Speaking on the occasion of Africa Liberation Day or Africa Freedom Day being celebrated by many African countries on 25 May 2015, the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Peter Kodwo Appiah Cardinal Turkson has spoken passionately about the need for African governments to work towards nation building. Cardinal Turkson, who originates from Ghana, was speaking in Rome during an interview with Fr. Paul Samasumo of Radio Vatican’s English Service for Africa.
“A number of people in Africa value the sense of solidarity and belonging to tribal groups than to national groups,” he has said.
According to Cardinal Turkson, most African governments have not been able to achieve nation building and nationhood. The Cardinal says, “The historical creation of country boundaries in Africa was not done with a sense of dignity by colonial powers. The boundary making disregarded the question of who lives where and other crucial factors. Hence, this has contributed to challenges of nation building on the African continent,” Cardinal Turkson said.
Christians in Africa, the Cardinal emphasised, should particularly be at the forefront and speak the language of Saint Paul who says, ‘There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). “This has not happened in several places in Africa - and Europe as well. If that happens, one would expect that at least in the Church our sense of communion would supersede that of our tribal belonging. The value of ‘Family of God’ should drive people to realise that in a family there is belonging and fairness; in a family, relationships are reconciled and built,” he said.
Asked about one of Africa’s present challenges, migration and the current tragedies of young people dying in the Mediterranean sea on their way to Europe, Cardinal Turkson said that he appreciates what the European Union and what all other concerned groups are trying to do. He however says, “We should first learn to turn off the tap and not limit ourselves to mopping the water. It is of paramount importance to investigate questions about where the migrants are coming from and what is making them flee,” he said.
The Cardinal says that migration is a challenging issue that heads of states and governments in Africa need to look at seriously. He says that African youth are the ones who are capable of carrying out development on the continent and if they are abandoning the continent it would be difficult to develop Africa. “The human person, human capital is one of the greatest assets we have for development in Africa hence the need to invest in the capabilities of these young people and making them contribute to nation building is the way forward for Africa,” he said.
The Cardinal further challenged Africa to invest in the education of its people and make resources available to them.
(By Rudolph Nyamudo and Fr. Paul Samasumo/Vatican Radio)