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DARE congratulatory message to Robert Gabriel Mugabe

06 Feb 2015 at 22:40hrs | Views
The Democratic Assembly for Restoration and Empowerment (DARE) extends Zimbabwe's gratitude to our African brothers and sisters for bestowing Zimbabwe with the huge honour and task to chair and lead the African Union (AU) for the next twelve months at a challenging juncture in its life.

We are proud of the honour as Zimbabweans and hope that this achievement translates into a renewed impetus to boost our collective national effort to resuscitate our stuttering economy.

Mr. President we acknowledge that this is a personal crowning glory to your leadership and political career. We therefore, implore you to grab and run with this opportunity to restore the lost principles, ideals, values and ethics of Zimbabwe's and indeed of the Pan-African liberation struggle with a view to reinvigorating the spirit of indigenisation and Pan Africanism. That is the future.

The Africa we've today is a crude carving up of our continent during the ‘Scramble for Africa' itself a misnomer as it was actually and continues to be the raping of Africa economically, spiritually, socially and culturally. This has to stop!

Nevertheless, the OAU, the forerunner to the African Union (AU) managed to achieve one of its core objectives, that is, complete decolonization of the African continent before passing on the baton for complete and credible independence to the AU in 2002.

Fortuitously, Africa has had a fair share of fire in the belly visionary leaders in the mold of Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Julius Mwalimu Nyerere, Thomas Sankara and many others who unfortunately succumbed to externally engineered military coups by those threatened by a united , productive and self- sufficient Africa.

It is noteworthy, that Africa's problems unlike other continents are not steeped in a lack of natural, technological and intellectual resources. Instead Africa's problems are largely due to a lack of sound leadership that is both visionary in outlook and also technocratic in formulating, implementing and coordinating public policies that leverage its abundant resources to trade as an equal partner with other global economies by adding value to its natural resources through beneficiation. The resultant positive impact on Africans' morbidity and mortality rates would see an improvement in quality of life lived and long healthy life years.

As proposed in our ‘Africa Day message' of 25 May 2014, clearly, it is an imperative and incumbent upon the AU under your leadership to pursue an African renaissance agenda. Ostensibly, Africa shows signs of movement towards the dream of a united Africa. However, on the ground there are some structural deficits in terms of political will and divergent socio-economic trajectories militating against a united Africa.

Philosophically, the idea of a united Africa was to erase the artificial boundaries drawn up by the marauding colonialists in 1884. The main stumbling- block in achieving this objective has been the egos attendant to ‘Big Man' nationalist politics that renders African politicians territorial animals who cannot let go of their national narratives in favour of a Pan-Africanist agenda espoused by our visionary leaders like Kwame Nkrumah and Julius Nyerere.

Unfortunately, Africa today presents a paradox. On one hand, it is arguably the richest continent in the world endowed with natural resources in terms of climate, land, minerals and oil among others. On the other hand, the African continent may be viewed as the sick man of the world. Whilst about a hundred years ago there was no unemployment in Africa, Africa today is burdened with a lack of employment opportunities, hunger, disease, homelessness, civil war and antiquated and dilapidated water, electricity and road network structures. There is a dearth of quality clinics and hospitals, schools and universities on the continent where civilization begun. Zimbabwe is a poignant case in point.

Ironically, and more tellingly, some of the colonial powers that yesterday launched the ‘scramble for Africa' today have been invited back. The French are not only involved in the conflict in the Central African Republic (CAR) but Sierra Leon actually pays a colonial tax to the French for the benefits of colonization, the United States of America (USA) are in Nigeria, ostensibly to neutralize Boko Haram. Moreover, the USA has military bases throughout the continent or within striking distance and occasionally wades in African territorial waters.

Furthermore, the African Union institutions such as the African Development bank have the same world powers as their majority shareholders. Our leaders do not seem to see anything wrong with that. Where is the African peace keeping force in Nigeria, in the DRC and elsewhere on the continent where there is conflict? When are we going to have an effective African parliament to legislate, deliberate, and articulate on issues that affect Africans in the global village? Where indeed is the African Criminal Court to dispense justice between and among African people? There must never be a vacuum after the recently proposed move to dissociate Africa from the ICC. We have a dire need for an African Criminal Court with teeth.

DARE believes the solution lies in a new generation of leadership to carry the baton for a United States of Africa. A new generation of leadership that discards ‘colonial victim' rhetoric but is pragmatic in approach to embrace globalization forces such as improved technology and transportation systems to power Africa's economic renaissance.

Moreover, an African economic renaissance is the best way to improve the political and socio-economic condition of our people in Africa. However, a paradigm shift and a sea change in thinking and approach are required of our African leadership. This entails looking inwards to Africans ourselves wherever we maybe as arbiters and problem solvers in our own conflicts and challenges. That means Africa should strengthen its democratic, legal and governance infrastructures to world- class best practice.

Furthermore, Africa should harness its intellectual capital and economic potential through establishment of attractive investment packages to Africans in the diaspora. Currently, Africans in the diaspora remit around $52 billion a year compared to about $43 billion in Official Development Aid (ODA). The proposed attractive investment packages could quadruple remittances and the image of an Africa with a begging bowl in hand would be a thing of the past.  Therefore, Africa can and should rise to take its rightful place as a wealthy, proud and powerful continent. Charity begins at home. As an illustration, scholarly research has shown that Zimbabweans in the diaspora have remittances totaling around $3.5 billion a year. Therefore, it is necessary that this paradigm shift begin at country level.

In tandem with attracting investments from Africans in the diaspora, there is a compelling imperative for accelerated intra-Africa trade flows to boost the economies of African countries. In that vein, Africa's regional economic blocks present a framework to facilitate this interaction. These economic blocks should also be brought to bear in negotiations between African countries and other economies outside Africa in order to achieve economies of scale that provide considerable leverage in trade negotiations. For instance, it is inherently daunting for a diamond producing country such as Zimbabwe to get a good deal in negotiations with giant economies such as the European Union or China. We should know better from our own bungled negotiations and experiences in the diamond rich Chiadzwa and Marange fields. It would be best, in this case, were the negotiations conducted at SADC level or the equivalent of OPEC in the African diamond producing countries and proceeds remitted to the treasury for public and not private expenditure.

Subsequently, the free flow in trade and investments would behoove African governments to relax and eventually scrap retrogressive immigration laws, rules and regulations. Africa would then indeed and truly have become a United States of Africa. This is possible to achieve in our lifetime. All it takes is a different type of leadership and the political will to make it happen.

In conclusion, it is quite clear that if Africa starts to utilize its internal synergies and embraces an inclusive approach to politics and economic management , aligns national legal systems and institutions to be more inclusive, then Africa's social,  economic and ecological capitals would meteoristically rise and with it Africa's political clout in the global village.

Once again, we congratulate Zimbabwe on her election to the chair of the African Union and hope His Excellence will use this opportunity to restore his legacy both at home and globally.

Arise Mother Africa arise! This is no time for slumber; it is time to stop the plunder!

Warm regards,

Benny Mukusha
Interim Head of International Affairs (DARE)

Source - Benny Mukusha
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