recently in Arusha, Tanzania
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe last Saturday received a rousing welcome in Tanzania befitting a statesman who has championed ideals of Pan-Africanism in spite of unjust criticism he has faced from the local Western sponsored private media.
He was attending the Third Africa-China Young Leaders Forum in response to the invitation extended to him by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM)’s youth league last month during his birthday celebrations.
Youths drawn from Africa and China jostled to catch a glimpse and take pictures of the SADC and African Union Chairperson as he entered the Ngarudoto Conference Centre.
Described by the CCM Secretary General Abdulrahman Kinana as an icon of the struggle, son of the Africa, President Mugabe did not disappoint when he took the stage to address the youths who were eagerly waiting to draw from his wisdom.
The forum gave the African leader the opportunity to show the youths that not only was he a leader par excellence, but was also ‘one’ of them, a teacher, counsellor and friend.
“I feel greatly honoured and overwhelmed that you invited me to this forum of young leaders. You invited a 91-year-old youth,” he said with a chuckle much to the applause of the delegates.
“I can assure you that age apart, my ideas are as young and as fresh as your own.”
President Mugabe said there must be a connection between the old and young generations with a continuation of principles adopted by the old generation key in developing the continent.
Validating the description by Kinana of a man who has not forgotten his past and aspirations, President Mugabe urged the youths to remain committed to serving their countries.
“The founding fathers gave us the principles and ideas to decolonise the continent and rule ourselves,” he said.
“The principles that guided our founding fathers no longer bind many of us.
“We are no longer true to the principles of the founding fathers and the imperialists are back in control and in some countries they cannot rule unless the former colonial country says yes.”
He was right. Some African countries have failed to break away completely from the yoke of their former colonisers.
For instance, every January 14, African countries are obliged by France through a colonial pact to put 85 percent of their foreign reserves into France’s central bank under the French Minister of Finance.
They are effectively putting in 500 billion dollars every year into the French Treasury.
African leaders who refuse are removed through ‘elections’ or become victims of coups.
The late founding fathers are turning in their graves!
‘Seek ye first the political freedom and all else will follow,’ are the words of independent Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah borrowed by President Mugabe.
“The enemies have come back. Politically we fought them and celebrated,” he said.
“They (former colonisers) have come back using Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), establishing opposition parties which they give money as it did in our case.”
President Mugabe chronicled how the West had openly supported the MDC in Zimbabwe and how the plan had not borne any fruits.
The July 4, 2004 announcement by the Secretary of State, Collin Powell in President Bush’s administration, highlighted that the US and European Union had ended all official assistance to the government of Zimbabwe.
They were to channel resources through NGOs and supporting the MDC.
The onus was on the youths to safeguard the continent as the imperialists were not resting till they had control of Africa, President Mugabe told them.
‘What are you doing to extract the children from the crutches of hunger and poverty’ once again President Mugabe saw it fitting to quote President Nkrumah and directed the question at the youths.
“How has our unity of Africa aided or abetted the old age question of Nyerere?” he asked.
“Africa has the resources and more people should be educated.
“Do not only seek employment but try as much as possible to create employment.”
Africa’s resources should be channelled towards the development of the continent, President Mugabe said.
President Mugabe applauded China for supporting development in Africa.
When Zimbabwe adopted the Look East policy it faced a lot of criticism from the West and its local sympathisers.
“When we adopted the Look East policy, it was asked: what does Mugabe think he will get from China? Now it is my turn to ask: what will America get from China?”
Turning to social issues, President Mugabe urged the youths to desist from engaging in ‘illicit sex’ and drug abuse.
Gone are the days when the family unit was still intact and the counselling role was left for the aunts and uncles hence President Mugabe took the opportunity to show the youths he was also their aunt and uncle.
“Young people nowadays fall in love and do all sorts of things but the old ones had their own rules guiding them,” said President Mugabe.
He left the youths with the message that had been passed on to him by independent Tanzania’s first President Julius Nyerere.
“Work for the people of Africa. What I have left undone, have it done and get on the job,” he quoted.
As a gesture of appreciation the Pan African Youth Union presented President Mugabe with an award for his election as the AU chairperson.
The award was a symbol of Africa’s unity and a show to President Mugabe’s detractors that Africa’s decision to elevate him had to be respected.