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( Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2007 )
Open Letter To H.E. John A. Kufuor, AU Chairman, President - Republic of Ghana
President John Agyekum Kufuor
President John Agyekum Kufuor
*God Bless Africa Rightful Winner of Anthem Category
The third ordinary session of the assembly of African Union which ended July 8, 2004 at the UNECA conference center, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia passed eighteen decisions and two declarations. Amongst them, endorsement of the recommendations of the 4th ordinary session of the Executive Council in March 2004 to retain the emblem and flag of the OAU as the new AU flag and emblem, and the decision to select the rearranged(revised) version of OAU anthem as the new African Union anthem. This meant African Union kept all the old symbols of OAU, including the anthem. The decision of the panel of judges on the symbols competition in terms of winners was kept a secret. Winners in the three categories of the competition(flag, logo & anthem) as determined by the judges were not announced.
The question is why did AU call for a Symbols Competition in the first place if they planned on adopting the symbols of the defunct OAU? Another question is what happened to the 2nd and 3rd winning entries assuming they claim all the OAU symbols were in the 1st position in all the categories. Something must have gone wrong. If AU is to adopt all the symbols of the defunct OAU, it negated their call for an African Union Symbols competition. Competition as we all know means determination of the best, and if this is true, were OAU symbols the best of all submissions?
My song God Bless Africa was one of the many songs that were submitted in the African Union Symbols Competition in 2003. God Bless Africa was voted the best song by the competition judges and the public( people voted online ). An interest group I gathered had three songs on the table which where pre-chosen without going through the competition. These songs included the original and revised OAU anthem and one made by one of the competition judges. Two of these songs due to pressure from the interest group were place above God Bless Africa, the revised OAU anthem placed first and the one composed by the judge second. Contrary to the determination by the judges and the public, who put my song in the first position, the group fraudulently placed it in third place. I was the only winner as determined by the judges in the Symbols Competition that got any form of award. Thousands of Africans who participated in the competition were neither recognized nor compensated. One may wonder what happened to the money budgeted for the winners in the competition by African Union. Apparently the second prize in the anthem category was paid to one of the competition judges and the real winner left out. I am not sure what happened to the anthem first prize.
In 2002 Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin, an Ethiopian playwright, and Poet Laureate composed a poem on the continent's cultural heritage. In 2004 a pressure group lobbied the AU Executive Council into adopting Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin's poem as the lyrics of African Union anthem. The music of the OAU anthem was used in the new anthem and the entire package called the revised OAU anthem, given the first place in the competition and adopted as African Union anthem. Neither the poem nor the package as revised OAU anthem was a candidate in the African Union Symbols Competition. This does not sound like a competition but conspiracy. May the soul of Tsegaye Gabre-Medhin rest in peace who died in Manhattan, New York on February 25, 2006 at the age of 69.
The rules of the competition were not adhered to. Winners were to be presented to the AU Assembly which was not done, maybe because I would have been the only winner there. Something went terribly wrong with the competition and should be investigated. For the rules of the Symbols Competition refer to the link:- http://www.artthrob.co.za/03apr/exchange.html#africanunion
God Bless Africa can be listened to online at http://www.africamasterweb.com/godblessaflyrics.html Comparison of God Bless Africa and the politically adopted African Union anthem can be made at http://www.africamasterweb.com/AuAnthem.html
My award letter in the African Union Symbols Competition can be viewed at:- http://www.africamasterweb.com/AuAnthemLetter.html The AU Commission Chairman's award letter is un-factual. The AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government never voted on the songs. The African Union Symbols Competition Organizing Committee and the Executive Council should be investigated. The neglect of indigent Africans that participated in the competition should not be allowed to stand. It is ridiculous for the judges most of whom are affluent to be paid to determine winners to be ignored, most of whom were struggling to make a living. This is not the Africa AU was formed to transform into the peoples' continent that is to take its rightful place in the world.
Below are the names and contact information of the judges in the Anthem Category of the African Union Symbols Competition:-
C/O Directeur de Cabinet du
Ministre de la Culture et des Arts.
2. Mr. Idris Elbanona (Sudan)
3. Mr. Kethabile Shasha (Lesotho)
4. Mr. Nthankeg Selinyane (Lesotho)
5. Lt.Col. Serigne Falou Wade (Senegal)
6. Mamadou Aliou Barry (Guinea)
7. Dr. Martin Watt
8. Mr. Adum- Attah
9. Mr. Axali Doeseb
10. Mr Francis Matambirofa
11. Prof.Guy Léon Fylla
12. Prof.André Patient Bokiba
13. Prof. Luis Filipe Fumo
14. Mr. Boniface Mganga
I hereby, Your Excellency, request an investigation into the allegations made here-in and if verified humbly plead that you use your good office in bringing justice to your loyal African citizens by:-
1. My song God Bless Africa given its rightful winning place(1st position) in the competition, and my short payment of $4,000.00 paid to me( I was paid $3000.00 for the 3rd place instead of $7000 for the 1st place).
2. God Bless Africa adopted as the official African Union anthem unless the AU Assembly feels otherwise, she has the prerogative on which song to use as its anthem. The AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government did not have the opportunity to listen to God Bless Africa. The AU Assembly did not vote on the winning songs from the competition, rather the Executive Council was either pressured or deceived into a rigged decision. I will dispatch to you in the next couple of days via U.S. mail, a God Bless Africa CD, to familiarize you with the song which has the short versions downloadable on the Internet.
3. The song by the competition judge that was placed second be disqualified and the rightful winner paid the prize. It is conflict of interest for a competition judge to be declared a winner in the same competition he served as a judge.
4. All winners in the three categories(flag, logo and anthem) as determined by the judges be duly compensated and scheduled to meet the AU Assembly. This is in compliance with the rules of the competition( refer to http://www.artthrob.co.za/03apr/exchange.html#africanunion ).
I hope you use your good office as AU Chairman in bringing relief to these mistreated Africans, this is the only way to groom and nurture patriotic citizens of Africa.
God Bless Africa.
Chief Charles O. Okereke
AU Anthem: Comparing & Contrasting
Purchasing God Bless Africa CD
God Bless Africa Homepage
African Union Website
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