Chants of “Africa Moja! Africa Huru! Africa Mashinani! Africa Moja!” and African Liberation songs rented the air as Bunge la Mwananchi (BLM) successfully hosted the first Kenyan Pan African Congress (KENPAC) at the Jeevanjee Gardens in Nairobi. Not even lack of resources and stiff opposition from other quarters could stop the resolve to hold the event.
The event that was initially planned to last for a whole day was cut to half day due to lack of resources. Charles Mc’Olonde one of the conveners of the KENPAC in his introductory remarks told members that the team that was elected at BLM to plan the event unanimously decided to go ahead with the event despite lack of resources. “we had intended to have tents, seats, PA System, Refreshments and hold it for a whole day but when we realized resources were not forthcoming, we decided to hold it at Jeevanjee in the open air and for half day because the date had been set” to the applause of participants.
But it was Chege Muli one of the founder members of the Pan African Movement – Kenya (PAM-KE) who inspired participants telling them that initial meetings to revive the PAM were held at Jeevanjee and were hosted by BLM in 2007. “We used to meet under the banner of One Africa Movement (OAM) before it became PAM and one of our achievements was to oppose the intended setting up of US African Command (AFRICOM) in Garissa” said Mr. Muli.
Muli narrated how OAM hosted a meeting at Charter Hall and when they were about to read the press statement, lights were switched off. “Undeterred, we moved and petitioned the relevant offices and held demonstrations prompting the US-AFRICOM to be moved elsewhere” Muli added to chants of “Africa Moja! Africa Huru! Africa Mashinani! Africa Moja!” from participants. He finalized by challenging participants especially members of BLM to embrace and take PAM to the grassroots as they are the ones who conceived PAM and nurtured it.
Discussion were held in four main platforms where participants deliberated on different thematic areas before developing resolutions that are to be presented during the East African Pan African Congress (EAPAC) to be held in Nairobi in the month of August. The platforms were Politics, Governance and Social Services; Peace and Security; Gender, Youth and Culture; and Economy and Trade.
Each platform had several thematic areas. Some of the thematic areas in the platforms were, Neo-colonialism in Politics and Governance platform; Terrorism Threat, Conflict Resolution, Proliferation of Arms and Foreign Military Presence in Peace and Security platform; Women and Youth Development, Older Persons, Language and African Cultural Development in Gender, Youth and Culture platform. Economy and Trade platform had Alternative to Neo-liberalism and Sustainable Development as thematic areas.
Each of the four platforms identified three delegates to represent Kenya to the EAPAC through consensus. “I am fully prepared to represent all the resolutions passed here today at the EAPAC without fear or favor” said Mr. Elijah Langat one of the delegates who was identified to represent Peace and Security Platform.
While giving her closing remarks, Wanjiru Ndungu one of the conveners of PAM-KE told participants that all the resolutions shall be circulated to participants for their final inputs in readiness for the EAPAC. “The resolutions of the first KENPAC, the full report and identified delegates shall be presented to the global office in Kampala Uganda and at the EAPAC” said Wanjiru. Prominent resolutions of the KENPAC were to hold KENPAC on the last Tuesday of July every year, to take PAM-KE to the grassroots and to hoist permanent flags of PAM and BLM at Jeevanjee Gardens to signify the rebirth of a United African Spirit.
In his vote of thanks, Mr. Wilfred Olal the outgoing National Coordinator of BLM thanked all the participants and the planning team who braved challenges to make KENPAC a success. He also thanked Hillary Mulialia for being consistent with the PAM and asked all the participants to be prepared to take PAM-KE to the grassroots.
Report by Cidi Otieno