Tuesday, 31 May 2016

We Came, We Marched and We Heard.

Cde Nick Mangwana

Readers of this column know that we try to be as objective as possible. We are no enemy to nobody. We are only enemies of actions that damage the party that we love, the party that we have put ourselves in harm’s way for. So if today a comrade’s message is off-key, we will tell them off in a comradeship spirit. But if a comrade is on point with their message then we will give them their due credit and accolades.

The Youth Deputy Leader Cde Kudzai Chipanga was on song during the 1 Million March. If there was any confusion about what the 1 million March was for, if some didn’t understand what the youth had in mind, this time they had a message that resonated with the Frank One.

Top of the messages is the love for resorts by parastatals and government ministries which should be curbed. These are clandestine holidays taken by these executives at the expense of the public purse under the guise of seminars and symposia whose outcome never translate into a service delivery positive.  People that have boardrooms, some even have seminar rooms but they have to travel to Victoria Falls which is nearly 1000 km away to meet and hold a seminar with people that they work with, the facilitator is probably the only person who doesn’t work in that building. How does that even begin to make sense at all? And these are parastatals that are technically insolvent or ministry which are struggling. And yet when El Nino strikes, we look to donor agencies to assist and yet our own resources we fritter away.

These are the type of things Cde Chipanga gathered the youth to tell the President on their behalf. Of they honoured the Icon but beyond all the eulogies and honour there was a message. The love of cars was rightly labelled a sign of misplaced priorities. Idzo Ford Ranger idzi? Chegore rino! (These Ford Rangers! Lord have Mercy). You hear so much mourning, so much pining and complaining. Just go and see what is parked outside government buildings. These are not visitors. These are ministers and civil servants and the parastatal directors doing their thing. The country is not primed to sustain this type of ostentatious show-off. Some people really need an infusion of humility and modest. When Cde Chipanga sang that verse he was on tune.

The next verse on tune was these ZIMRA officers who work for customs. Why does dishonesty have so much impunity in our country that a person that earns less than a thousand dollars buys a car within a few months of getting a job without borrowing from the employer nor bank and the employer doe not bats an eye lid?  This had to be said to the President and if the the youth marched to tell their Icon this then the March was worthy all the effort. For they sang in tune with the rest of the nation.

In fact, the anti-corruption noise within the party is gaining momentum in such a great way and the youth are at the centre of it. The beauty of this is that once we start making the noise ourselves as a party, we take the initiative away from the opposition. If they start talking about the same things we are at the fore front to fight, it appears like they have no agenda except that which is Zanu PF. Where our problem will remain on is on the arrest of those doing these malfeasances. We are making too much noise without action and end up looking like we are blowing hot air. Are we? We have said over and over again that the difference between us and the corrupt opposition is that we have State power and therefore our responsibility to do something. If we fail to act, ZANU PF is a failure.

We have said that whenever one hears the same thing over and over again in monotone, they will become deaf that tone. Are we getting to that position with corruption?  That’s for another day.

Let’s go back to what the youth said. Zim Asset Cluster on Food Security raises the need for the nation to do more grain farming than tobacco. How can farmers be incentivised to do that when the GFMB goes months without paying them for the delivered grain? Where we differ with the Youth is we understand why the importation of the maize was necessary as there was not enough locally to alleviate the hunger in some provinces but that does not excuse the treatment we are giving to those that deliver maize to the GMB.

There is no better test of our convictions than our priorities. Are our priorities cars or delivery of good outcomes to our people? How about a lot of other crimes we prioritise but ignore the real fight that is out there; corruption. Are we not found wanting in this conviction test? A conviction is a commitment to what we stand for. Well, this party is broad based Mass Party. In short we should stand for the people. Our conviction should be about the people.

We need deadlines now in this fight against corruption. Now that the Youth rose and showed their love for our President and galvanised the party. The party should give something back in return for this grand deed. We should do create an enabling environment for companies to create jobs. That does not sound like much to ask for the youth. After all they turned around and showed a lot of respect to our war veterans. Let us laud this unifying gesture and tap their exuberance. They are not canon fodder for politicians but a future generation upon which the hope of every nation is built. But in Zimbabwe we are risking a lost generation.

The candour of the youth has been heard. Zimbabwe was not built on fear. It is built on brave determination from those whose future depends on achieving great outcomes. Now that we have marched and we gathered together in solidarity with our President, let us turn around and do something to keep the love of our youths, so we don’t waste their youthful years. One good turn deserves another.

(First published in The People's Voice 27 May - 3 June 2016)


Continuing with the Africa Day theme and the ongoing African, Caribbean & Pacific Heads of State and Government summit in Papua New Guinea, we take a look at the parallels between Haiti and Zimbabwe.

 One was the first republic to come out of a slave rebellion, the other was the last outpost of the British empire in Africa. Although gaining independence almost two centuries apart, both countries had to endure armed struggle followed by even longer quests for economic freedom.

In the 1700s Haiti was France’s most valuable colony, with highly efficient slave trade and a thriving agro based economy. At one point, it was supplying two-thirds of all of Europe’s tropical produce.

While the French were fighting to free themselves from monarchy, Haitian slaves revolted, contributing to the end of slavery and their birth as a republic. Gaining independence would prove to be the easy part over the following centuries!

In 1991, Jean-Bertrand Aristide became Haiti's first democratically elected president. A year later, Zimbabwe enacted the Land Acquisition Act to speed up the land reform process by removing the "willing seller, willing buyer" requirement. 1992 is a very significant year as it proves to all that ZANU PF took its time and went through due process to implement equitable land redistribution and reverse a century of injustice. Land reform was never about populism; it was to keep a promise to all who sacrificed their lives for it. Nothing to do with the MDC that conveniently sprouted when white interests were threatened! Some of us seem to forget that basic fact.

Fast forward to recent times and we learn through WikiLeaks cables that high-level US and UN officials allegedly once worked to prevent former President Aristide from "gaining more traction with the Haitian population and returning to Haiti from exile in South Africa." The cables give an impression that they poured tens of millions of dollars into unsuccessful efforts to slander Aristide as a drug trafficker, human rights violator. The former Jesuit priest was even labelled as a follower of voodoo!

Aristide remained a potent symbol for the impoverished population of Haiti while in exile for almost a decade. Our own President Mugabe was in prison for 11 years.

In 2003, President  Aristide demanded that France refund over $21 billion U.S. dollars, of the (modern equivalent of 90 million gold francs, adjusted for interest and inflation) Haiti was forced to pay Paris after gaining independence. France put in place mechanism to force Haiti to pay them for the privilege of being colonised! These payments had gone on until just after the 2nd world war. The actual conditions for this this “thievery” are quite complex and for another day.

On February 26, 2004, the UN Security Council rejects an appeal from the Caribbean Community  for international peacekeeping forces to be sent into Haiti. Three days later Aristide “resigns” and Surprise, Surprise, within a few hours the UN had grows a pair! As the U.N. ships in, Aristide ships out to South Africa (supposedly against his will via some military base in a central African state). A US based former U.N. staffer got installed in Aristide's place and one of his first actions as leader of a "liberated" Haiti was to rescind the reparations demand, calling it "foolish" and "illegal".

Way to go France! Well played indeed.

The "U.N", the US, Canada and The EU swiftly recognised Interim Prime Minister. Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, Venezuela and Cuba, as well as the African Union refused to recognise the puppet government. Parties that have desires for regime change take note. Africa said Non!

Myrtha Desulme, chairperson of the Haiti-Jamaica Exchange Committee, was quoted saying,

"I believe that the call for reparations could have something to do with it, because France were definitely not happy about it, and made some very hostile comments. I believe that he did have grounds for that demand, because that is what started the downfall of Haiti".

In 2013 Haiti again calls for European nations to pay reparations for slavery and the establishment of an official commission for the settlement of past wrong-doings. In 2016, we learn that the US is dumping enough peanuts to destroy the livelihoods of thousands of Haitian farmers. When citizens are hungry and angry, they often blame their own government! The parallels between Zimbabwe and Haiti don't end there. Haiti is still recovering from a cholera outbreak that infected 7% of the 10 million locals and killed over eight thousand. Haiti, we know your pain.

To conclude on the numerous mirrored struggles our countries have gone through, it’s worth going further back in history.  On his death bed after being captured by the colonisers, Toussaint L’Ouverture the slave general who led the triumphant revolution said,

“In overthrowing me, you have cut down in only the trunk of the tree of black liberty. It will spring up again by the roots for they are numerous and deep.”

A century later, Mbuya Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana, Zimbabwe’s most revered heroine's last words were,

"My bones will rise again."

Those "bones" are the revolutionary descendants of Nehanda and numerous others who went before us. Vazukuru va Nehanda were to rise up culminating in the Second Chimurenga President Mugabe stands as the last of the founding fathers of modern Africa to speak against the continuing

Today as the revolutionary heirs of Nehanda and L’Ouverture’s legacies, not only seek restitution but a struggle to maintain our hard won sovereignty.

This piece was initially inspired by news that the US will be dumping (donating) a million dollars’ worth of peanuts into Haiti's economy thereby putting at risk the livelihoods of thousands of local farmers. Hasn't that small nation suffered enough from the numerous occupations, sanctions and natural disasters? The link below tells the story of subtle colonialism.

All our two countries seek is a level playing field, where we're allowed to choose our own leaders and run our economies without interference. A chance to be part of the global community of nations where Africa and the third world have a seat at the U.N. Security Council.

Is that too much to ask?



President Mugabe's New Papua Guinea Speech

Right Honourable, Mr Peter O’Neill, Prime Minister of the Independent 
State of Papua New Guinea and President of the 8th Summit of ACP Heads 
of State and Government, Your Excellencies, Heads of State and 
Government of the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, Honourable 
Ministers of the ACP Group, Distinguished Representative of the United 
Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, Distinguished Representatives 
of the European Union, Heads of Regional Economic Communities, 
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Comrades and Friends.
On behalf on my delegation, and on my own behalf, I wish to extend our 
warmest congratulations to you, Prime Minister O’Neill, on your 
assumption of the Chairmanship of the 8th Summit of the African 
Caribbean and Pacific Heads of State and Government. I wish also to 
express our heartfelt appreciation for the warm hospitality that my 
delegation and I have enjoyed since our arrival in your friendly city of 
Port Moresby.
Honourable Prime Minister, I feel greatly honoured to be amongst 
distinguished Heads of State and Government gathered here today, to 
chart a new vision and future for the African, Caribbean and Pacific 
(ACP) Group of States. In December 2012, we met in Equatorial Guinea, 
for a ground breaking discussion on the future of the ACP. Then we 
agreed that the ACP Group should be transformed so as to remain 
relevant, and continue serving our interests, deepening our solidarity, 
and enhancing South-South co-operation.
The foremost task of this Summit is to clearly redefine the Group’s core 
principles and align its objectives and, even, perhaps, arch a new 
framework altogether. The dramatic and ever evolving global realities 
and challenges, dictate that we similarly re-orient our ACP Group. 
Thus, the theme of our Summit, “Repositioning the ACP Group to Respond 
to the Challenges of Sustainable Development”, should therefore, give 
impetus to our deliberations today and the Group’s future endeavours.
Honourable Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, this year marks 41 
years since the signing of the Georgetown Agreement, by which we 
committed ourselves to a relationship with the European Union. With the 
birth of the ACP-EU partnership in 1975, came the evolution of the 
largest inter-continental body of developing countries whose vision, 
then, was to enhance the political identity of the ACP Group, to enable 
to act and speak with a united voice in all international for a, and to 
contribute towards the realization of a new, fearer, and a more 
equitable world economic order. The question that confronts us today is: 
“Have lived up to that vision as an ACP family, and what impact has the 
ACP-EU partnership had on well being?”
As we all witnessed with the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009, the 
EU has embarked on a fundamental institution transformation to 
strengthen its position as a global player. Against a backdrop of 
enlargement, the EU has shifted its strategic interests to focus on its 
immediate neighbours in Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean.
Naturally, the ACP has to respond to these dynamics as the Cotonou 
Partnership Agreement nears its end in 2020. We commend the initiative 
by our Ministers who established the Ambassadorial Working Group on 
Future Perspectives and the Eminent Persons Group, to intensify the 
reflections on the future of the Organisation.
We further note, with satisfaction, that the reflections have pointed to 
the fact that the new ACP needs to concentrate its resources and 
efforts, on clearly defined parameters and domains, for sustainable 
development. The new ACP should avoid duplicating activities that are 
being carried out by other regional and international organizations, 
which our countries are really part to.
We believe that, focusing on trade, investment, industrialisation, 
development co-operation, science and technology, and research and 
innovation, would help the ACP to capitalize on its numerical strength 
and geographical spread, in promoting equitable and sustainable 
development for the benefit of our people. The fight to eradicate 
poverty remains protracted, daunting and demanding that we all marshal 
our actions towards the promotion of the Sustainable Development Goals 
(SDGs) and the Agenda 2030.
Your Excellencies, The New ACP, post-2020, should buttress our regional 
integration efforts, by actively recognizing and supporting the role and 
objectives of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), in the 
furtherance of sustainable development, co-operation and dialogue. In 
pursuit of the latter, the ACP seek to adhere to the principles of 
solidarity, complementarity, and proportionality vis-à-vis the RECs, 
which are the invaluable building blocks towards sustainable 
Similarly, the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAS), which we have 
negotiated with the EU, should reinforce, not negate, regional 
integration in the ACP. Taking Cognizance that the EU has taken the 
position that it will use the EPAs as a basis for a future EU-ACP 
partnership, it therefore becomes most imperative for the ACP to ensure 
that the EPAs fully embrace the needs and interests of our countries and 
Honourable Prime Minister, We note that development finance has 
constituted a critical lifeline of the ACP-EU partnership, for over 40 
years, but has, regrettably, created a typical “donor-recipient” 
relationship, and the reviled dependency syndrome, while we have 
continued to producers and exporters of primary products. While we are 
appreciative of such provided financial support, we have continued to 
receive from our EU partners, it has increasingly become clear that 
financial self-sufficiency should be our new modus operandi, as we drive 
our efforts towards the mobilization of our resources, aimed at a more 
robust and beneficial development thrust, prioritizing our collective 
interest as developing countries.
Honourable Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen, This Summit should 
commit itself to gradually weaning the ACP from development aid. 
Cognizant of the reflections that have already been done by the Council 
of Ministers on the funding of the new ACP, I nevertheless believe that 
the Summit should mandate our Ministers of Finance to further reflect 
and elaborate on funding options for the new organization. Our ACP 
regions are endowed with a vast array of natural resources – flora and 
fauna, diamonds, gold, platinum, oil, marine life, land and highly 
educated citizens, yet we remain on the margins of the value chains. We 
cannot continue to be spectators while our primary commodities are 
driving an economic boom in the North and West.
Honourable Prime Minister, Comrades and Friends, The hard lesson learnt 
from the ACP-EU partnership as a North-South development model, require 
that theACP’s desire to diversify its forms of co-operation and 
partnership be pursued vigorously within the South-South framework of 
co-operation, as well as through a deeper economic interface. The 
emergence of our powerful such as Brazil, India, Russia, China and South 
Africa (BRICS) and a shift in wealth, has opened up new avenues of 
co-operation for developing countries, in particular the ACP Group of 
States. Fortunately, most, if not all, ACP States have, individually or 
as regions, collaborated with these emerging economies, thereby setting 
the basis for sound transcontinental co-operation. It is imperative for 
the ACP Group to move swiftly to interrogate itself into the global 
arena and safeguard its interests by deepening political dialogue and 
establishing other viable, strategic, and mutually beneficial 
partnerships, beyond the traditional relationship with the EU.
Honourable Prime Minister, The pre-requisite of peace and security in 
the pursuit of sustainable development, cannot be over-emphasized. I 
wish to recall the ACP’s objectives of securing common peace and 
security, for present and future generations, as espoused at the 
establishment of this Group. I am convinced that no meaningful and 
sustainable development can be achieved by our countries, our regions, 
and the ACP at large, without sustainable peace and security. We 
condemn, in the strongest sense terrorism and the untold mayhem and 
suffering it causes to our countries and people.
In conclusion, I urge our Group, with the rest of humanity, to foster a 
peaceful and secure environment, that is conducive to the realization of 
the ideals that ensure the stability, growth and development of our 
I thank you