By Kemo Cham
President Abdoulie Wade sparked a fresh round of debate on reparation as he unveiled his latest controversial project, offering to provide the people of Haiti, the earthquake devastated Carebian nation, with a package of reparation in the form of a permanenet home in Senegal. According to Wade, Africa is the origin of Haitians, as descendant of former slaves, and given recurrent erruption of natural disaster in their lives, their best bet for safety is to come back ‘’home’’.
But the enormity of the cost involved in executing such an epic project is not lost on the president. And as you would expect, all attention is turned onto the colonisers – the same old colonial powers who seem to take all the woes that befall any African country today. “Our duty is to recognize their right to return to the land of their ancestors,” Wade said, and he added, ‘‘so now the problem is how and who will bear these costs.”
While President Wade believes that slavery is ‘’irreparable’’, he argues that the slavers [European countries] nontheless have a responsibility for their role not just in the enslavement of Africans but their eventual deportation of enslaved Africans in the Americas.
Wade’s announcement came amid increasing calls for international support for the people of Haiti. African countries, in the exception of a few, Ghana, Morocco and Rwanda, have been widely criticised for their unoticeable effort. From the unset, Wade’s proposal was bound to meet the criticism it has so far attracted, as many have been questioning the rational behind his call.
“This is not the first time that former slaves or their descendants are coming back to Africa. There is the case of Liberia, where they had to integrate into the local people to form the Liberian nation of today, President Wade said later on Sunday in an interview with a French journalist.
According to a presidential spokesperson, the size of land space that is intended to be made available would depend on the number of Haitians who offer to return. “If they are only a few people, we offer them a roof and a piece of land. If they come en masse, we will give them a region “said the spokesman, Mamadou Bamba Ndiaye.
While some say the president is just in one of his media attraction ploy, his supporters argue he sounds more like a pan-Africanist.
Haiti is said to be the poorest nation in the northern hemisphere, and given its similarity with Senegal, in terms of poverty levels, the stabllity in the West African nation with a population of 14 million and, of course, its status as a relatively prosperous African nation, Hatians could find a better place here, leaving behind the problems of frequent occurrences of catastrophies of this nature.
By Kemo Cham