Mabasa Sasa recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ZIMBABWE’S influence over matters at the African Union runs deep. Yes, President Mugabe is no longer Chair of the bloc. But he continues to sit on its five-country Bureau as Rapporteur, along with the new Chair and his three deputies. And in 2014, President Mugabe was already on the Bureau that directs the AU’s affairs when he was elected First Deputy Chair.
But it is not only through President Mugabe and through the active involvement of Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi (Chair of the AU Executive Council) and Ambassador Albert Chimbindi (Chair of Permanent Representatives) that Zimbabwe has over the past year had influence over matters at the bloc.
Consider AU Commission Chair Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma’s opening statement to the Assembly at the 2016 Ordinary Summit on Saturday.
Her speech, to all intents at purposes was inspired by Zimbabwe. But not by Zimbabwe’s able politicians. Rather by its musicians, who — produced a piece titled “African Union Agenda 2063” by KeNako Music.
The song was played at the start of public proceedings, and like all things Zimbabwean that day, it got enthusiastic applause.
AU Commission insiders told this writer that the song was played for Dr Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma a few days before the start of the summit.
And she immediately changed her speech.
This is what she then told Heads of State and Government at the summit opening:
“I can think of no better way of starting this important gathering, than with the song about our people’s aspirations in Agenda 2063 that we just heard, performed by a group from Zimbabwe: ‘I chose peace You chose unity, He or she, chooses prosperity, Because we are Africans One people one voice, We are Africans’.”
She went on, “Indeed, it is often said about Africans: when we mourn we sing; when we celebrate, we sing; when we mobilise, we sing.
“We therefore know that when our artistes compose songs, when our poets put it to verses, and when our painters express on canvasses, it is a matter that touches our souls and hearts.
“We thank the group from Zimbabwe, for capturing the essence of the transformation that is required. We also encourage our artistes in all our countries to embrace Agenda 2063, as it is our individual and collective aspirations.”
And then she paid homage to the artistes that have inspired Africa through the ages.
“Africa is very diverse in every respect. Artists throughout the ages have eulogised the great diversity of our beautiful continent.
“They painted the majestic mountains, as they navigated the water masses of our lakes and wrote about the symphonies of our waterfalls. They sang about the mighty Congo River, meandering at some points, and thundering through others; about the Nile, Zambezi, Limpopo and Niger and about the Atlantic and Indian oceans, the Mediterranean and Red seas that surround our shores.
“African people compose, perform, write, recite and sing in over a thousand languages. Our priests and imams, rabbis and pastors, pray for Africa, mindful of our common humanity.
“They tell the stories of our ancient civilisations and heritage: the obelix of Axum, the pyramids of Egypt and Sudan; the stone churches of Lalibela; the historic sites of Great Zimbabwe, the M’Zab Valley, Mapungubwe, Ribeira Grande, Medina, the stone town of Zanzibar and the old town of Djenne, the universities and libraries of Timbuktu and Alexandria; and sing praises to the ancient kingdoms of Songai, Mali, Ghana, and Dahomey.”
The song starts with a speech in which President Mugabe reminds Africa to work towards implementation of Agenda 2063, stressing the importance of industrialisation, value addition and beneficiation.
The musicians then articulate the seven aspirations of Agenda 2063.
The song was done by Jonah Chivasa backed by Agnes Machigere and Farlon Munetsi, and was directed by Saston Mapfaka Machigere and Dr Peter Gwaza, the founder and owner of KeNako.
The song was produced with support from the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministry.
Tourism Minister Engineer Walter Mzembi — who was in Addis Ababa — said: “This legacy song for President Mugabe celebrates his Solomonic leadership and the wisdom that he is known for across the whole world.”
The AU Commission has written to Zimbabwe’s Embassy in Addis Ababa, commending the artistes for their work.
The launch of the song came soon after the release of another titled “Africa Unit, RG Mugabe” by Nigeria’s Victor Edoja.
Both songs highlight President Mugabe’s contribution in getting the ball rolling on Agenda 2063.