By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
A speech denouncing France’s colonization of Africa and continued efforts to unite Africa and the African Diaspora may has cost Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, the African Union’s ambassador to the United States, her job.
“I will continue to speak out on the issues that affect our people, and I will continue to tell the truth,” Chihombori-Quao told NNPA Newswire in an exclusive interview.
The interview occurred just days after she received a termination letter dated Oct. 7 from African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat. The African Union has given her until Nov. 1 to clean out her office in Washington.
The letter didn’t specify the reason for firing the ambassador, who has served in that capacity for two years, and Mahamat didn’t return several messages left by NNPA Newswire.
African Union Commission spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo deflected questions about why Mahamat terminated Dr. Chihombori-Quao and about whether France had a hand in the ouster.
“Political appointees at the African Union, including Dr. Chihombori, are appointed at the discretion of the appointing authority. The duration of such political appointments is also determined at the discretion of that appointing authority,” Kalondo stated. “This is normal diplomatic practice for political appointees everywhere.”
A spokesperson for French President Emmanuel Macron declined to say whether or not Macron either ordered or played a role in the termination.
However, supporters of Dr. Chihombori-Quao remain adamant that the French government ordered the ambassador’s termination.
Dr. Chihombori-Quao has remained outspoken about a colonial tax on Africa that nets France about $500 billion each year. “It goes back to the Berlin Conference,” she said.
The 1884-1885 conference is considered the turning point in Africa’s history.
Before the conference, nations in Africa were treated as trading partners because of the continent’s vast resources and wealth.
The Berlin Conference ignited what became known as the “Scramble for Africa” between European powers like France, Great Britain, Italy, Portugal, Denmark and others.
“The globalization construct of divide and conquer is still alive and well,” the ambassador stated. “Benin and other small, dependent colonies in Africa and its people were forever defeated and dominated because of the Berlin Conference.”
The ambassador has worked diligently to try and reverse the effects of the conference. She has called on people throughout the African Diaspora to return home and put their money and resources back into Africa.
“More African physicians are practicing in the United States than those who practice in Africa,” Dr. Chihombori-Quao noted. She has even begun a development called the Wakanda One Village Project, which would include health care facilities, hotels, manufactured homes, and shopping centers.
“The dismissal of Arikana Chihombori-Quao, AU Ambassador to the United States raises serious questions about the independence of the A.U.,” said former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings.
“For someone who spoke her mind about the detrimental effects of colonization and the huge cost of French control in several parts of Africa, this is an act that can be described as coming from French-controlled colonized minds,” Rawlings stated.
“How can this shameful behavior emanate from us? A woman with all that it takes to galvanize our continent is chopped down by French-colonized power mongers good enough to be cleaners or pruning trees at the Elysee Palace. With leaders of this kind, how can this continent ever progress?”
More than 34,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org, demanding the reinstatement of Dr. Chihombori-Quao.
After almost a year of persuading her to assume leadership as the African Union Permanent Ambassador in the United States representing the 55 countries of the Union, Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao accepted the position in December 2016 and has led with courage and vigor in galvanizing peoples of African Descent, the petition states.
Dr. Chihombori-Quao has spoken globally to empower all those of African descent to come together.
The goal is to build the “Africa We Want” as adopted in African Union Agenda 2063, wrote professor Apollos Nwauwa, the secretary of African Diaspora Congress, who started the petition.
“The unification of the African Diaspora as espoused in A.U. Agenda 2063 is contrary to the Africa that has been marginalized and pillaged through inequitable colonial and post-colonial contracts. Dr. Arikana has been outspoken about neo-colonial maneuverings and exploitation that still exist today. Her dissemination of the truth has garnered her attention and support around the world,” Nwauwa stated.
The petition has the support of various organizations, including African Union African Diaspora Health Initiative, Africa In Diaspora, Voice, Pan African Diaspora Youth Association, Pan African Diaspora Women’s Association, Africans in Boston, The African Diaspora Foundation, DFW Inclusive African Community Organization and the Global African Business Association.
“People of African Descent around the world are appalled by Dr. Chihombori-Quao’s unjust dismissal,” Nwauwa stated.
“Instead of dismantling her movement to liberate the people of African Descent from colonialism and pursue financial freedom, her dismissal has galvanized African Diaspora in the spirit of UBUNTU – I am because you are!”