Recently, I was honored to meet Arikana Chihombori-Quao, Africa Union ambassador, at the World Conference of Mayors at Tuskegee University. She delivered a masterpiece that those of us in attendance will never forget. The event was led by Tuskegee, Alabama, Mayor Johnny Ford, founder of the World Conference of Mayors.
The ambassador provided a roadmap for us in Africa and in the diaspora to follow in joining forces and ending domination of our lands and our resources by foreign powers, so they can be used to benefit people of African descent. Her inspiration and vision resonated so much that we returned home with our marching orders, ready to go to work to help make her vision a reality.
Upon our return we received the devastating news that the ambassador had summarily been relieved of duty! The unorthodox removal was led by those who’ve obviously never been weaned from their mental slavery. They care more about their own selfish needs — and going along to get along with the neocolonialists — than they care about our own African people.
If they thought they could get away with this, they are sadly mistaken. As I write this, petitions are being circulated throughout Africa, the Caribbean, the United States and anywhere the diaspora lives. Her removal was clearly a strike to silence her after her criticism of France for continuing to colonize and rip off funds from the French-speaking African countries — charging more than 85% in taxes and fees, collecting a $500 billion every year — while the people of Malik, Guinea, Chad, Cameroon, Senegal and other countries live in abject poverty. She not only pointed this practice out, but called for ending the practice and returning the lands. Their response was to try to silence her by removing her from her post without due process.
We can’t let them get away with this!
We must take a stand as we’ve taken a stand on so many issues all over the world. Whether you’re in a sorority or church organization, whether you’re an educator, parent or elected official — you can help.
We must take heed of the Biblical verse from Isaiah 32:9 that says, “Rise up ye women who are at ease; hear my voice ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech.” It’s as though that verse was written by the ambassador and for women sent for such a time as this.
Let us begin with the simple signing of a petition to reinstate her (https://www.change.org/p/african-leaders-and-presidents-reinstate-african-union-ambassador-chihombori-quao).
Let’s show our support for our sister, for the liberation of our African brothers and sisters and for the unification of those of us in the diaspora worldwide.
Ambassador Chihombori-Quao has consistently exhibited her ability to galvanize our people even before her address to the World Conference of Mayors. From her participation in the Congressional Black Caucus, interfacing with other African American leaders — as well as leaders throughout Africa — who’ve had the good fortune to work with her, she has left a lasting impression and vision of what Africa can become under her leadership. It’s this leadership of which they are trying to deprive us.
As soon as it was learned she’d been dismissed, a firestorm of anger and consternation arose. Petitions were drawn up and circulated in support of returning the ambassador to leadership of the Africa Union. In the first couple of days of this dastardly act of dismissing her, about 50,000 people signed the petition. That number is steadily growing. Keep the momentum up. Keep the pressure on.
The organization spearheading the move to reinstate the ambassador is the African Diaspora Congress. They were formed for the diaspora and anyone of African descent having at heart the social, cultural, economic promotion of Africa wherever they live.
Williams is president of the National Congress of Black Women.