Friday, January 30, 2015

Zimbabwe Herald Editorial Comment: Kudos to Africa for Returning to Source
Zimbabwe President Mugabe leads African Union procession.
January 31, 2015
Opinion & Analysis
Zimbabwe Herald

THE African Union yesterday came of age in refusing to kowtow to Westerners who thought they were best placed to decide what is best for the continent.

Some Western countries were busy lobbying against President Mugabe’s elevation to the helm of the continental body as they sought to portray him as a pariah who should not even be leading Zimbabwe, but yesterday Africans sent a clear message to Western capitals that Africa can make its own decisions.

We applaud them for this.

It is not a secret that the African Union, as currently constituted, is a pale shadow of what the founding fathers who met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on May 25 1963 envisioned it would be as the bloc is not self-reliant as it has to rely on Westerners for sustenance.

It is quite regrettable that a continent that is home to almost three-quarters of the world’s resources is also home to depressing tales of penury, yet those who are resource-poor continue feeding off what should rightfully accrue to Africans.

This penury is the reason why many African countries fail to pay up their membership subscriptions leaving donors, whom they subsidise through their resources, to account for over 60 percent of the AU budget, and in so doing end up influencing the continent’s trajectory.

This explains why today the AU is home to many institutions that are African in name only, and that end up serving the interests of those from whom Africa should wrest both the crown and the crown jewels.

It is precisely President Mugabe and Zimbabwe’s decision to go beyond flag independence that so angered the Western rabble-rousers who have since confessed that the actions and policies of the Government of Zimbabwe pose an unusual and extra-ordinary threat to their foreign policy.

This is why Africa, in rejecting Western overtures and endorsing President Mugabe, the only African statesman alive today who was there in Addis Ababa on that historic day, May 25 1963 when the Organisation of African Unity was formed, has returned to the source.

It is a fact that President Mugabe is not only an elder statesman but, as was pointed out by his spokesperson Mr George Charamba, is the remaining link between politics of liberation and post-colonial politics.

He is the only African leader today cut from the cloth that gave Africa Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Samora Moises Machel and Sekou Toure, to mention but just a few liberation icons.

This is why Western capitals were jittery, they would rather have Zimbabwe’s brand of politics either quashed and buried or confined between the Zambezi and the Limpopo, which explains the ruinous economic sanctions regime and retrogressive travel bans on Zimbabwe and President Mugabe and the first family.

And Africa would do well to tap from this fountain of knowledge if Agenda 2063, which envisages an Africa that claims its stake in the world, is not to remain a pipe dream.

The founding fathers who met in Addis Ababa in 1963 did not have much on their plate but through principle and building the right synergies they managed to decolonise the entire continent.

And many African states today should build on that flag independence and transform their freedom from the political to the economic dimension by taking stock of their resources and making sure that they work to improve the livelihoods of their people.

This is the only way Africa can become completely free and be able to fund its own development projects.

As it is the alms that the Westerners are doling out, and through which they seek to continue influencing events on the continent, are not even enough to drive African programmes as the bulk of the donor-driven budget is going towards operational costs.

As President Mugabe rightly pointed out, Africa needs a paradigm shift that can see it prosper from its resources, fund the Union and influence its development trajectory.

It is providential that for the next year, Africa has the right man at the top.

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