After a long time of disappointing many people, the African Union (AU) has given some hope that it can defend and protect African interests without fear from the intimidation of imperialist countries.
It was an unprecedented bold act on the part of the African Union (AU) to elect President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe as First Vice-Chairman of its executive during the General Assembly meeting of African Heads in Addis Ababa on 30th January 2014. This appointment paves the way for him to be eligible for the chairmanship of the AU next year (2015).
The European Union (EU) imposed crippling economic sanctions on Zimbabwe in order to effect a “regime change.” One of its members, Britain, proposed the invasion of this African country, like what it did in Iraq. The EU therefore, reacted to the AU election of Mugabe angrily. The EU threatened not to invite President Mugabe to the coming summit of both the AU and the EU in April this year.
Zimbabwe, led by Mugabe, remains targeted under a list of restrictive measures. These measures stop Mugabe and other ZANU-PF officials from travelling in Europe. The AU has rejected the EU disrespect of Africa and her sovereign decision, democratically taken at the highest body of the African Continent.
Speaking on behalf of the AU, Zambia’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Wylbur Simmusa said, “We must now speak with one voice and make sure we act in the interest of Africa. That is why for the EU-Africa Summit coming up, where Zimbabwe is singled out with restrictions for President Robert Mugabe from attending, the position that the AU has taken is that if Zimbabwe won’t go, then Africa will not go and that has been agreed upon.”
The AU deserves congratulations and full support by all Africans on this important decision. For far too long, the AU has bowed to the ne-colonial machinations and arrogance of the EU regarding the interests of African people.
History shows that when Africans fight for their rights Pan Africanly as a family, they always win. The stubborn fact is that Africans are one. They have a common destiny. In their struggles for Africa’s authentic liberation, they will win together or perish together.
The truth is that when Africans were enslaved or colonised by Western Europe, the perpetrators never cared whether their victims of the vile systems were Mozambicans, Ghanaians, Nigerians, Somalis, South Africans, Azanians, Batswana, Zambians, Zimbabweans or Basotho. They inflicted their atrocities on every African whether in Jamaica or in America.
Africa must not engage with the world as if she is a beggar with nothing to put on the international table. Africa has land and riches in it. African leaders must stop dealing with some of the world’s leaders as if they were demigods. Africa is rich. She would have been far ahead today economically if Western Europe did not under-develop her people through slavery, colonialism and racism at gunpoint.
Africa must control her riches for the uplifting and development of her people. She is rich. For example, some researchers have found that Tanzania has most kinds of biological resources including mahogany and other woods. Zambia has 36 million tons of copper. Namibia has the largest deposits of the best diamonds in the world. Guinea in West Africa has the highest reserves of bauxite in the world. Nigeria has 32 trillion cubic feet of gas. Somalia has 30 million tons of Jepson, a building material including recently discovered oil along with Uganda.
This list of Africa’s riches is very long. The Democratic Republic of Congo for which Patrice Lumumba was killed; if developed, can electrify and feed almost the whole of Africa. This African country is 905,355 square miles. It is as large as twelve European countries such as Britain, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Armenia and Albania. DRC potential wealth is equivalent to the gross domestic product of Europe and North America combined. Any wonder why DRC has been a victim of mercenaries and proxy wars for so long?
It is not surprising that Secretary Godding of exiled Belgian government after Belgium was overrun by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi army; boasted, “During the war [European Second World War), the Congo [then a Belgian colony] was able to finance all the expenditure of the Belgian Government in exile in London, including the diplomatic services as well as the cost of armed forces in Europe and America…the Belgian gold reserve could be left intact.”
The African Union member states must now consider and attend to the following challenges facing the AU:
1. Promote peace and political stability among African states and stand in solidarity with one another when any of these states are threatened by external forces and pressurised to serve the interests of imperialist countries. African people must be sensitised to be vigilant and refuse to be used for the destruction of their Continent and their people.
2. African States must prioritise and maximise the study of modern science, technology, agriculture, geology and international law to avoid signing documents such as the Rome Statute which created the International Criminal Court, now being used against Africa alone. At present knowledge is in the hands of former colonial powers which neglected the education of the colonised Africans. To neglect the education of the African youth is to gamble with the future of Africa.
3. African States must stop exporting their raw materials for exploitative purchasing prices and importing them back as finished products. Africa must develop high technology to process her raw materials and export them as finished products.
4. Where an urgent need has arisen to process a raw material, African States must exchange that raw material for relevant high technology. Many countries are secretive about technology transfer to Africa in order to keep Africa dependent on them. Important raw materials such as uranium, platinum, chrome etc must be exchanged for high technology not for cash or goods. This is the only way Africa can speedily advance technologically and look after her mineral and oil wealth.
5. AU member states must insist on investment on the infrastructure of Africa, instead of in things like KFC, MacDonald etc which indigenous people can do. Infrastructure is essential for the development of Africa. The modern way of foreign investment must be a partnership that advances Africa, while also making investment worthwhile for the foreign investor. African leaders must stop governing their countries primarily for foreign investors instead of advancing their own people and uplifting their standard of living. It is important to note that after nearly fifty years of independence, not a single African country has developed as a result of foreign investment. Most investors have taken more out of Africa than they gave or left after their departure to their own countries.
6. AU Member States must intensify intra-trade among themselves.
7. The AU supported by all its people at home and abroad must demand the cancellation of all “foreign debts”. The European traders in human cargo and colonialism owe Africa 370 trillion dollars for the slave trade alone. The “foreign debt” is a drop in the ocean compared with the amount owed Africa on slavery alone.
8. AU Members States must avoid “foreign aid” which recolonises the Continent. The pioneers of Africa’s liberation long said that they would accept “aid without strings.” “Foreign aid” has already compromised many African States at the expense of Africa’s economic development and social emancipation of African people.
9. The AU must have stringent code to deal with corrupt leaders. AU must have zero tolerance for corruption in all its forms. Corruption destroys nations. It causes revolutions which often lead to massive loss of human life and destruction of property.
10. Work ethics was the secret of Africa’s success before European slavery and colonialism. Africans must work hard to build their own countries and make them places to be proud of for themselves and their children. Work, work, work and hard work are the mother of success and prosperity for a family and for a nation. An African proverb says it all, “Charity will never fill the granary.”
By Dr. Motsoko Pheko
The writer is author of several books such as TOWARDS AFRICA’S AUTHENTICLIBERATION, REDISCOVERING AFRICA AND HER SPIRITUALITY AND THE HIDDEN SIDE OF SOUTH AFRICAN POLITICS. He is a former member of the South African Parliament.