be born out of Capitalism as a bases to destroy Capitalism itself and transform the system into a new order, could be called “Scientific Socialism”, i am fine with it.

    which will be a true revolution. Remember all this were born on “Economic interest” agenda and political structures were built to protect that agenda to survive and sustain it; resulting to modern studies of Political Economy.

    So when Political Economist preaching Political structures as a bases to create nucleus economy is a clear confusion of knowledge which Western world built as knowledge propaganda to make the terian very complicated for easy understanding.

    When such intellectual misleading path is driven into revolution, will get no where but to a crash because it will never attract the masses.
    It only economic agenda that draw the masses into revolution to support in the fight due to intersection of their economic interest

    The style of Dr. Nkrumah was on this pathway; politics to economy but remember that was not constructed in vacuum, rather was driving on some premises which some have been elaborated by my first post

    which the test of experimentation was driving them in corrections as they were moving forward.
    —-”-‘—————————
    And I have made my premise now, a Revolution that is not born out of Capitalism to destroy it existence just as history attest will never be a true revolution that will meaningfully head any where.
    That is my premise, you could choose to disagree but that is my findings.

  7. It is always good for someone to sit down and think about his or her people and the way forward for them. I thank the writer for doing that. But there are significant problems with his ideas. 1. Africa has never lived as a super-kingdom before. That is not our history before the contact with Europe. That is definitely not our future either. The future of Africa doesn’t lie in any form of continental government. The future lies in good governance. I don’t know why some think bringing corrupt and incompetent 54 governments together will result in a competent continental government. 2. Ghana is over-governed with its 216 districts which range from 3m to 30 000 people. As it is, Upper West and Upper East regions of 0.7m and 1m people are non-viable and non-competitive. There is a reason why they are the poorest in the country. The writer didn’t say what should happen to the 10 regional administrations which range from 5m to 0.7m people and their leaders which were all appointed by the President even in regions he lost. The whole thing is a big joke.

  8. 3. The unitary state was the creation of Nkrumah. The Whiteman left a Regionalist Constitution as our Independent Constitution. It was a watered down version of a federalism or rather a midway solution between a federal and unitary state. It had Regional Parliaments with delineated functions. Nkrumah threw it away just after independence. 4. Let us find a national language for Ghana 1st before talking about continental language. 5. The proper form of federalism we need is the one focussed on economics and factors of production, chiefly labour. I’m talking of population size. African Reform Movement of which I’m the Founder believes 8-10% of our population should constitute a State and each State should have 5 districts of 1.6-2% of national population. We call it Economic Federalism or Eco-fed for short. That is only way we will have all States starting with similar labour size. We have a formula that will also give reasonably fair distribution of funds so the capital side of factors of production is also taken care of. No long winding ideologies, simple practical solutions. Thank you.

  9. What do you mean by the term “Super Kingdom” Nii Amu Darko
    However your assertion presume; the presentation of colonisation is a blessing in disguised or misunderstanding the content of your post.

    The lack of Unification today in Africa is as a result of a complete installation of all modules of capitalism from top to down, all ministries everything including the educational system, the church etc. (Definition of class struggle of economic interest agenda)

    So when I use the word capitalism it should not be taken as a word, but it form of operations across the length and breadth of everything we do now on this continent, becoming the building blocks of economic survival. And that alone will not permit economic viability of Federalism on idealogical stands until it strongly connected to the grassroots by an economic agenda that has intersection of grassroots economic interest in simple language. Such is giving birth of a new order out of the capitalism which I complement the writers effort in that direction but in revolutionary pathways the implementation plan need to be consciously constructed with a lot of cautions

  10. Boss Tweneboah Senzu, do you mean you don’t understand the context within which I used Super Kingdom? I see. I don’t presume colonization is a blessing or a curse. I personally don’t have time for such things. Whether good or bad colonization created a nation-state Ghana. The colonialists knowing the multi-ethnic nature of the country helped write a Constitution which gave some powers to the regions through the Regional Assembly concept. Our 1st government threw it away. Look at where we are today? Please, I’m not interested in capitalism this, socialism that and revolutions whatnot. I’m interested in simple common sense solutions to everyday, common problems. Thank you.

  11. Tweneboah, if get you well then your problem is to do away with capitaism first before implementation of any policy.
    Eco-fed, that's economic federalism with its structures need not to deal with the capitalist or the socialist first.
    The size of a population and the natural resources available determines the economic strength of an area. Capitalist will still invest or operates within that confines. Federalism allows the people to rule themselves without blaming the central government. My view. Thanks

  12. Geographical divide of the continent was strategical done to make it economically unprofitable at the macro scale therefore will be force to be dependent on capitalist system as your Eco-fed statistics depict.

    Collins Larbi have you wondered by United Kingdom liberate America went ahead to form United State of America. As a result, the saxons family marrying the New American federation to become Anglo-American cilivisation.

    Critically study the purpose behind the earlier war between Anglo saxons and the French.

    And you will understand my argument and where I am coming from, that nothing you see today, happen accidentally but was calculated with good forecasting. And to reverse the equation need similar momentum not mere talk show.

  13. I’m the type that believes life is all about trying to make things work, and I think I’m right because systems are imperfect and is part of what humans do to try to make systems work for them. The US had anti unionists and if I remember my US history correct, groups in Boston and other places were skeptic from day one, at some point the commonwealth of Massachusetts threatened to leave the union. I’ve not read it yet but the prospects of reading it excite me. I believe potential conflicts can be defeated using the same state control of use of, and threat to use violence just like the Eurocentric system has. Whatever we end up calling the devolution, as long as sovereignty, military command, foreign and security policy as well as int. trade are with Addiss Ababa and the system is somehow capable of redriaburing wealth, then we can make it work.

  14. A super state is an evolutionary necessity. If it does not spring from the functional integration of Africa through regional blocks, a hostile global environment of other super states like China, United States of Europe, USA, Russia, India and others that are coming up due to hostile pressures and self interest, for example the gradual convergence of the ASEAN region due to China’s rise, will create the fertile conditions for it to emerge. The natural conditions for a super state in Africa already exist- though much has been made of the many ethnic groups, a closer inspection shows that we all belong to 3 or 4 major groups. Hausa, Fulani, Mande, the entire Bantu belt, Swahili, these are trans regional entities. Once external interference is rebuffed and economic unions are allowed to work political unions will necessary follow. What is important is not to cast the whole thing and stone but to make it flexible enough for corrective mechanisms to kick in as we go. This bottom up approach to African state formation is something that has exercise my own mind for a while. If the artificial borders come down first that will be a good start.

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