by – Onyekwelu Nneka Catherine
Peace or Chaos?
October 7, 2020.
“Everything is ready boss”
“And the boys?”, Kofo asked.
“They’re ready for the move, boss”
“Good. Assign a country to each one, give them their files of operation. They are to move the day after tomorrow and we strike in 5 days”, Kofo commanded his young apprentice. He waved his right hand in dismissal and watched the young fellow scurry away.
He wore a satisfied grin on his face. This was his biggest operation yet. The global pandemic had delayed the operation as well as the signing of the bill. Now there are no longer restrictions of movement. If all goes according to the plan, his name would be the first call for any political errand.
Kofo picked up his burner phone and dialed the only number on it. The recipient picked up on the first ring.
“All is ready sir”, Kofo said.
“The bill would be signed tomorrow. Have your men ready. The strike should be in 5 days”, the voice on the other end hurriedly said.
“Yes sir”, Kofo responded. He heard the beep sound of the termination of the call.
October 8, 2020.
United African Chambers
“The bill for the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has been signed by the chairman. The presidents of the respective countries have also signed. This bill is to open up all borders and grant free trading as well as free movement amongst 55 African countries. 30 countries have complied with the domestic requirements for the ratification of AfCFTA. 28 countries have sent in their instrument of ratification. The country Eritrea is yet to sign this agreement but for now, we have 54 signatories.The main objectives of the AfCFTA are to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons and investments, and thus pave the way for accelerating the establishment of the Customs Union.This bill would go a long way in elevating our growth as a continent. We hope that other African countries, not registered in this bill, will see its beauty and join our course. The trade starts on the 9th of October, 2020”
October 9, 2020 – October 12, 2020.
The borders were down and trading had started amongst different African countries. According to the agreement, the AfCFTA was governed by five operational instruments, i.e. the Rules of Origin; the online negotiating forum; the monitoring and elimination of non-tariff barriers; a digital payments system and the African Trade Observatory. With the operational instruments, a successful continental market was in operation.
October 12, 2020
Kofo sat in front of the television, patiently awaiting the news of his successful operation. He had gotten the messages “DONE” from 4 out of his 5 representatives. They had successfully bombed several market places in five different countries. Or it could be four countries, since he was yet to get the message from the 5th representative.
His thinking process was interrupted by the news anchor. He picked up the remote to increase the volume.
“Tragedy struck among 5 different African countries today. During the early hours of today, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Niger and Chad had their several markets bombed intermittently. According to an alleged suspect caught by the police in Niger, the attack has been associated with the recent AfCTFA signed bill…”
Kofo switched off the television in anger. He was bothered about his payment and reputation in the light of this new development. The plan was to remain discreet and let countries with a history of enmity be blamed for the bomb blasts. He made plans to go into hiding. It was only a matter of time before he would be traced.
October 14, 2020
United African Chambers
Members of the chamber had gathered to determine their next course of action. Countries were threatening to pull out of the AfCTFA due to the bomb blasts.
“Even if the countries involved are not responsible for the bomb blasts, whoever is responsible is clearly not in support of AfCTFA”, one of the presidents said.
A few supported his statement while others disagreed, reiterating their own opinion.
“We know that the attack was orchestrated by one person and not different countries, are we to succumb to the threat of just one person?”, the representative of another country shouted.
“At the cost of how many lives do we choose not to succumb to the threat of one man? Let’s close down our borders and be assured of our safety”
“Let us all look at the bigger picture. With this AfCTFA, Africa stands to be one of the leading continents in the world, isn’t that what we’re striving for?”
“The culprit we have in custody, has he spoken up about who sent him? The earlier we tame the mastermind behind these bomb blasts, the better for all”
“If we suspend the implementation of this bill, what’s the guarantee that when it is eventually reenacted, another set of bomb blasts wouldn’t occur?”
The meeting was in chaos with different opinions from members. Votes of members were taken for the support, opposition and suspension of the AfCTFA agreement. Out of the 54 countries representatives present, 30 voted in opposition, 10 in support and 14 in suspension of the bill.
The meeting finally ended with the chairman’s released statement,
“We want the growth of our continent, but not if it would be detrimental to our lives. Until we learn to live in harmony, we can’t grow. Our very own weaknesses, which are rivalry, disunity, ethnocentrism, Xenophobia has been used against us. The AfCTFA bill has hereby been terminated. All borders should be closed down to ensure the safety of citizens in their country. For there is no country without her citizens and there is no Continent without its countries”
Kofo was surprised to get a call from the burner phone.
“Though there was a glitch in your operation, our motive has been achieved. The AfCTFA has been terminated. Your money will be wired to you immediately. Remember to stay low, else your captured friend at Niger would have their police trace you down”, the voice on the other end said.
Kofo felt relieved. He had plans to leave Africa with the incoming money. He waited patiently for the money as he kept telling himself, “Africa’s problems will no longer be mine”