Thursday, July 20, 2017

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos Back in Africa After 'Private Visit' to Spain
Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has returned from Barcelona after a “private visit” that came a month after the 74-year-old leader spent several weeks in the Spanish city receiving medical treatment.

Dos Santos, Africa’s second-longest ruler, arrived in Luanda late on Wednesday after leaving for Spain on July 3, authorities said, without giving details of his trip or his condition.

It was his second visit to Spain in the last three months.

Foreign minister Georges Chikoti confirmed on May 29, during dos Santos’s previous visit to Spain, that he had gone there for medical reasons.

Dos Santos’s previous trip sparked speculation over his health, and private media reported that Angola’s leader of 38 years had suffered a stroke, although the government declined to comment on his condition.

Dos Santos is due to step down as president, and general elections have been set for Aug. 23.

The Soviet-trained oil engineer and veteran of the guerrilla war against Portuguese rule has presided over an economic boom in Africa’s second-biggest oil producer since the end of a long civil war in 2002.

Angola Rejects EU Election Observers' Demands Saying This is Africa Not Europe
20 July 2017 3:13pm

Angola has rejected conditions demanded by an EU election observer mission that had been preparing to witness next month's polls in the country, state media have said.

The European team had called for unfettered access to polling stations across the vast southern African nation during the August 23 vote.

"So this is Africa. And we do not expect anyone to impose on us their means of observing elections or to give lectures," said Foreign Minister Georges Chicoti according to the Journal de Angola newspaper.

"The invitation stands. But we do not want to have separate agreements with all of the organisations (sending observers)."

Chicoti added that the only organisations with which Angola has election observation deals were the African Union and the southern African bloc SADC. "These are the only institutions for which Angola must abide by the electoral processes laid down in law," he said.

The foreign ministry warned that safety could be an issue if the EU observers were allowed unhindered access to polling stations in all 18 of Angola's provinces.

"The European Union has not yet decided whether it will send an observer mission or not," said the EU mission's spokesman Pablo Mazarrasa.

President Eduardo José dos Santos who has ruled Angola since 1979 will not contest next month's general election, marking a historic change in the oil-rich country.

In February, the ruling MPLA named João Lourenço, currently defence minister, as Dos Santos's successor and he is most likely to succeed him after the August election.

Although Angola is one of the largest producers of oil in sub-Saharan Africa, it remains one of the poorest countries on the continent.
Angola’s GDP Expected to Grow Over the Next Five Years
20 July 2017

Angola’s economy will grow in between 2017 and 2021 after expanding by just 0.6% in 2016, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in its July report on the African country.

The EIU believes that Angola’s adaptation to new oil prices and increased consumption by the government and the private sector will allow economic growth to reach 2.1% by the end of 2017 and 2.4% by 2018.

According to the EIU analysis in the period between 2019 and 2021 Angola’s GDP growth will be 2.5%.

The agricultural sector is expected to grow by 1.7% in 2017 – which will increase in 2018 and 2019 – so that, after a slight fall in 2020, it will return to growth of 2.8% by 2021.

The industrial sector is expected to grow by 1.9% in 2017, rising to 2.4% in 2018 and 2019.

Like the industrial sector the agricultural sector will register a decline of 0.4% in 2020 and return to growth of 2.4% in 2021. (macauhub)
Angola and France Sign Co-Operation and Financing Agreement
Luanda — Two agreements, namely on the establishment of the France Development Agency (AFD) in Angola and another one relating to the financing of water projects, were signed last Friday, in Luanda.

The first agreement was signed by the Finance minister, Archer Mangueira, and by the French ambassador, Silvain Itté.

This agreement is aimed at enabling the AFD to officially in Angola and work in financing projects linked to the areas of waters, energy and agriculture.

The second agreement was signed by minister Archer Mangueira and the resident representative of the World Bank in Angola, Clara de Sousa, as well as the director of the France Development Agency (AFD), Martha Stein- Scochas.

In the ambit of the agreement, France will finance water distribution to peri-urban zones of nine Angola Provinces, a project estimated at USD 545 million.
Africa Cup of Nations Moved to June and July and Expanded to 24 Teams
President Kwame Nkrumah greet the Black Stars in the 1960s.
BBC World Service

The 2019 Africa Cup of Nations will be held in June and July, the Confederation of African Football has confirmed.

The tournament is usually held in January and February, causing disputes with European clubs who had to release players in the middle of the season.

The 2019 event in Cameroon will be contested by 24 teams, instead of 16.

The changes were rubber-stamped by the CAF executive committee in a meeting in the Moroccan capital Rabat.

Africa's flagship sporting event has featured 16 teams since 1996.

The expansion of the tournament could create problems for Cameroon, which will host the next finals, with the Central African nation's sports minister having to deny reports that preparations were behind schedule.

The competition will continue to be held every two years, in Africa and only with African countries. Caf was considering whether to allow countries from other continents to compete - or even host the tournament.

The announcements follow a two-day symposium organised by Caf president Ahmad to discuss the state of African football.
African Bank Staff Snub Retrenchments
20 JULY 2017, 2:48PM
Independent Online

Johannesburg - The African Bank announced on Thursday that it has decided to discontinue the Section 189A consultation process because of the response it has received to its offer of voluntary severance and retirement packages, which are enough to stave off planned retrenchments.

The bank said it had reached the agreement with the South African Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo), the union that is representing workers who were to be retrenched. The mediation consultation entailed offering voluntary severance and retirement packages to staff.

In a bid to cut costs the African Bank in May issued notices to its staff about its restructuring plan that would have seen as many as 652 employees retrenched - about a sixth of the staff complement of 4,075.

However, on Thursday African Bank chief executive, Brian Riley, said as a result of the high number of workers accepting voluntary severance and retirement package, the bank no longer needed to continue with the retrenchment phase.

"The necessary reduction in staff numbers to achieve the appropriate cost base will be concluded through a voluntary process," Riley said.

"Given this, we are pleased that we are able to avoid retrenchments. This outcome enables us to continue building a sustainable business over the long term."

Riley said the bank was still in the process of evaluating some of the applications for the voluntary severance and retirement packages.

"We are already confident, however, that we have sufficient applications for the voluntary severance and retirement offer in the affected areas that the cost savings and other objectives of the bank have been met without the need to progress a section 189A retrenchment process," Riley said.

"Once the evaluation and acceptance of the applications has been finalised, the company will communicate to the market the financial and other impacts of the entire process. We anticipate that this communication will occur shortly after 7 August 2017."

Macron Denies Denigration of African Women and Society, Says French Embassy in Cape Town
2017-07-20 11:55
Betha Madhomu, News24

Cape Town – France has refuted recent media allegations that President Emmanuel Macron made a controversial and racist remark regarding Africa and African women at the G20 summit in Hamburg, German.

In an interview with News24, the French embassy in South Africa maintained that Macron's comment was not racist.

"Macron's comment did not carry any racial connotations. The president was answering to a question about the need for a 'Marshal Plan' for Africa. He said that he [felt] the challenges faced by the African continent needed a more complex solution than only a 'Marshal plan', aimed at reconstruction of previous stable countries," the embassy said.

Reports early this month claimed that Macron told a press conference during the G20 summit that "civilisation" problems and women having "seven or eight children" were hampering development on the continent.

Misery and war

Macron, according to the reports, said this as he responded to a question pertaining to why there was no concerted effort to help the continent economically.

A 28 second edited video clip of Macron's response was shared on social media and it provoked outrage, with some accusing him of racism and of blaming women for poverty.

But the embassy maintained that the context in which Macron was quoted by the media was wrong.

"He named three types of problems: 1)  Problems of security, that have their origin in economic underdevelopment and religious fundamentalism; 2) Problems of state capacity, with failed states, complicated democratic transitions, and bad governance;

"3) Demographic problems, with high fertility rates that tend to fuel misery and war. This is particularly true in the Sahel region. That is why President Macron wants the 'Alliance to the Sahel', recently launched by France and Germany, to support the strengthening of women rights, the interdiction of forced marriages, together with a strong educational policy as well as family planning systems," said the embassy.

Structural problems

According to the embassy, the following were Macron's exact words:

"The Marshall plan was a plan for the material reconstruction of countries (…). Africa’s challenges are now completely different, more profound, more civilisation. What are the problems faced by Africa? Failed states, complex democratic transitions, demographic transition which is one of the biggest challenges of Africa […] It is through rigorous governance, the fight against corruption, the fight for good governance and a successful demographic transition [that you manage it].

"When some countries still have seven to eight children per women, you can spend millions of euros, and you will not manage to stabilise the country. So the transformation plan that we must implement together, taking into account the specificities of African countries and together with African heads of states, it’s a plan that takes into account our own commitments on all the fields that I mentioned, and associate better public and private actions […]."

The embassy said that the president was talking about problems faced by Africa.

"As you can see, President Macron was listing the structural problems faced by the continent. Talking openly about these problems is the only way to deal with them," the embassy said.

The embassy said that Africa was a priority for France's foreign policy.

'Africa is for Africans first'

"We have a comprehensive and mutually beneficial relationship in many fields: on the economic side, on political and security issues, and on development aid. We also support the African governments’ efforts to tackle the demographic challenges through the Ouagadougou partnership, which aims to foster family planning in West Africa.

"Recently, President Macron announced the launch of an Alliance for the Sahel, through which we will increase our aid to this region by €200 million. Our policy on Africa is intimately linked to our European commitment. We associate closely the European Union and its Member States to our actions."

The embassy said that Africa was for Africans first and that France would only intervene when it was asked to.

"Africa is for Africans first. African solutions to African problems must be prioritised. Should we be asked to intervene militarily, we do it in last resort, upon the request of local authorities, with the backing of the UN, and in partnership with African stakeholders. This is what France did in 2013 in Mali and in the Central African Republic," it said. 
America First’ May Put Africa Last
Experts say the Trump administration is writing off Africa, to the detriment of the U.S.

By Gaby Galvin | Staff Writer
July 18, 2017, at 11:32 a.m.

In July, President Donald Trump walked out of a working session on Africa at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg.

In April, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson invited African Union chief Moussa Faki to Washington, and then backed out of the meeting at the last minute. And in March, the administration released a budget blueprint that one analyst says would “slash and burn” development programs in African nations.

In the battle for influence in Africa, policy experts say the United States is losing.

The continent of 1.2 billion has never garnered enough attention from the U.S. and its Western allies, experts say, but Trump’s administration seems especially indifferent. If the U.S. doesn’t prioritize this rapidly growing bloc of countries soon, it will be too late – Africa will have moved on to other partners who will.

Trump’s proposed 2018 budget would cut funding for humanitarian aid by about 30 percent, shifting the focus from assistance to national security in developing nations. While it is unlikely Congress will approve the cuts, policy experts say these actions send a strong message to one of the most aid-dependent regions in the world: You are not a priority.

It’s a strong deviation from the last Republican president, George W. Bush, whose administration launched the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) that is credited with saving nearly 12 million lives. And while former President Barack Obama’s Africa policies fell somewhat short of expectations, he did continue many of Bush’s measures and added a few of his own, including the Power Africa initiative to increase electricity access in sub-Saharan Africa.

But former Democratic Sen. Tom Daschle said the Trump administration is “asleep at the wheel” in its dealings with Africa at a panel hosted last week by the progressive think tank Center for American Progress.

“The most disturbing thing is they are looking beyond us at this point,” Reuben Brigety, former U.S. representative to the African Union, said at the panel. “As [African countries] are getting their act increasingly together… They are no longer waiting for us to figure out what we may be doing.”

With the Trump administration’s proposed department restructuring, the Defense Department would absorb many of the civic duties of the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, which together provided more than $8 billion in assistance to Africa in 2015. By relying on a security posture, experts say the U.S.’s capacity to curb famine and conflict and promote development will be severely limited.

“You cannot have a foreign policy in the most diverse continent on earth that is entirely a security-driven policy,” says Richard Downie, acting director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Africa Program. “If you do so, it will just become a reactive, expensive and ultimately pointless exercise where you’re just firefighting from one crisis to another.”

The massive continent should not be overlooked, experts say, because how this bloc of countries develops will shape global events in the future. Over the next 35 years, Africa will account for more than half of the world’s population growth, and Nigeria will surpass the U.S. as the third most populous country in the world, according to United Nations estimates. More than 40 percent of sub-Saharan Africa still lives in poverty, presenting its own set of economic, humanitarian and security challenges for both Africa and global players such as the U.S.

The U.S.’s economic influence has been waning in Africa for years, driven by a decrease in crude oil exports from the continent that began in 2011. The African Growth and Opportunity Act, which was signed into law under former President Bill Clinton and promotes Africa’s integration into the global economy, was renewed in 2015, yet sub-Saharan African exports to the U.S. decreased by about $8 billion that year, according to U.S. Census data.

Meanwhile, as China’s economy has skyrocketed in recent decades, it has shored up its efforts in Africa. China has expanded trade and infrastructure projects, increased its commitment to peacekeeping missions and strengthened its military presence on the continent. Just last week, China sent two Navy warships to Djibouti to establish its first overseas naval base.

China is viewed more favorably in sub-Saharan Africa than anywhere else, according to a global poll released last week by Pew Research Center. And while the U.S. is still largely considered the world’s economic superpower, Africans have experienced some of the steepest drops in confidence in recent years about the U.S.’s global economic position.

Until the continent has further developed its economy, African nations will have to partner with whomever is available, experts say.

 A man stands next to a placard reading "No electricity! No industries!! No jobs!!! Provide electricity, revive industries, provide decent jobs" during a demonstration to protest against the 45 percent raise of  electricity prices on February 8, 2016  in Lagos.

“If an African country can’t get what it wants from the West, particularly I’m thinking in terms of arms, it can turn to China as an alternative supplier,” says John Campbell, former ambassador to Nigeria and current fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “On a political level, it can also try to play the Chinese card, if Western partners are being, from their perspective, difficult.”

Western countries have criticized China’s controversial business practices in Africa, and say Beijing fails to promote democracy and human rights in repressive countries such as Sudan, Guinea and Zimbabwe while reaping the benefits of their economic partnerships. In 2009, for example, a private Chinese bank with government ties signed a $7 billion deal with Guinea about one month after military leader Moussa Dadis Camara seized power and backed the mass slaughter and rapes of unarmed protesters.

“Many African governments like to work with the Chinese because it’s traditionally been a strictly business-to-business relationship,” Downie says. “There’s been less conditionality in types of support that the Chinese – especially the state-backed companies – [have] offered to governments.”

China’s noninterference approach has shifted in recent years as Beijing increases its security presence in Africa, but Brigety and others say it is still vitally important that the U.S. and its allies push their values of democracy and honest government on this bloc of developing nations.

“It doesn’t matter what part of government you look at, it just makes sense to be engaged,” Downie says, adding that he is not sure the Trump administration will push those values on foreign partners. “And with a continent of 54 countries, if the U.S. wants to advance its interest in the world – that’s a lot of folks in the U.N., for example – working those diplomatic relationships is important. And that means being physically there, being engaged, trying to assert those values.”

While Campbell says it will be several years before Africa’s economic opportunities are fully realized, the U.S. is positioning itself poorly for the future by not fostering a strong relationship with the continent now.

Campbell and Brigety agree that the Trump administration will have to do a “complete 180 from where it is right now” in order to mend ties with Africa. If that does not happen, Brigety says, U.S. businesses, universities and non-governmental organizations will have to take the initiative to strengthen ties with Africa so that “when we get to a point where our government is ready to build those contacts again, we’ll not be as far behind as we might otherwise be.”
Kenya, African States Fight Fistula With Mobile Money, Community Ambassadors
Jul. 20, 2017, 6:00 am

Girls walking in the corridors of the Catholic Hospital Complex of Batouri , Eastern Cameroon, July 4, 2017. /THOMSON REUTERS FOUNDATION

From training community ambassadors to encourage women with fistula to seek treatment, to cash for transport to hospitals, African nations are finding new ways to deal with the agonising childbirth injury that ruins the lives of millions of girls and women.

In Western countries, obstetric fistula was eradicated more than a century ago, and is today almost unheard of.

Yet despite being preventable, across the developing world, more than 2 million girls and women still suffer from the painful, debilitating condition.

Almost all of them live in poverty in remote areas with little or no access to health care and often abandoned by their communities - the modern day equivalent of lepers who were ostracised and isolated.

Women who birth at home, often in far-flung rural areas where hospitals are too far away or expensive to reach, are especially at risk of obstetric fistula - a hole that develops between the birth canal and bladder or rectum, caused by prolonged, obstructed labour.

Women are left leaking urine, faeces or both.

"People tell me: here, the women are witches," said Marie Sebo, a community health worker from eastern Cameroon who helps fistula victims access free surgery.

"A woman who has fistula is completely isolated. People refuse even to eat with her. Her husband abandons her."

But in recent years, local and international organisations, with support from African governments, have launched a series of initiatives to try to bring the scourge of fistula to an end.


Mobile phones can play a role in both fistula diagnosis and repair.

Cost is one of the biggest barriers to accessing treatment - in Cameroon, for example, each fistula repair is priced between 300,000 and 600,000 Central African francs ($520-$1,050).

But today, in Tanzania and Kenya, the cellphone-based money transfer service M-PESA covers upfront transportation costs for women who otherwise would not be able to pay for surgery, as part of programmes funded by Western governments and NGOs.

And in Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Sierra Leone and other countries, telephone hotlines connect women in remote locations to medical information and care.

Initiatives vary from country to country, said Lois Boyle from the Freedom From Fistula Foundation, a UK charity.

"We use M-PESA in Kenya a lot to help women access free treatment, but for example in Sierra Leone, almost none of our patients have a mobile phone," she said.

In Sierra Leone, instead of transferring credit, the group reimburses the women at the end of their journeys, also providing free accommodation and meals before and after surgery.


Djenna Ousmane, 18, developed fistula while giving birth after a forced marriage at the age of just 14.

"My stepmother said she was afraid that if I didn't get married quickly, I would become a prostitute," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a hospital in Batouri in eastern Cameroon.

Last month, Ousmane underwent a successful, free fistula repair operation funded by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and Fondation Orange.

But while such operations are necessary to enable girls and women to return to their normal lives, prevention is better than cure, experts say.

With childbirth at a young age a key cause of fistula, "patient ambassadors" - women and girls who have been cured - are being trained to inform others of the dangers of early pregnancy, give advice on safe deliveries, and help refer fistula cases for treatment.

In Ethiopia, the Healing Hands of Joy group has trained 524 ambassadors, who have reached more than 13,000 pregnant women, according to a 2016 U.N. report.

Freedom from Fistula launched a similar scheme in Malawi two years ago.

"We provide them with a bike, a mobile phone and cover their transport costs," said Boyle. In the past year, the ambassadors were responsible for bringing in half of all patients.


Men also being enlisted to help drive change.

The UNFPA trains male volunteers as part of so-called "husband schools" in different African countries.

Going door-to-door, the men talk to their neighbours about anything from the dangerous consequences of child marriage to encouraging families to save money for prenatal checks.

"When we come across fistula, we tell people it's not witchcraft - they need to get to a hospital," said Suleiman Blaise, a volunteer in eastern Cameroon.

In Kenya, the "Action on Fistula" programme, launched in 2014, aims to tackle the problem nationwide. Setting out to help 1,200 women, today it has treated more than 2,500.

Kate Grant, CEO of the Fistula Foundation which funds the programme, said a network of six hospitals had been built around high population areas, where treatment is offered all year round. Surgeons are also being trained.

The initiative works with community groups around the country, as well as a national women's football team, to "kick fistula out of Kenya". The programme is now being replicated in Zambia.

In Ethiopia, after treatment at the Hamlin Fistula Hospital, the world's leading hospital for the condition, women go to a purpose-built village where they learn vocational skills and how to set up their own businesses, said Muna Abdullah, a health system specialist with the UNFPA.

The hospital, set up by Nobel Prize-nominated surgeon Catherine Hamlin, also trains fistula surgeons and runs an internationally accredited midwifery school.

"The Hamlin Fistula Hospital has come closest to eradicating it in one country - but that's 30 years of work," said Boyle, urging African governments to invest more in maternal health.

While there may be no silver bullet, Boyle is optimistic that fistula can be eradicated in Africa.

"Look at... the US, the UK - they've done it," she said.
Denmark Pledges $14 Million to Curb African Population Growth
Migrants rescued from drowning boat in Tripoli.
 (Reuters/Ismail Zetouni)

Khanya Mtshali
July 20, 2017 Quartz Africa

Denmark is pledging 91 million Danish kroner ($14 million) to curb the “human and social costs” of unwanted pregnancies in places with poor infrastructure and opportunities for young women. Much of the focus will be on Africa’s least developed countries.

Danish minister for development cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, said, “part of the solution to reducing migratory pressures on Europe is to reduce the very high population growth in many African countries.”

The framing of contraception aid as an act of foreign policy reflects a change in attitudes towards refugees and migrants in the Scandinavian country. In August 2015, the government passed legislation to cut welfare benefits to refugees and migrants residing in the country for less than eight years. And in January 2016, Danish parliament approved plans to allow police to seize the refugee assets worth more than $436.

Over a million migrants and refugees reached Europe by sea in 2015, with nearly 4,000 reported missing, or suspected to have drowned, according to the UN Refugee Agency.

The UN high commissioner for refugees, Filippo Grandi, said the move was a “deeply concerning response to humanitarian needs” and “an affront to their dignity.” In an 18-page report, Grandi also wrote that Denmark’s proposed immigration policies were out of touch with its “tradition of providing sanctuary to those in need.”

Tørnæs’s comments follow French president Emmanuel Macron’s diagnosis of Africa’s problems as “civilizational” , saying one of Africa’s “essential challenges” was population growth, and noting that “in some countries…seven or right children [are] born to each woman.” However, the 2017 Revision of the UN World Population Prospects tells a different story. Fertility rates for Africa were recorded at 4.7 births per woman for 2010-2015. The only country in Africa, let alone the world, that resembles Macron’s statistic is Niger.

While global fertility rates are set to fall, the UN anticipates a rapid increase in the population of 33 African countries categorized as “least developed nations.” These nations are expected to triple in size between 2017 and 2100.

Like Denmark, Germany has received high numbers of refugees coming to its borders since the crisis in 2015. Chancellor Angela Merkel was criticized by opposition leaders over her open door policy towards refugees and migrants in 2016. But on July 17, Merkel said she wouldn’t set an upper limit on refugees in a live interview on German TV.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

South African Communist Party 14th Congress Discusses Future Role in National Politics
Debate intensifies around the present character of a decades-long alliance which achieved state power

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Tuesday, July 18, 2017

There was much speculation in the corporate media surrounding the deliberations and outcomes of the 14th National Congress of the South African Communist Party (SACP) which took place from July 10-15 in the Birchwood Hotel in Johannesburg.

A major question was whether the SACP would remain within the Tripartite Alliance along with the ruling African National Congress (ANC), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) and the South African National Civic Organizations (SANCO).

From the outset the gathering engaged in scathing criticism of the ANC-led government and President Jacob Zuma. Allegations of corruption involving leading figures in the ANC and their relationships with a family ofIndian nationals, the Gupta-owned firms, which critics claim weld an unjustifiable influence over appointments and policy.

Although several reports in the South African press suggested that a decision had been made to contest the 2019 presidential race as the SACP, the Congress agreed to study these proposals advanced by provincial structures and to hold another Special Congress in 2018 where an actual roadmap will be announced. Secretary General Dr. Blade Nzimande appealed for the SACP delegates to prioritize fundraising saying that cadres must enhance the financial status of the organization.
On the final day of the Congress, Nzimande implored the delegates stressing:”Let us not come here, sing about state power, take resolutions, and then go sit back and not fundraise for the SACP. Every party cadre is a fundraiser… we have been poor for too long, there is no reason why we should continue to be poor. But please cadres, do not take money from the Guptas… we do not want it. It will bring us bad luck. Do not take dirty money… go and fundraise legitimately from our country’s workers, especially, and many other people who are sympathetic to us.” (Citizen, July 15)

As it related to the notions that the SACP was seeking to break up the Tripartite Alliance, Nzimande was quoted as denying that any decisions had been made. He noted that there was no easy solution in approaching the challenges facing the ANC and the Alliance in the 2019 national elections where a new president and parliament will be chosen. The SACP Secretary General asserted that a resolution of these issues was a process which could only be resolved through broad consultations with Alliance partners.

Nzimande went on to say: ”We are not going to be seeking permissions, but at the same time we are saying that given this new conditions [current affairs], how then should we continue working together, because we still believe that the alliance is still relevant. I do not believe that there is any organization that is ready-made to contest elections… we will cross that bridge when we get to it.” (Citizen, July 15)

COSATU, the Working Class and the National Democratic Revolution

At present South Africa is facing a worsening recession with joblessness increasing and the value of the national currency (rand) in decline. However, this is not a situation that is peculiar to this particular country which is the most industrialized in Africa.

In the oil-producing West African state of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which was said three years ago to have surpassed South Africa as the largest continental economy, at least momentarily, is also deeply mired in recession. The fact that these two leading African countries are facing substantial difficulties is reflective of the continuing dependency by post-colonial states on international finance capital and its markets.

COSATU Secretary General Bheki Ntshalinshali addressed the SACP 14th Congress emphasizing the centrality of the African working class in any efforts aimed at economic transformation. COSATU has endorsed South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in his campaign to become leader of the ANC as well as the presidential candidate for the ruling party in 2019.

Ntshalinshali told the SACP while acknowledging the advances made for the South African people under ANC leadership over the last nearly quarter-century and the contradictions of continuing poverty among the proletariat, that: “In dealing with both these questions, we cannot afford to be both emotional and metaphysical in our approach. Firstly, we need to admit that the dysfunctionality of the Alliance and the marginalization of the COSATU and SACP are not accidental but they reflect the obvious weaknesses in the organizational power of the working class. The question that needs to be answered is why we have failed to build working class hegemony inside the movement. We cannot just pretend that the solution to our frustrations with the Alliance and the ANC is to give workers and the working class a new address and fail to correctly diagnose the reasons that have led us to be where we are as the working class. But workers need a united and coherent SACP, whether you decide to contest state power or not.” (

The Historic Role of the Tripartite Alliance

This coalition of forces which today is represented by the ANC, COSATU, SANCO and the SACP began to consolidate a working relationship among the youth cadre during the early-to-mid 1940s.

Later in 1949, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) drafted a Program of Action which played an instrumental role in the transformation of the organization in alliance with the-then Communist Party of South Africa (CPSA) that was banned in 1950 under the Suppression of Communism Act enacted by the European-settler National Party which won electoral power in 1948.
With the emergence of the Campaign of Defiance Against Unjust Laws from 1952-1956, various revolutionary forces encompassing the ANC, the Congress of Democrats (COD), Indian National Congress, the Colored People’s Organization (CPO), the Federation of South African Women (FEDSAW), among others sought to engage the apartheid system through a wave of mass protests, strikes and boycotts. By 1956, the National Party regime had charged 156 leaders of the Defiance Campaign with treason leading to a four year trial which resulted in a collapse of the government’s case winning acquittal for the resistance organizers.

Just one year prior to the indictments on treason charges, on June 26, 1955 the Congress of the People was convened in Kliptown where The Freedom Charter was adopted. This document served as a guiding programmatic impetus to the struggle for national liberation from the mid-1950s to the ascendancy of the ANC to power in 1994.

After 1961, Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) was formed by the ANC and the SACP. By the 1980s a combined mass, armed and industrial workers struggle would break the back of the apartheid system. The unbanning of the ANC and the SACP, the release of political prisoners including Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki along with the return of exiled cadre by February 1990 set the stage for the transition to a non-racial democratic dispensation beginning in 1994.

The drafting of a post-apartheid constitution and the implementation of sweeping reforms in the areas of labor, human rights, race relations, women’s rights, economic opportunities and governance, by the late 1990s placed the Republic of South Africa in a vanguard position in the realm of contemporary politics on the continent. Under the leadership of the ANC, South Africa was able to play its inevitable role as a focal point for the consolidation of unity in the Southern Africa region and the advancement of similar objectives in Africa as a whole.
However, problems in the implementation of genuine socio-economic transformation has prompted fierce debate within the respective Alliance member-formations as well as disagreements over strategic and tactical issues in taking the organizations forward towards the realization of the aims of the National Democratic Revolution in the 21st century. The SACP 14th National Congress came on the heels of the ANC National Policy Conference held earlier in the month of July. At the ANC Policy Conference there was discussion on the accusations of corruption and the need to refurbish both the internal operations of the ruling party and the strength of the Alliance.

One South African political analyst voiced trepidation about the possibility of the SACP leaving the Alliance saying it would be ill-advised. Ralph Mathekga noted that both organizations needed each other claiming that the understanding of the present period was greater among the SACP than the ANC.

Mathekga emphasized the need for unity in an interview with the Citizen newspaper, saying: “The ANC does not fully understand state capture and its implications, but the SACP fully understands this phenomenon and it should help the ANC to expedite this issue and resolve it. Without the SACP, the ANC is just a party of slogans without depth.” (July 14)

Although Mathekga’s conclusion that the ANC needed the SACP is well taken, it is highly unlikely that the ruling party cadre from the branch structures right up to the National Executive Committee (NEC) lacks understanding of the contemporary political and economic crisis inside the country. The question is whether an effective policy approach can be developed which is successful in galvanizing the base and the leadership in a manner which fosters unity of purpose and action.

The political alternatives to the Alliance represent an even more fractured social landscape encompassing the minority right-wing Democratic Alliance (DA) and the putative ultra-left Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) who routinely unite in their campaigns to undermine the ANC and the SACP. COSATU was split with the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) in November 2014.

A new labor group called the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) was formed in 2016 which has announced that it will create another socialist party. It will remain to be seen if such a party is formed as a viable functioning entity and whether they can meaningfully contest within the national elections of 2019.

The restructuring of industrial and finance capital in South Africa has resulted in profound challenges for labor organizations. As has happened in western capitalist states, the proportion of workers who belong to unions has shrunk significantly. Overcoming these barriers to enhancing the role and authority of the working class is an international phenomenon.  
African Union 29th Summit Held Amid Rising Crises of Economic Decline and Social Instability
Initiatives needed to reverse negative growth and the realization of continental unification

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Monday July 10, 2017

On July 3-4 the African Union (AU) held its 29th Annual Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia while the continent is faced with monumental challenges from Cairo to Cape Town.

Held under the theme of “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investment in Youth”, the gathering recognized the necessity of economic and social development to ensure a prosperous and sustainable future for Africa. A recent decline in commodity prices impacting the raw materials, energy and agricultural producing states illustrates the need to plan for an independent strategy of guaranteeing the health and well-being of over one billion people.

The two leading economic countries on the continent, South Africa and Nigeria, are both in recession. Unemployment is growing and the national currency of these states has fallen into precipitous decline. Bond rating agencies based in the United States are issuing reports which question the capacity of the ruling parties of each nation to engineer remedies that will make them more creditworthy to international finance capital.

South Africa and Nigeria encompass growing youth populations placing social and political pressure on their governments to address the need for accessible employment opportunities for all. Nonetheless, the dependence upon foreign markets for the export of natural resources and cash crops systematically undermines strategic planning within the present world division of labor and economic power.

Just three years ago western financial publications were hailing what they described as phenomenal growth in many African nations. The Federal Republic of Nigeria was proclaimed to have surpassed the Republic of South Africa as the leading power house of the region.

Countries such as Angola, Algeria, Gabon, Nigeria and Ghana experienced an influx of foreign direct investment largely due to the rising oil and natural gas prices. However, by 2015, the prices of oil, natural gas and other resources had declined by over 60 percent.

These factors compounded the social and political instability brought about as a result of the U.S. and NATO wars against the governments in Libya and Ivory Coast which resulted in the collapse of these societies fueling the migration from Africa across the Mediterranean and into Southern, Central and Eastern Europe.

Similar western interventions in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and the unresolved question of Palestine independence, has worsened the crisis of displacement. United Nations agencies have reported that the situation of dislocated persons domestically, as well as refugees and migrants, with estimates numbering 65-75 million people,easily surpasses any period since the conclusion of World War II.

In his opening address, AU Chairperson President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea noted that the organization was: “Aware of the importance of human capital, the AU has decided to harness the African youth, to find ways and means of developing the youth which constitute 70 percent of the total population. The holistic management of the challenges faced by the youth call on us to find alternatives to build economies that are resilient and capable of ensuring the space for the youth in our continent.” (Zimbabwe Chronicle, July 4)

If these issues are not the focus of AU policy the future painted by Conde would not be a desirable one. A region so rich in minerals and land could further deteriorate making conditions unlivable to even larger numbers of people across the continent.

Conde went on to emphasize that: “It is imperative on us African leaders that if we don’t invest in the youth, we would have failed our duty and compromised dangerously the future of our youth. We would have condemned them to unemployment and immigration to become parasites and beggars.”

These observations are poignant in light of the hostility that African migrants are met with in Europe and the U.S. The migration issue is being utilized by the ultra-right wing neo-fascist groups and political parties as a wedge to win political power and advance policies which reinforce racism and national discrimination against people from the former colonial territories of Africa, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific.

Gender Equality, the Role of Youth and Economic Development

Although the AU mandated at its conception in 2002 the full integration of women within the governing structures of national and regional centers of power there is still considerable work to be done in this arena. In some countries women are represented in significant numbers within cabinet and parliamentary bodies, the civil service and professional fields. However, the onus of the declining economic situation, foreign intervention and internecine conflict falls upon the backs of women and youth.
The 19th Ordinary General Assembly of First Ladies of Africa (OAFLA) took place simultaneously with the overall AU Summit. H.E. Ms. Amira ElFadil Mohamed, who is the Commissioner for Social Affairs of the AU Commission stressed that there is a pressing need for a systematic and integrated strategy aimed at tackling all four areas of the thematic demographic dividend pillars. These areas include health and wellbeing; employment and entrepreneurship; education and skills development and rights and good governance. Without adequate progress in all four areas there cannot be long lasting growth, social stability and genuine development.

According to a press release issued by OAFLA on July 4, its says: “Sustainable and affordable access to maternal and child health care, HIV testing and counselling and immunization services, according to the Commissioner of Social Affairs, will ultimately result in young people meaningfully contributing to the socio-economic development of their society, thereby enabling them to make the right informed decisions about their health.”(

Ms. Mohamed said of the challenge that:“The youth of our continent need to be guaranteed social and economic development if they are to contribute to their nations’ and continents’ economic development.”

Also H.E. Mrs. Roman Tesfaye emphasized: “It is high time that African nations put in place favorable policies and increase youth targeted investments. We need to lift and break the barriers faced by African youth in accessing and utilizing reproductive health information and services.”

Pan-Africanism, Self-Reliance and National Liberation

Republic of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe followed through on a previous commitment when he served as AU Chairperson two years earlier. Mugabe presented a check for $1 million to the AU Foundation saying it was a “modest contribution” aimed at breaking the cycle of donor dependency.
Zimbabwe and other anti-imperialist states had criticized the AU’s readmission of the Kingdom of Morocco earlier this year absent of the resolution of the Western Sahara question. Now both the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) and their occupiers based in Rabat are members of the continental organization.

Morocco has carried out a diplomatic offensive among the AU member-states. Its offers of economic assistance have swayed numerous governments to agree on a compromised position on the inherent anti-colonial mission of the organization.

In the aftermath of the 29th Summit in Ethiopia, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the SADR, Mohamed Salem OuldEssalek, convened a press conference in the Algerian capital saying that the AU would however deploy a taskforce to explore solutions to the Western Sahara crisis. The UN has gone on record calling for an internationally-supervised referendum on the future of the SADR.

Nevertheless, Morocco continues to object to such an election claiming that the Western Sahara was an integral part of the Kingdom. During the early 1980s, the SADR was admitted as a full member of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the predecessor to the AU. These decisions prompted the withdrawal of Morocco from the OAU/AU which lasted over three decades.

Essalek highlighted the decision of the AU Summit during the press conference in Algiers saying: "The AU will not accept the continuation of the conflict between the two states since Morocco has signed and adopted its constitutional charter whose articles 3 and 4 stipulate the imperative respect of the borders established at independence and peaceful dialogue between member countries.”

He went on to say the AU Summit had: “Defeated the plan of the Morocco occupier attempting to repeal AU's traditional decisions on the Saharawi cause.”

Essalek claims the decisions in Addis Ababa: “reiterates and reinforces the positions of the AU after the accession of Morocco, a decision that frustrates Morocco. This is the first time the AU has taken such a decision since 1991."

It will remain to be seen how vigorous the approach of the AU will be in regard to winning national liberation for the SADR. The resolution of this conflict and other border issues is essential in building the necessary political trust that can move the continent towards full social and economic integration.

Only a collective approach to genuine independence and sovereignty will lay the foundation for the realization of a functioning Pan-Africanism. Moreover, the AU member-states must transform their governing structures into truly representative institutions with the mandate of the workers, farmers and youth which can effectively break with the world capitalist system and move toward socialist reconstruction.  
Pan-African Journal: Special Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Fri. July 14, 2017--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Listen to the Fri. July 14, 2017 special edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear this episode just go to the following URL:

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the passing of South African Jazz artist Ray Phiri; fighting has erupted once again in the Libyan capital of Tripoli; the Republic of Sudan is still seeking the lifting of sanctions by the United States amid suspension in the ongoing talks between Khartoum and Washington on the normalization of relations; and Somalia authorities has targeted a ship which its says was responsible for interrupting internet usage in the Horn of Africa state.

In the second hour we look at the 50th anniversary of the Newark Rebellion of July 12-17, 1967.

Finally this episode presents a rare archival address by Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Stokely Carmichael at the UCLA on May 24, 1967.
Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast for Thurs. July 13, 2017--Hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe
Listen to the Thurs. July 13, 2017 edition of the Pan-African Journal: Worldwide Radio Broadcast hosted by Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire.

To hear this program just click on the website below:

The program features our regular PANW report with dispatches on the police harassment of an African American State's Attorney in Florida; Brazil's former Worker's Party President Lula da Silva has been convicted on alleged corruption charges; French President Emmanuel Macron has insulted African women and society in a public speech at the G20; and China recently launched a quantam satellite to guard against cyber crimes.

In the second hour we examine the Black Power Movement during 1967 looking at the impact of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the urban rebellions which spread throughout the country that year and the more moderate forms of politics promoted in this period.

The final hour rebroadcast an audio documentary on the Black Panther Party in 1970. 
Dr Nkomo: Had to Learn to Be Military Commander
July 8, 2017
Opinion & Analysis
By Yoliswa Duba
Zimbabwe Chronicle

On The late Vice President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo

IN his autobiography, The Story of My Life, the late Vice President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo recounts on how he had to learn to be a military commander.

Dr Nkomo, who was the commander of the Zipra forces during the country’s protracted liberation struggle, says although he carefully left the day-to-day command of the men to senior soldiers, he regularly visited the training camps and bases.

“When negotiations broke down, I went to the soldiers and said I had done what I could, it was up to them now. I emphasised that they were not fighting to do me a favour nor I them; we were in it together for our country,” says Dr Nkomo.

He says he did his best to keep the forces supplied with material to fight with and see to it that it was fairly distributed.

“It was up to them to put those supplies to good use. Our lads came from poor homes where blankets and clothes were highly prized possessions. I had to make sure such things were for military use, not for giving to girlfriends,” says the late Father Zimbabwe.

The boys, he said, had no money and were tempted to sell a blanket or a pair of boots to buy a present for a girl or to get a smoke of marijuana.

“They were all volunteers who had chosen to leave home to fight; they had to be motivated not ordered about. We had more volunteers than we could feed, clothe and arm,” says Dr Nkomo.

As a result, there were allegations from Western journalists visiting their transit camps in Botswana, that they were kidnapping young people from the schools to turn them into fighters.

Instead, Dr Nkomo says, they tried hard to persuade the lads to stay and finish their studies but they would not.

“Botswana, with its long, open border with South Africa, was terribly vulnerable to attack and President Seretse Khama could not allow guerilla camps there. We had to charter aircraft to lift our refugees out of Botswana into Zambia – I am afraid we still owe the Zambian government several millions of dollars for the help they gave with that,” says Dr Nkomo.

But, at one point towards the end of the war, transport difficulties, caused largely by South African disruption of traffic, led to a genuine shortage of food throughout Zambia.

People were going hungry in the camps and officers in the army continuously reported that morale was suffering badly.

“Without a regular ration of the sadza that was their staple diet, the men would get out of control. I went straight to President Kaunda and told him of the danger. He knew his own people were short of food, that discontent was growing and production suffering. But he picked up the telephone and gave an order. For the coming weeks all supplies of food for the civilian market were to be diverted to the Zimbabwean camps, in consultation with my staff,” says Dr Nkomo.

This act of generosity by President Kaunda, who was prepared to put his own popularity at risk for a cause he believed in kept hope in the Zipra camps alive.

Aside from ensuring his forces were fed and clothed, Dr Nkomo had other unique challenges to deal with.

Thousands of young refugee girls insisted on volunteering to fight but there was no place for them all.

“It was not the girls’ fault, but the presence of young women in a camp of young male soldiers caused tremendous trouble. Fortunately, we had splendid women to face the challenge of organising the girls,” says Dr Nkomo.

Through help from international organisations, Victory Camp school was set up for the girls outside Lusaka.

There, they got a better education than they would have done at home.

“Some we did train to use weapons and employed as camp guards but they were a tiny minority. The one thing I regret about our volunteers was that their military discipline became almost too strong. Our tactic was to move in small groups against the enemy, so each man had to be ready to take over command as soon as the man above him had been knocked out of the fight; I always emphasised that to the lads when I spoke to them before going out on operations,” says Dr Nkomo.

But the discipline was so strong that individual soldiers would not answer him directly, they always waited for the most senior person to answer and refused to speak on their own initiative even to their commander-in-chief, says Dr Nkomo.

He says his only training for the role of commander-in-chief was that of a social worker.

“I tried to approach the job dispassionately, realising that everyone in an army has a role to play. Even visiting the wounded I tried not to appear upset if I saw a fine young man who had an arm or a leg; I just said it was a soldier’s job to suffer for his nation.”

Dr Nkomo says he was worried about and worked to solve his soldiers’ individual problems – how to get artificial limbs and how to readapt to family life after a wound.

“But I never allowed myself to show distress. If the wounded men became demanding, ordering the nurses around and insisting on special treatment, I always told them to respect their colleagues, that everyone had a necessary place in the national struggle; getting wounded did not win any privileges when everyone was doing his best,” says the late nationalist.

Most of their fighting was with small arms and simple weapons. The AK riffle became every young man’s dream – stubby and reliable.

It was apparently far better than the long Nato rifle carried by the Rhodesian forces.

“Transporting heavy weapons through the Rhodesian air cover was terribly risky and it was rare that we brought off conspicuous triumphs like the rocketing of the soil storage camps in Salisbury and in Bulawayo – the Salisbury tanks burned for a week, a symbol of our success, but the Bulawayo reserve was unfortunately empty when Zipra hit it,” says Dr Nkomo.

But their success against the Rhodesian Forces was far greater than they allowed to be known at the time.

Also, they could not claim the credit they deserved because they needed to keep secret the fact that they had been given some Soviet surface to air missiles, Sam-7s.

“We deployed them first in defence of our camps in Zambia and caught the enemy by surprise. The first time we used them we knocked down two of their strike aircraft, the second time we got four,” says Dr Nkomo.

He says those who lived through the war were hardened by it and those who died were their close friends.

-This article is a special tribute to Dr Nkomo on the anniverary of his death.
A Humble Giant and Peacemaker
JULY 9, 2017

Last Saturday Zimbabwe marked the 18th anniversary of the death of Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo. Tinashe Farawo spoke to a close security detail of the late Father Zimbabwe. Due to the nature of his profession, we publish his remarks under a pseudonym.

Cde Hondo Yeminda

In 1977 I was transferred to work at Dr Nkomo’s house in exile, with his nephew Newsreel in charge of security.

It was during my assignment that I got to find out that he was a committed family man.

During my stint, Father Zimbabwe lost a close family member. He confided his fears of losing another family member to Rhodesians forces, especially after losing a step-brother in the mid 1970s.

Dr Nkomo did not want anything happening to Newsreel, his nephew.

I remember that after Independence in 1980, one of Umdala Wethu’s mission was to go to his rural home where his parents are buried.

He slept in the small round hut like any other villager.

He renovated his house in Pelandaba, Bulawayo and personally took charge of redoing the kitchen for his wife, Mama Mafuyana.

Dr Nkomo always said that was the least he could do for her because she had raised their children alone and Mama Mafuyana deserved the best.

His wife did not want to move from Pelandaba, where most people visited.

The same was with Dr Nkomo’s house in Highfield which was also another meeting place for people from all over the country.

Hence he got his family a private house in Gunhill in Harare where he would have quality time with them.

Dr Nkomo also personally started Blue Lagoon, a small business for the family. He spent his private time at Makwe, a farm in Matebeleland South, enjoying farming with his wife. The man also had a thriving dairy farm in Harare South.

These were his family enterprises.

Dr Nkomo usually spent much time at Nijo Motel in Harare and Mguza projects to mention a few. These were things he enjoyed doing outside of political work.

He always referred to President Mugabe by his first name, but with respect.

Umdala Wethu respected President Mugabe’s attempt to reconcile the nation after elections in 1980, and said “we had fought, people had died so that the people of Zimbabwe could rule themselves. What we had failed to win was Government by our own party, but we should be happy that our colleagues during the liberation war won”.

Father Zimbabwe declined the offer for him to be ceremonial President of the new Zimbabwe and accepted to be a minister.

It is a result of such selflessness that I view Dr Nkomo as a peacemaker, a humble giant who wanted the best for this country.

His views on land was the reorganisation of the people’s way of living both in urban and rural areas.

The late Vice-President’s guidelines were to acquire commercial farms for use by those in communal areas, side-by-side with commercial farmers; that the acquired land for resettlement be used collectively by forming co-operatives, which must be non-racial and non-political.

He hoped that villages coming out of this reorganisation would eventually grow into towns.

Dr Nkomo said this would create the growth of commerce and industry in the villages, generating jobs outside urban areas.

A memorable moment I spent with him was in February 1982 when, in disguise, I took him to Bulawayo from Harare after his failed attempt to meet Prime Minister Mugabe.

In January 1981, Joshua Nkomo was removed from Minister of Home Affairs to Minister of Public Service.

He called for a Zapu central committee meeting, which wanted him to resign but he highlighted the unrest that might arise within Zipra, and convinced his colleagues that it was necessary for him to stay.

The Prime Minister then granted him the post of Minister Without Portfolio assisting the Prime Minister on Defence and Public service and to remain a member of the Cabinet Committee on Security.

In February 1981 fighting between Zanla and Zipra broke out.

Full-scale fighting broke out at Entumbane, the site of previous fighting, where Zanla and Zipra assembly points had been moved.

To stop the fighting Joshua Nkomo literally took over the Brady Barracks Command Centre.

Joshua Nkomo went to Gwayi River Mine Camp where the main Zipra regular army was encamped and told them that it was no longer necessary to keep them as an organised army.

It was not until towards the end of December 1981 that the final dispersal of Zipra fighters at Gwayi took place. They were deeply disillusioned, their future was empty after failing to find places in Zimbabwe’s security forces. At least 3 000 were refusing to leave.

Brigadier-General Mike Reynolds was in charged Gwayi. He asked the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo to help in persuading the men to leave. We drove to Gwayi River Camp where he told them that it was time to go to their respective homes.

I think what made him tick was to give leadership.
Lessons From Mudhara Josh
JULY 16, 2017
Zimbabwe Sunday Mail

Vp Phelekezela Mphoko

I first met Father Zimbabwe, Dr Joshua Nkomo, when I was a child in 1952; I was 12-years-old then.

I used to work with my uncle Aaron Dhlomo, commonly known as Ndabambi. They worked together at Rhodesia Railways, so I used to visit my father, my uncle, and then that is when I first met the Old Man.

To me, Dr Nkomo was like a parent, not a politician or trade unionist, because he was very close to my uncle.

I was going to school, and after finishing my course in 1960, I came back to Bulawayo and that time it was NDP and under NDP it was Mawema who was president.

When Zapu came in I also met him; we were not very close at that time.

We later (became) closer when I became one of his bodyguards along with Albert Nxele, Walter Mbambo, Winston and some other guys from Harare.

(One of them) Abraham used to say, “Follow your leader like a shadow.”We were bodyguards at that time and that is when we started moving with the Old Man during the time of Zapu.

When Zapu was banned, he went to Semukwe, that is where he was restricted.

I was now working at Dunlop. At Dunlop I started a collecting some money for Dr Nkomo and that is when the management identified me as politically-minded. So the money we collected we gave it to a certain Charles Nyathi who would take it to Semukwe. I also went to Semukwe to see the Old Man.

When he came out of restriction that is when we travelled extensively as bodyguards of the Old Man.

The drivers included Boniface Malowa Gumbo, uncle to the President, and Fibian, and quite a number of people who were bodyguards, up to the time we went to Cold Comfort Farm.

At Cold Comfort Farm it was agreed that we should now pursue an armed struggle. (There was) a special affairs committee led by James Chikerema, including Marembo and somebody else whose name I have forgotten, who were supposed to be leaders of that organisation. Now, I was personally recruited by the Old Man himself.

All of his bodyguards, Albert Nxele, Walter Mbambo, Sam Dumaza, Edward Mzwazwa, myself and then Peter Madlela, we were directly recruited by the leader, Joshua Nkomo.

Specifically in my case he came home. On the night of the 4th of April we were supposed to leave Bulawayo and we left on that day in 1964; the six of us.

So we went to board a train in Luveve for Northern Rhodesia and that was the last time I saw the Old Man.

We went for the military training and after that we came back to form the military wing of Zapu where in 1965 I would become chief of logistics; Ambrose was in charge of training; Abraham Nkiwane was in charge of transport — transporting weapons between Lusaka and Tanzania; and Godwin Buche became part of the training with Walter Mbambo; Robson Manyiwa was the chief-of-staff and Akim Ndlovu was the commander.

That was the first military establishment of Zapu.

Then came 1965, I remember very well that is when Buche and myself crossed into Rhodesia (with the help of) the local fisherman.

There was one we used to call Shorty and we bought a boat for two pounds.
We had by then established the crossing points.

So, that was 1965; then 1966 we started having people coming for training.

The ‘65 group was the one already in Zambia; the 1966 group is the one which included Tshinga Dube, David Moyo and other people.

But I was already in the command and in charge of logistics.

Then 1967, we had a joint military command which had then been established in 1966 with the ANC.

So, in the joint military command, I was in charge of logistics, co-chief of logistics with Masondo from the ANC and there was Akim who was the commander and his counterpart was Joe Modise.

Around May-June 1967, we were preparing for the Wankie operations.

I was commander of combined logistics and became commander of Nkomo Camp and then I moved to Danang which was at Luthuli Camp.

I commanded the joint rehearsal in preparation for the Wankie operation, I was the commander deputised by Jexe, an ANC guy.

So, after the training, which was one month, you talk a month’s rehearsal, it was very hectic. Joe Modise was one of the people in the camp, Chris Hani and John Dube were also from our side.

The joint training at Luthuli base was under my command.

After deploying for the Wankie operations, we went to Sipolilo. Sipolilo was also a joint military host and deployment for the ANC and us.

The plan was very ambitious.

We were supposed to cross the fighters under the command of Moffat Hadebe then the commissar was Masuku and other ANC comrades.

So we were supposed to cross the comrades which we did, then we crossed the weapons, then the donkeys for transport and the finally the Land Rover.

We created a raft with eight drums each side and it was very big and could sustain that weight. I think we had over 100 boxes of weapons, ammunition, medication and other logistical items.

Our plan was to cross the raft and tie it on the other side, deploy a platoon across, another platoon remaining on the Zambian side.

Once the raft had crossed, they would pull it back.

Unfortunately the rope was so big as the platoon went deeper into the water, the rope started sagging and it went into the water and became very heavy.

As it was now almost at the centre of the river where the current was powerful, and with a very heavy rope which was now wet, it sunk along with everything.

The seven guys who were rowing also fell in the water but they managed to survive; but all our equipment sunk there and I believe that equipment is still there up to today.

So we proceeded, the guys had their weapons — personal issues — and we crossed into Sipolilo.

There were four commanders; Abraham Nkiwane, Dumiso Dabengwa, Joe Modise and myself. We operated in Sipolilo and worked with the people, we were very close to the villagers.

Then we came back after almost a month, it was now 1968.

When they (Dr Nkomo and other leaders) were released in 1974, I remember I was in Czechoslovakia with President Sam Nujoma attending a World Peace Council. They were released and they went to Lusaka.

I went to see the Old Man and it was after a long time he remembered me; I was still very slim those days.

And then from there he was going in and out frequently.

One of the most important activities that took place at that time in 1974 when the leaders were there under the leadership of Muzorewa’s UNC and then from there we went to Victoria Falls for peace talks on the bridge together with South Africa and Zambia. Mozambique sent a delegation it was led by Monteiro; Tanzania as well.

At that time Zanu was having a lot of problems; in fact it was the time the leaders had been arrested.

Now the Old Man was there at Victoria Falls together with others, then the negotiations continued. They went back to Rhodesia because the discussions had to go to their logical end.

From there we went to Mozambique under Zipa.

What I remember is that in Mozambique it was different from when we were in Zambia. We first formed our Joint Military Command where we were serving together with Josiah Tongogara; Mangena was chief-of-staff, Tongogara was chief of operations, I was chief of logistics, Mataure was in charge of training, Munyanyi was in charge of intelligence, Robson Manyika was political commissar.

That is the command where we served with Josiah Tongogara.

The difference with the joint command of before was, it was led by political leaders — Jason Moyo and Herbert Chitepo where the leaders at the time.

When we moved to Mozambique in 1975 for the Zipa command the most senior person from Zanla was Webster Gwauya, who was a member of the Central Committee, the rest were junior people; very junior. Some had never had the opportunity of leading.

Rex Nhongo was among them, but had not been a leader in the true sense and that is why we had serious problems within the movement.

There were quite a number of things which happened; we don’t rule out infiltration because when the leadership of Zanu was not there people were just flocking both to us and Zanu.

But in our case at least we were there as leaders, we could screen: but what about Zanla where there was nobody?

That is why there was so much commotion — there was no leader.

We were the summit: President Mugabe was not there, Mudhara Joshua was not there, nobody was there because it was an intention by others for different purposes.

However, we went to Mozambique to try and rescue Zanu from collapse, in the process we had serious problems.

So the group of people who came after the closure of the border on the 3rd of February 1976 when President Samora Machel closed that border were the commanders.

That same day after addressing us, all Zipra cadres who had come to rescue Zipa were arrested by the Mozambicans on the instigation of Zanla comrades.

They were all sent to Tete, including Thomas Ngwenya, who is making so much noise about himself as if he was above us.

I sent my wife to see them in Tete; she travelled all the way to Chimoio. When she got to Chimoi she used her brother who was in the army to send the communication to those people who were there.

Then from there in 1976 sometime in August, I was arrested myself with the instigation of these guys — Zanla. I was arrested and thrown into a prison at an island.

My wife is the one who did the best and got me released.

My arrest coincided with the time when the British wanted to help the Geneva talks. But they took my car and they wanted to kidnap my wife only to discover she was Mozambican although she spoke Zulu.

When I was released, in the command General Odala was my counterpart from the government — he was in charge of logistics, I was in charge of logistics for Zipa.

Under my command I got a number of guys including Mhaka, Brig Kanhanga who were under my command for logistics.

All the materials which we got was kept under Frelimo, because you couldn’t keep weapons in a foreign country.

When I was released from prison I stayed at Kadoso Hotel, President Mugabe also came and we stayed together for three months at Kadoso Hotel.

The president was in room 21 and I was in room 19 and we were there together for three months before we were allocated houses. That was the time when we went to Tanzania to dismantle Zipa.

We flew together with the President to Tanzania.

The President was there, the Old Man was there, Muzorewa was there, and that was the first Frontline States meeting attended by President Augustino Neto of Angola.

The decision was to be made that the leadership whether it is Zipa or the leaders, who would go to Geneva. There was a heated argument.

There were people like Dzino who were challenging the leaders, that the leadership of Zimbabwe was not a monopoly.

It was finally resolved that leaders come back to their leadership positions and then the young fellows like Dzino and others were supposed to fall under the leadership.

They argued until they got arrested.

But the most critical point is that I talked to Dr Nkomo and told him that the situation in Mozambique was hostile because Frelimo was close to Zanu and, yes, I had been arrested.

Then the Old Man said to me: “No one owns anybody. If somebody can own somebody then you can also own that somebody. Go back to Mozambique and make sure that that situation favours you and favours us.”

I went back to Mozambique; that is when I became a representative of Zapu after the collapse of Zipa.

In Mozambique I had a responsibility to co-ordinate President Mugabe as leader of Zanu and president Nkomo as leader of Zapu. I also had the responsibility to co-ordinate president Nkomo as leader of Zapu and President Samora Machel.

Those were the roles which I had.

And during my stay there from 1975 up to 1980 we had so many delegations from Lusaka, the Old Man coming with his delegations all the time and I had all those years to develop a relationship with the Old Man.

The biggest lesson I learnt from the Old Man is that nobody owns anybody. One other thing is the biggest lesson also is that Old Man Josh was not a tribalist, never!

That is one thing I learnt from him. He was allergic to tribalism.

You can see by his own fellow leaders in Zapu, there was himself as the president, Josiah Chinamano, Joseph Msika, Samuel Munodawafa, Aaron Jirira, Dan Madzimbamuto, Willie Musarurwa, George Silundika, Edward Ndlovhu and others.

The majority of the people were all from Mashonaland; so the fact that Zapu was a Ndebele outfit is a fallacy of the Rhodesians.

He was a unifier and he worked under anybody including Muzorewa. Muzorewa felt so big and fired Nkomo at one time and Nyerere reprimanded him.

So those are some of the lessons I learnt from the Old Man.

A fortnight ago, Zimbabwe marked the 18th commemoration of the death of Vice-President Dr Joshua Nkomo. Our senior reporter Lincoln Towindo spoke to Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, on how he worked closely with the late Father Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe Vice President Mphoko Slams Command
Sunday Mail
JULY 16, 2017

Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko has expressed reservations on “planned” economic turnaround under the “Command” banner, saying such programmes do not work.

He said this in an exclusive and wide-ranging interview with The Sunday Mail in Harare last week.

Government has over the 2016/17 summer cropping season implemented a Specialised Maize Production and Import Substitution Programme, better known as Command Agriculture, under a public-private partnership with Sakunda Holdings.B

While that programme targets commercial production, the State, again in public-private partnership, also provided maize free inputs to households across Zimbabwe under the Presidential Inputs Support Scheme.

Projections by both Government and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation point to a maize harvest of at least 2,1 million tonnes against national annual requirements of 1,8 million tonnes.

The success of the State’s intervention has seen Government extending Com-mand Agriculture not only to the next summer cropping season, but also applying the concept to other sectors like fisheries and livestock. This has seem President Mugabe publicly  describing Command Agriculture as “beautiful”.

However, last week VP Mphoko – who was at the time the Acting President – told The Sunday Mail he was not too enamoured by the concept.

First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe initiated the idea of Command Agriculture, and Cabinet – in which VP Mphoko sits – adopted it, with President Mugabe assigning VP Emmerson Emmerson Mnangagwa to spearhead implementation.

Asked if Command Agriculture had Cabinet’s full backing following weeks of rabid attacks by Higher and Tertiary Education,

Science and Technology Development Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, VP Mphoko said: “I don’t know how you want to put it. The (Command Agriculture) programme, I don’t want to put some of these words you are talking because I have never agreed with them.

“I have trained in the Soviet Union and I know what a planned economy is, but I am saying and we must be very careful not to distort our programmes. Because if you give a headline on a particular subject or a title to a book stick to the title, don’t distort it.”

VP Mphoko added that investors did not care about policy discord in Government as they were only driven by self- interest.

“In Zimbabwe there is everything here; you tell them not to invest but they want milk, they want fish they want gold, they want platinum they want all the minerals that we have here.

“Whether it’s agriculture or what the ministers say, those people are governed by their interests.”

VP Mphoko spoke strongly against factionalism in Zanu-PF.

“Factionalism will not help anybody, instead it will destroy you. You see what happens is that you cannot anoint yourself; you can’t do that. You have to be anointed not by someone.

“Go to the Bible and look at how King Solomon was appointed. David was very sick, he was very frail and one of his sons, Adonijah, slaughtered over 50 beasts and anointed himself, assisted by Joab, who was a general in the army.

“Joab and Adonijah were working together. In the meanwhile the reality happened, and David installed Solomon and those who had anointed themselves failed completely. Those are lessons you must learn.

“You must learn what also happened to others during the Mzilikazi era. People decided to install Nkulumane before they had established that Mzilikazi was dead and as a result of that, it failed.”