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Africa Day: Reflections on the past and future freedoms – NewsDay

Monica Mutsvangwa

By Hon Monica Mutsvangwa
In 1963 on this day in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the African liberation doyens adopted the lifelong resolution which gave birth to multilateral institutionalisation of African independence under the banner of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

Today, the OAU has morphed into the African Union (AU) formed 21 years ago. Put together, the existence of the OAU and the AU gives us a shy six-decade youthful anti-colonial solidarity of African nations. The intensification of this solidarity continues to be influenced by the changing character of colonialism.

From the outset, the OAU as a strategic diplomatic alliance for Africa’s independence was formed to collectively enforce the fall of the colonial empire. To this day, the OAU is hailed for its role in rehumanising politics following the curse of imperialism which evaded the sanity of our institutions of power in pre-colonial Africa.

The rehumanisation of power is best explained by the fundamental theme of the philosophy of decolonisation as a means of humanising the dehumanised. Initially, colonialism made Africa a zone of non-being and the reversal of this process had a rehumanising effect to every institution and facet of the African society.

Therefore, it cannot be overstated that the formation of the OAU coincided with the fight for Zimbabwe’s independence. And that marked a crucial phase of the rehumanisation of the colonially disenfranchised majority.

To this end, history reminds us all that the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu) was formed in 1963. Prior to that, the Zimbabwe People’s Union (Zapu) had played a crucial role in the radicalisation of the anti-colonial movement since the late 50s.

This experience was not unique to Zimbabwe considering the fast spiralling effects of anti-colonial resistance across Africa. Clearly, the birth of the OAU was hyped by a continental demand for freedom and the restoration of human dignity of the African people. African nationalism became the transformative agent from the politics of looting and exploitation to the aspired politics of pro-people policy delivery.

It is these ideas that make Africa Day commemorations important to us as a people. The 25th of May awakens that self-consciousness of a people arising from the dehumanising consequence of colonialism towards total emancipation.

Therefore, Africa Day is a celebration of a people’s victory against the toxic legacy of imperialism. Africa Day collectively propels us towards the goal of unity in confronting the modern manifestation of colonialism. On this day, we are reminded that decolonisation was and is still unfinished business. Alluta continua!

On this important day, organisations that delivered independence to the rest of Africa must be celebrated. Zanu PF is one such organisation alongside its revolutionary sister parties across the entire African continent. At the same time, we must be able to take stock of the gains of the sacrifices of all our sung and unsung heroes of African liberation. Instructively, we stand bold on the shoulders of such luminaries’ lifelong sacrifices from Cape to Cairo.

On that note, it is worth maintaining that Zimbabwe’s independence could not have been won without the support of nations that had got their independence earlier than us. To those of us who were in the trenches in the fight for Zimbabwe, it is hard to forget the role played by the late general Hashim Mbita of Tanzania in organising support for guerrillas which later made the enemy bow to our demand for independence.

In 1972 Mbita was appointed executive secretary of the OAU Liberation Committee. He focused on expediting support for the armed struggle, resulting in cracks appearing in Lisbon, which would eventually see a coup against the Caetano fascist regime leading to the liberation of Mozambique, Angola, Guinea Bissau and Cape Verde in 1975.

Mbita retired as executive secretary to the continent’s unitary body in 1994 when the liberation of the subcontinent was completed with democratic elections in South Africa leading to majority rule.

General Mbita’s cross-cutting multilateral task in ensuring the unification and decolonisation agenda epitomises the defining moment of pan-Africanism as a cause for integration and cohesion of Africans at home and abroad. My contemporaries  and I would not dare forget the training we received in Zambia, Angola and Tanzania — not forgetting that brave Zipra and South Africa’s Umkhonto weSizwe’s collaboration in collapsing the rogue Rhodesian forces to surrender at the Wankie and Sipolilo battles, respectively? That was the power of neighbourly collaboration and fraternal determination for freedom shared on both sides of the Limpopo.

Therefore, the celebration of Africa Day profoundly articulates how the preceding independent African States sacrificed their sovereign autonomy to cater for the interests of fellow African libaration movements that were fighting colonialism in their respective jurisdictions. A case in point is that of the material and ideological support which our own then Zanu and the PF-Zapu received from the Frontline States.

Through that anti-colonial diplomatic pact of former liberation movements, our liberation struggle was waged from Zambia, Tanzania, Angola and Mozambique among many nations that supported our anti-colonial cause.

As a nation we are grateful that our independence was a product of the collective sacrifices of many other nations within the region and the continent at large.

Based on that profound historical connection we share with our neighbours, Africa Day is an essential occasion for cherishing the importance of solidarity, unity, and ideological clarity that characterised the earliest liberation struggles that framed the redemptive discourse of the continent and propelled the class struggles of the African peasantry and proletariat ultimately leading to the fall of colonialism.

In the modern world the continent is finding itself subjected to neo-colonial domination in all aspects. This has been manifest in  illegal sanctions, illicit financial flows and many forms of organised crime through multinational corporations. Meanwhile, preferential trade conditions have led to the undervaluing of the continent’s intellectual property, goods and services.

Africa is presently threatened with waning solidarity and unity as defined by Haille Selasie, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere and other African leaders that formed OAU. It is being relaced by xenophobia, wars and hostile intra-African competition to be satellites for cheap labour and resources.

As a result, Africa Day should provide a launchpad for patriotic Africans and African movements to introspect in a bid to produce true class consciousness, social patriotism and prosperity. The continental leadership in present-day Africa has the competence to achieve the Africa we all want.

That said, it is important to emphasise that the second republic under President Emmerson Mnangagwa has played a crucial role in the consolidation of African liberation values. Having been born out of a people-driven transition in November 2017, the new dispensation was conceived to reclaim the legacy of democracy, constitutionalism, investment attraction and many other tenets defining a modern State whose development trajectory had nosedived due to the incompetency of G40 factional elements in Zanu PF. Therefore, the implementation of operation Restore Legacy came as panacea to deliver Zimbabwe from a looming political-economy explosion. Therefore, it is not surprising that the recalibration of constitutionalism since November 2017 has brought with it a plethora of media freedoms.

President Mnangagwa has deployed pragmatic measures to implement media reforms that have culminated in the accelerated licensing of new media houses, mainstreaming of broadcast services to erstwhile marginalised communities, ease of accreditation for Zimbabweans and visiting media players. The President’s passion for an open society has seen journalism being allowed to thrive in a free space as prescribed by the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

This broadly epitomises the foundational spirit of liberation as espoused by those key values which define our being as Africans on this important day, when we cherish the continent’s freedom.

  •  Hon Senator Monica Mutsvangwa is Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister

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Zim solar start-up gets African recognition – NewsDay

William Ponela

BY BUSINESS REPORTER
A ZIMBABWEAN company promoting low-cost solar energy in off-grid rural communities, Zonful Vitality, was among eight African firms honoured during the Sustainable Energy for All Forum held in Kigali, Rwanda early last week.

The forum was part of the Humanitarian Energy Conference (HEC) 2022.

Zonful Energy is a for-profit social enterprise offering clear and inexpensive photo-voltaic options to off-grid distant rural communities, in addition to offering coaching for rural young entrepreneurs.

The company was among 11 organisations from across the world that showcased how clean energy could power-up entrepreneurship and inclusive development while tackling the climate crisis.

Zonful chief executive William Ponela said the recognition was a big step for the company.

“The award has put Zonful Energy and Zimbabwe on the world map and the interest investors have so far shown is amazing. We are expanding into all rural provinces and scale up our skills training programmes to empower more youth and women,” he said.

Organisations shortlisted for the awards were from Kenya, Togo, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Uganda.

“The initiatives range from solar-powered hubs where refugees can launch businesses in Uganda, to pay-per-use cold storage for small-holder farmers in Kenya, to training programmes helping women launch clean energy companies and careers in Togo.

Each of them is a thriving example of the innovation needed to spearhead rapid decarbonisation, meet national climate targets and create long-lasting, local employment opportunities. All the organisations identified are training new green workforces.

“The organisations chosen to go through to the final stages of the awards by international panels of low carbon experts, have demonstrated their performance in either energising agriculture, energy access in humanitarian environments, or energy access skills,” the organisers of the event said.

Ashden’s analysis of 148 international award applicants reveals effective public-private collaboration; community ownership and involvement; and enabling access to markets and finance, as hallmarks of pioneering work.

Ashden CEO of the awards said: “Supercharging economies and raising people’s incomes are just two of the many reasons for investing in energy access. “But with 940 million people worldwide and around 570 million people in Africa living without electricity, it is clear support for frontline innovators is falling short”.

  •  Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe

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'Harare to pay US$22K a day for dumpsite' – NewsDay

RECALLED Harare mayor Jacob Mafume

BY PROBLEM MASAU/PRIDE MZARABANI
ANTI-CORRUPTION watchdogs, civic groups and Harare residents yesterday described as scandalous and shameful the Pomona waste management deal awarded to Netherlands-based company Geogenix BV.

Geogenix BV (Pomona Waste Management) local frontman Delish Nguwaya’s relationship with President Emmerson Mnangagwa has also been under the microscope following revelations that the controversial businessman is part of the delegation in Davos, Switzerland.

The US$316 million contract seen by NewsDay will see Harare City Council surrendering the country’s biggest dumpsite to Geogenix BV, which changed its name from Integrated Energy BV in 2020 following a series of scandals in Albania.

According to the contract, which was awarded without going to tender, Harare City Council handed over the dumpsite free of charge. Harare City Council will pay at least US$22 000 per day to dump waste at Pomona dumpsite for the next 30 years.

In a Press statement yesterday, Harare Metropolitan Residents Forum, Transparency International Zimbabwe, Zimcodd and other civic organisations condemned the deal as scandalous and wantonly imposed on ratepayers.

“We would like to make it very clear that this scandal is a direct attack on the devolution of power provided for in Chapter 14 of the Constitution since the project was imposed by the central government on the City of Harare,” their statement read.

“This scandal is evident when the City of Harare is bound by the agreement to handover Pomona dumpsite to Georgenix for free for the period of 30 years and then is bound to pay US$22 000 per day to dump waste it has collected at its own cost for the next 30 years at the same dumpsite,” the statement added.

Minutes of the February 28 council meeting and the joint environmental management, finance and development and business committee meeting of February 23 show that Local Government minister July Moyo armtwisted Harare City to sign the deal.

“Obviously, Moyo knew that the March by-elections were going to usher in new councillors from the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) who were going to oppose the scandalous deal. The government had to rush the agreement,” suspended Harare mayor Jacob Mafume said.

Harare Residents Forum spokesperson Marvelous Kumalo said: “In our view, the contents of the memorandum of agreement signed between the City of Harare and Geogenix for the US$300 million Pomona Waste to Energy Project is a pure scandal and a burden to the city meant to serve the best interests of the politically-connected elite at the expense of the residents of Harare.”

Harare North MP Allan Markham (CCC) has since taken Harare City Council and Geogenix BV to court over the Pomona Waste to Energy deal.

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