A pearl of wisdom now presides over SADC
Obi Egbuna Jnr Correspondent
WHEN President Mugabe assumed the mantle of leadership of Sadc last weekend, that infamous adage experience is the best teacher, took on a very special and historic slant, in relationship to African regional and continental politics. We aren’t quite sure why Albert Einstein stated “Experience is the greatest enemy of intuition”, our only response is simply that unfortunately he never had the chance to meet and speak with President Mugabe.
As Zimbabweans are only one year removed from an election that sent a bold and emphatic message to the entire world, they now have the honour and privilege of leading Africa’s most politically and economically stable region, for one whole calendar year.
What became glaringly obvious was that the congratulatory messages given by neighbouring heads of state, could not be classified a mere exercise of futility, on the contrary they were in awe of President Mugabe’s health, enthusiasm and attention to detail. We must remember it was not too long ago, that US Congressional hearings on Zimbabwe had taken on the character of a watchdog mechanism giving updates on President Mugabe’s medical status, attempting to paint the picture that due to President Mugabe’s “declining” health former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was a more logical choice to elect to be President of Zimbabwe.
Some who testified even claimed to know how many times President Mugabe left the country for health-related reasons. It would be safe to say Zimbabweans are more comfortable with President Mugabe in critical condition than with Tsvangirai fit as a fiddle.
Another extremely interesting dynamic to pay close attention to is how the US-EU alliance will attempt to manipulate the deputy chairman of Sadc, Botswana’s President Ian Khama, who offended the Sadc community a few years ago when he prematurely and opportunistically volunteered Botswana’s air space for a US-EU invasion of Zimbabwe.
If President Khama appreciates the history of Sadc in particular and African history in general, he should verify with his predecessor Festus Mogae, that it was Dr Simbi Mubako, the former Zimbabwean ambassador, who helped write Botswana’s constitution.
To see President Mugabe at the helm of Sadc is beneficial for the collective intellect of African youth worldwide, who at this juncture are being force-fed an inaccurate narrative, that the history of Sadc is merely the history of South Africa and the African National Congress.
The fact that Sadc and Zimbabwe’s history as a sovereign nation must be stressed both on the African continent and Diaspora, which reveals President Mugabe has demonstrated that defending Sadc’s territorial integrity and Zimbabwe’s sovereignty go hand- in-hand.
The truth is throughout the years President Mugabe has been very humble when it comes to sharing how Zimbabwe has demonstrated its loyalty and patriotism to the Sadc region. It would be an epic gesture if South African President Jacob Zuma lets the international community know long before the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security existed Cde Josiah Magama Tongogara had fought as a guerrilla in Zambia and Mozambique, while it is only natural to marvel at Cde Tongogara’s patriotism all over Sadc battlefields, the fact they predate Zanla guerrilla camps in Mozambique and Zambia is even more astonishing.
The theme of the summit “Sadc Strategy for Economic Transformation: Leveraging the Region’s Diverse Resources for Sustainable Economic and Social Development through Beneficiation and Value Addition” draws a striking resemblance to the second All- African Peoples Conference In Tunis in January of 1960.
When President Mugabe raised the question “How can we proudly claim SADC to be our own organisation when close to 60 percent of the programmes are externally funded? The economic and social resolution from that gathering comes to mind “Considering that foreign powers sometimes use their economic aid as a means of endeavouring to divide the African territories and isolate the independent states from territories still under colonial rule”.
“Economic and social resolution considering the underdeveloped state of African economies which is a result of the colonial system and foreign domination;
“Considering that economic growth and development constitute the surest guarantee of the freedom of the African continent;
“Considering the tendency of colonialist countries to substitute economic for political domination and thus rob the newly won independence of the African states its true content.”
The third conference which occurred in March 1961 also stands out because of the denunciation of Joseph Kasavubu, Moise Tshombe, Mobutu Sese Seko and Albert Kalonji in connection with the assassination of that great son of Africa, Patrice Lumumba.
Zimbabweans have another reason to wave their flag, as at the ongoing 104th edition of the Harare Agricultural Show President Mugabe reminded those in attendance that agriculture was the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s economy.
It is also a welcome bonus that according to the SADC magazine Southern Africa Today it was announced that Zimbabwe has recorded one of the best maize performances in the last 20 years. In that same publication the story entitled “China Contributes to African Green Revolution”, Kizito Sizuka highlights the work being done at the Gwebi Agricultural Demonstration Centre where Zimbabwe and China agreed to build a facility back in 2009.
The story confirms the centre, built in 2012 on 100 hectares, has trained 3 000 Zimbabwean students and has been managed by China but will be handed over to Zimbabwe next year.
For those Africans based in the US who are functioning from the understanding that China is Africa’s next colonizer, what is even worse than peddling this baseless falsehood due to lack of information, you are indirectly calling President Mugabe a neo-colonialist and Zimbabwe a neo-colony.
When the true history of Africa is written President Mugabe will not only be remembered as the face of land reclamation, but the face behind Africa-Asian relations that broke Europe’s grip on Africa. It would not be extreme to name the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development programme that mandate’s African governments should spend 10 percent of their national budgets on agriculture in honour of President Mugabe.
Another point worthy of mention when it comes to SADC is President Mugabe and Zimbabwe’s generosity when it comes to allowing several of its SADC neighbours to use Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Victoria Falls) to promote its tourism portfolios.
It can be confirmed that thousands of travellers to the countries close to Zimbabwe’s borders have visited this historic site know it as one of the world’s Seven Wonders, and had absolutely no idea they were on Zimbabwean soil.
If President Mugabe was a publicity hound when this occurs wouldn’t he be pounding the pavement notifying every tourist imaginable that they were in Zimbabwe? At the summit President Mugabe did the exact opposite when he encouraged all attendees to take in the beauty of Mosi-oa-Tunya before they left the summit and returned to their respective countries.
When President Mugabe reaffirmed Zimbabwe and Sadc’s commitment to its unwavering solidarity with the Palestinian people, it reminded the African world that the Zionist state of Israel still has yet to answer for its military and political support for apartheid in South Africa and Rhodesia and mercenary installations in Mozambique and Angola.
We know that the world is focused on Zimbabwe because of its diamonds and platinum, since we know the most valuable resource is the human resource, failure to urge Africans not to overlook the 90-year-old pearl of wisdom who presides over Zimbabwe would truly be a tragedy.
- Obi Egbuna Jnr is the US correspondent to The Herald and a US-based member of the Zimbabwe-Cuba Friendship Association. His email is email@example.com
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