By Caesar Zvayi recently in ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday said Zimbabwe’s profile in Africa has risen as shown by the vote of confidence vested in the country by not only Sadc, but also the African Union, saying the dual chairmanship he has, he holds on behalf of all Zimbabweans.
President Mugabe’s star has been on the rise since his resounding re-election in the July 31, 2013 harmonised elections as he went on to be elected deputy chairperson of Sadc at the annual summit in Lilongwe, Malawi, in August 2013, deputy chairperson of the AU at the 22nd Summit in January 2014, Sadc chairman at the summit held in Victoria Falls in August last year, and now AU chairman at the just-ended 24th Ordinary Session of the AU General Assembly in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
These accolades came against the backdrop of over 15 years of sustained Western propaganda that not only sought to have Zimbabwe as an agenda item in Sadc and the AU, but to also cast President Mugabe as a national and continental pariah to be deposed by any means necessary, even illegal regime change.
Addressing thousands of jubilant party supporters on arrival at Harare International Airport yesterday, the President paid tribute to the resilience of Zimbabweans that had seen them move from an agenda item in Sadc to the leadership of not only the regional bloc, but the AU as well.
“Zvino kuno kwedu kune mutsauko uripo. MDC and Zanu-PF zvikwata zvemuno munyika. Tapihwa hukuru sehwatava nahwo uhu neAfrica yose. Hapana angati haasi mazviri nekuti iyi iZimbabwe yose yasimudzirwa saka vanosungirwa kufarawo panyaya iyoyo. Haisiri nyaya yekurwisana matongerwo enyika ino, inyaya yekuti mhuri yese yeZimbabwe tingaipe here hupfumi ihwohwo saka ndopatinosungirwa kubatana ipapo, kubatana chose (We have been honoured by the whole of Africa and everyone has reason to celebrate whether one belongs to Zanu-PF or MDC),’’ President Mugabe said.
Some sections of the pro-opposition private media and their quasi-political allies in the NGO community have been following the Western lead of trying to belittle the significance of President Mugabe’s ascension to the helm of the AU bureau by claiming that the chairmanship was ceremonial.
“Chimiro chedu muAfrica chakwirira Zimbabwe yave pamusorosoro apo. Ndozvasvitsa Africa kuti itipe rukudzo rwokuti chairman wepamusoro, ini, avepo. Chadaro chii? Chadaro hachisi chinhu chimwe chete. Kuratidza kwakaita vanhu muno munyika kubatana vachirwisa muvengi kushinga nekuzvipira kuti nyika yedu ive mumaoko edu. Toenderera mberi tichiti kushinga ikoko muvengi asadhararawo achiisa masanctions kuti aiwa mabhunu arambe ari muno(Our stature in Africa has risen showing our unity in fighting the enemy who continues imposing sanctions on us in the hope of keeping his kith and kin in control),’’ President Mugabe said.
Britain and its Western allies imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe at the turn of the millennium, which sanctions, in the words of the then US assistant secretary of state for African affairs Chester Crocker, were designed to make the Zimbabwean economy scream in order to separate Zimbabweans from President Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
Crocker made these assertions during a hearing on the sanctions law, the so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, that cut Zimbabwe’s lines of credit from all multilateral lending institutions with dealings with the US government.
The West’s illegal economic sanctions regime is estimated to have cost Zimbabwe over $42billion in lost revenue over the past 15 years in addition to contracting the economy by a factor of over 40 percent.
Despite the sanctions, President Mugabe said, Zimbabweans had remained resolute in defence of their hard won independence.
“Ipapo vanhu vedu vakati tinozvipira tingave nekushaya zvatinoshaya nekuti tiri kudzivirirwa kuti tinge tichitengeserana vevamwe asi zvekuti mabhunu adzoke muno munyika kwete. Zimbabwe ndeye vanhu veZimbabwe. Africa yevanhu veAfrica. Saka ipapo kusadharara kwataika kunyange zvarwadza sei hatife takasarenda kuti varungu vauye zvakare(We might be facing challenges here and there and be exposed to unfair trade practices, but we will never surrender for the whites to return. Africa for Africans),’’ President Mugabe said.
He appraised the gathering of deliberations made and resolutions adopted by the Summit particularly the continent’s 50-year development plan, Agenda 2063, that is a mirror-image of Zim-Asset, Government 5-year development plan for the period 2013 to 2018.
Zim-Asset and Agenda 2063 have striking similarities as both seek to harness domestic resources for the betterment of the lives of Africans by promoting value-addition, beneficiation and the development of infrastructure and utilities to facilitate industrialisation.
The President told the gathering that they had agreed that outsiders would never again be allowed to come and lord it over Africans, and even the instruments of their foreign policies like the International Criminal Court, that has been targeting principally African leaders, would not be entertained.
He told the gathering that he had expressed his displeasure with Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta’s decision to attend the ICC hearings in The Hague against the African position that the court be ignored over its bias towards Africa.
The Kenyan president is reported to have conceded the error of his ways.
‘’Ndakava nekutsamwira vana VaKenyatta ndikati wakaenderei kunobvuma kutongwa kunzei uri President wekuKenya. Zvino akabvuma akati akaenda isu takasungana kuti kuno kuti rega kuenda. Unonyadzisa baba vako vaKenyatta ikoko kwavari hatidi kuzvinzwa izvozvo. Ndonzira dzedu idzodzo dzatava nadzo idzodzo,’’ he said.
The President was welcomed at Harare International Airport by Vice Presidents Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, several government ministers, service chiefs and thousands of jubilant party supporters.