ZIMBABWE turns 34 this week on April 18 2014.
Before we blow out the candles we, pause and reflect on the time passed.
We look back at our achievements, misfortunes, mistakes and successes made thus far.
We reflect successes for example, in academics brought about by President Mugabe’s education policy.
We celebrate the milestone achievement of being the first country to correct colonial imbalances through the Land Reform Programme where over 400 000 families were given pieces of fertile land.
We reflect on the mistakes of taking on the Economic Adjustment Structural Programme (ESAP) in 1990 that saw the first collapse of the economy.
We think about the African countries that rallied behind in support of our achievement sometimes to their own detriment.
The glory of African states after independence is quickly shattered. There were numerous setbacks between the 1960s and the 1980s.
These include the assassination of Lumumba in Congo, the overthrowing of Nkrumah in the 60’s in a reactionary military and police coup that was backed and engineered by the Western governments.
These coups would continue in Nigeria in 1966, leading to a civil war between 1967 and 1970.
In Mali, the progressive government of Modibo Keita was overthrown in 1968.
In 1984, after the sudden death of President Ahmed Sekou Toure in Guinea, a Western-backed military coup took place. Again from mid-1980s, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, insisted that African states institute structural adjustment programmes, which undermined the governments’ role providing social services and education to their populations.
Today Africa is still reeling from these monetary policies that have seen them paying unending debts and forever indebted to the western powers whom many leaders dare not disappoint in case the supply of aid is cut off.
Kwame Nkrumah in 1965 in his book, Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism, wrote “The essence of neo-colonialism is that the State which is subject to it is, in theory, independent and has all the outward trappings of international sovereignty.
“In reality its economic system and thus its political policy is directed from outside.”
When the Union was formed its mandate was that all African states attained independence.
By 1993 Africa was free from the visible shackles, but the struggle was just beginning.
Today Africa remains in the doldrums of economic development despite African nations gaining political freedom, colonial powers still maintain control of local business.
Because of this, many nations remain dependent economically on their former colonies.
A second wave of independence seems to be emerging from the sub Saharan countries this time. An economic independence is deeply needed for Africa not to fall for some, dubious promises by the Western powers who once again are trying to revive their economies with the continent’s resources.
At the recently held two day summit in Brussels Manuel Barroso, the head of the European Union (EU) Commission said, “We have made real progress in partnership of equals.”
It was at this same summit that the EU called on the African continent to attend the forum as equals, but there were many contradictions.
The EU barred two members of the African Union (AU) Eritrea and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic from attending the summit.
They instead invited Morocco and Egypt who are not part of the union.
The AU Peace and Security Council met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and took a decision that the EU was in violation of an AU resolution that they do not have the right to determine the composition of Africa’s delegation.
Yet this was ignored by both some African leaders and the EU.
Barroso went on to say that in total, 28 billion Euros had been made available to Africa by the EU between 2014 and 2016.
“Africa is Europe’s top priority when we talk about development assistance because Africa is our near neighbour,” Barroso added.
“We are keeping up the generosity level for 2014-2020,” he said.
In 2011 Africa received €34.3 billion in aid, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The Africa Report magazine noted in a story released ahead of the summit that in the same year €43,7 billion was taken out of Africa to the rest of the world.
Twenty years have passed since the last African country attained independence and there is more division in the AU than before.
Hence today as we blow out the 34 candles that reflect our sovereignty, we are still aware that the battle is far from over. But Zimbabwe is leading and has made significant strides in attaining total, wholesome independence.
Brothers and sisters from elsewhere on the continent, can look up to Zimbabwe for inspiration.
It can be done for we have done it and continue to do it. Zimbabwe despite the challenges it is facing is a success story. We will not believe otherwise for we have tangible proofs, we own the land and we are taking control of the means of production.
We do not believe and agree that we are poor simply because some survey carried out in Western citadels says so.
Happy birthday Zimbabwe!
ZIMBABWE turns 34 this week on April 18 2014.