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Kémi Séba, a figure of contemporary pan-Africanism

14.11.2018
Appreciated for his frankness and outspokenness, Kémi Séba has emerged in recent years as one of the fiercest defenders of the black cause. Whether on the economic or political issues that imply the sovereignty of African states, the activist of Benin, true name Stellio Gilles Robert Capochichi, stays off speaking in officialese when it is necessary to denounce with rage the woes that slow down development of the continent. His struggle is for Africa liberated from the chains of neo-colonialism and contemporary imperialism, and Kémi Séba wages it, first and foremost, for political and financial independence of his people. Often stigmatized on the French territory, where his commitment makes some gnash the teeth, he remains for those who have joined the battle of Patrice Lumumba and Thomas Sankara one of the major figures of contemporary Pan-Africanism.

PANAFRICANIST URGENCIES (URGENCES PANAFRICANISTES) – A MOVEMENT WITH HIGH IDEALS

It is through his pan-Africanist movement based in Cotonou, Benin, that Kémi Séba leads his various struggles for the appreciation of the black people. This structure, where he is presiding, was founded in Senegal and is above all a citizen movement that advocates the fight against the enslavement of the black people. Most of the members of the political bureau and council of the elders live on the African continent. The movement, which builds its fight around total independence of the black continent, is opposed to any foreign interference in the affairs of the African continent, be it financial, political, monetary, military, or even cultural. According to the NGO founded by Kémi Séba, to become fully emancipated, Africa must take over the responsibility for its destiny and stop continual dependency. This implies the end of the CFA franc legacy of colonialism, abolition of Western military bases set in African countries, and undermines sovereignty of the latter and rejection of any African culture inclusion by foreign traditions. For the organization, helping Africans to be masters of their destiny does not necessarily imply a breakup with the world around, but a point blank refusal of any passive submission to globalization. Instead of letting itself be invaded, Africa should rather open itself to fruitful cooperation with the outside world while preserving its autonomy.

While remaining firmly committed to African cultural values, the Pan-Africanist Urgencies (Urgences Panafricanistes) movement encourages the unity of African peoples despite their religious aspirations. It is opposed to discrimination on religious and native language  grounds that has led to fratricidal wars on the continent in recent years.

 

Emancipating the African people necessarily means becoming aware of their values, their heritage and their potential. movement is working on this through a series of conferences, symposia and debates that it organizes every year. . And his favorite target remains the African youth called to play his score in this fight.

 

THE FIGHT AGAINST NEOCOLONIALISM

 

Kémi Séba’s fight against neocolonialism also makes him an anti-Françafrique. This system, established for decades between France and its former colonies on the continent, especially those in sub-Saharan Africa, is denounced by the Beninese activist, who encourages African states to dissociate themselves from this incestuous alliance, the consequences of which affect the continent. This invisible tie, which persists year after year, has brought, according to Kéba, nothing to Africa if not fruitless military interventions (Northern Mali, CAR), assassinations of politicians, doubtful financial links between African leaders and elite French politicians, and takeover of African mineral resources by French multinational companies. Kémi Séba in his fight against neocolonialism struggles for a total break from this system, which is none other than the materialization of the French domination and which legitimately allows Paris to continue ravaging Africa. A well-thought system of exploitation that has made France one of the most developed countries in the world.

 

THE FIGHT AGAINST CFA FRANC

 

Kémi Séba’s fight against the FCFA has been much talked about lately. The anti-Françafrique activist hit the headlines last year, when at a rally in Dakar, Senegal he burned a 5000 FCFA bill. A symbolic gesture to denounce this currency that the figure of black radicalism presents as a “colonial economic and political scandal”. Even though this act earned him an arrest following the complaint of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) and later a court appearance in Dakar, Kémi Séba later admitted that he had no regrets about his actions which, according to him, were part of a revolt against “the monetary alienation from France”.

By reducing 5,000 FCFA to ashes, Kémi Séba also made the world aware of his struggle against the alienation of the black people and their enslavement from the former colonist. His incarceration, judged by many Africans to be unjust and disproportionate, has given rise to a series of demonstrations of movements and associations also engaged in the fight against the FCFA and for creation of a substitute currency specific to the nations that use it.

 

The question of the economic sovereignty of the countries of the FCFA zone, where monetary policy remains closely linked to the French treasury is a source of heated debate in Africa. Journalists, politicians, heads of states, economists and members of civil societies of the continent are increasingly concerned about the impact of this currency on Africa’s economic future. The debate is gaining momentum and outreaches through TV to homes, evidence that the fight led by activists, like Kémi Séba, has found a global resonance and is not about to stop going in the right direction.

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