FORMER AFRICAN UNION AMBASSADOR TO THE US
Married to the highly respected Dr. Nii Saban Quao, Her Excellency Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao grew up in a small village in Chivhu, Zimbabwe.
A first-generation immigrant to the United States from Zimbabwe. she completed her undergraduate studies at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee and graduated from Meharry Medical College where she earned degrees in general chemistry, a master’s degree in organic chemistry and a doctorate in medicine.
After practicing medicine for 25 years, she actively participated in many African Union programs and projects and was the Chair of the African Union-Diaspora Health Initiative, where she helped to mobilize health professionals from the diaspora to meet the health care needs of the African continent.
Since accepting the post of Ambassador of the African Union, Her Excellency Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao has earned praise as a leader who has brought renewed energy and new ideas to the mission of the African Union.
As one of those who are trying to undo what happened at the Berlin conference 134 years ago, when the various European powers were exploring, dividing and ruthlessly plundering the entire continent of Africa.
And considering these divisions as a cause of some of Africa’s problems that are still in effect today.
She seeks to bring together African states and Africans from the diaspora to build a strong and united African community.
Known as “Scramble for Africa”, thirteen European countries and the United States met in Berlin and established rules that divided Africa into 53 nations.
“They were going randomly to Africa to seize everything they could … [they say], let’s organize ourselves so that we can loot them effectively.”
This strategy is still in place, tirelessly, and no one disputes it. It’s just accepted, “she said. “
In January 2019, she launched the ‘’ Wakanda One ‘’ Project. The project will start in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Because it is these two countries that have made offers of land.
The “Wakanda One Project” is expected to raise $ 5 billion in development funds over the next five years or so. The project will be financed by Africans from all over the diaspora, who will be the sole owners.
It will include five centers of excellence in the five regions of the African continent. The five centers will be development centers with state-of-the-art health facilities, hotels, industrial residences
The African Union Commission under fire
The African Union Commission is under fire for sacking the outspoken Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao as the Permanent Representative of the African Union, Ambassador to the United States of America. In a letter dated October, 7th 2019, Dr. Arikana was given one month’s notice to vacate from her Washington based office.
Africans across the world were furious about this move by African Union Commission Chairman, Mousa Farki Mahamat and have signed a petition demanding an apology and the reinstatement of the Zimbabwe-born activist.
Among prominent African leaders who have called for Dr. Arikana’s reinstatement is Jerry Rawlings, former Ghanaian president and Floyd Shivambu Member of the Economic Freedom Fighters in South Africa.
Africans abroad and in Africa have vowed to boycott all African Union activities should Dr. Arikana not get reinstated.
It is speculated that Dr. Arikana faced the sack following her fight against modern colonialism and neo-colonialism in Africa. She has spoken openly about the colonial power and the role they continue to play in Africa.
Dr. Arikana has outrightly accused France of taking a lot of money from francophone African countries. She raises concerns that the majority of these countries are not independent of France. Through the Pact for the Continuation of Colonization Treaty, France is still economically controlling the regions.
In his letter to Dr. Arikana, Mr. Mahamat expressed confidence in her work by stating that the medical doctor’s work was commendable. He, however, did not state or show any reasons that may have led the Ambassador to lose her job.
In her role as the Ambassador of Africa Union Representation Mission, Dr. Arikana was able to sensitize and empower all peoples of African descent to come together and build the “Africa we want” as adopted in the Africa Union Agenda 2063.
She has been praised as a leader who’s brought new ideas and energy to the African Union Mission. The pan-Africanist is considered an asset to the African society who puts the interest of public supreme first.
Dr. Arikana speaks with conviction and passion. She has been insisting to speak on issues that have kept Africa behind the food chain of development. These are issuing that Africans have to fight to move forward. Her message of economically liberating and building a better Africa has resonated with many.
The project is aiming at mobilizing Africans living in the diaspora to raise developmental funds for Africa. The pioneer project is anticipated to cost 5 billion. Already, both Zambia and Zimbabwe have donated the land where centers of excellence are to be built. Tanzania and Kenya have also pledged to donate land for the region’s center. In these spaces, health care facilities, industrial homes, shopping centers, hotels, and other amenities are set to be built.
Dr.Arikana has been at the forefront of re-establishing a connection between Africans and Africans in diaspora. By investing in Africa, the Africans in diaspora are encouraged to move back to their homes and create better conditions for their continent.
Previously as the chair of the AU African Diaspora Health Initiative, she mobilized Africans diaspora health professionals in assisting with the Africa continent health care crisis.
Dr. Arikana’s mission and agenda for Africa did not start with her role in the AU. Long before her appointment, the mother of five had received an award from anti-apartheid revolutionary Nelson Mandela for her contribution to Africa.
In her final speech as the AU representative, the firm, authoritative but soft-spoken doctor spoke to a majorly black audience about her mission to fight against neocolonialism. ‘No one is going to give us our economic liberation, we have to just take it’ she stated.
Despite the unrest that her dismissal has caused among the Africans, the AU insists that there is nothing extraordinary about her sacking. Through the spokesperson Ebba Kalondo, the chairman’s office argues that the ambassador was a diplomatic servant on political appointment. Such employees serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority and can be dismissed at any time that the authority deems fit.
The petition is unlikely to move the AU because due diligence was followed in the laying off of Dr. Arikana.
The diplomat served the AU for three years before her sacking. Her greatest works are arguably uniting Africans through her message of hope and independence.
Post her AU mission in the USA, Dr. Arikana has vowed to organize more than a million people to sign a petition which she will present to the United Nations to chase France out of Africa. She promises to continue driving the agenda of a united independent Africa.
We must take Africa to that place and let Africa Occupy a placeH.E. Dr. Arikana Chihombori Quao,MD
By Emmanuel Kalumbata