Mabasa Sasa in NEW YORK
President Mnangagwa has rallied the global leadership to honour Nelson Mandela’s legacy by directly addressing the issues related to poverty, injustice and inequality that the late anti-apartheid icon stood for.
The Zimbabwean leader yesterday addressed the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit at the United Nations, saying dialogue and engagement could do wonders for world peace, stability and development.
The Nelson Mandela Peace Summit presaged the declaration of the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace (2018-2028) and today’s official opening of the 73rd Ordinary Session of the UN General Assembly.
President Mnangagwa will make his first ever contribution to the General Debate of the General Assembly this week.
Yesterday, a short while after UN Secretary-General Mr António Guterres unveiled the first ever statue of a person inside the world body’s sprawling complex, that of Mr Mandela, President Mnangagwa took to the podium to exhort the international community — particularly national leaders — to walk their talk.
“I wish to emphasise that honouring Nelson Mandela without action to address his concerns would be a betrayal to the immense sacrifices he made in his lifetime.
“He once said, ‘Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that generation.’
“Indeed we can be that great generation by providing global leadership and ensuring that his invaluable ideals on peace, equality, human dignity and justice are realised and upheld throughout the entire world for the betterment of present and future generations.”
President Mnangagwa also said, “Equally important, is the need for a world premised on dialogue, continuous engagement, harmony and tolerance of divergent views.
“In this spirit, my country has embarked on a deliberate and robust policy of engagement and re-engagement with the global family of nations.
“We are ready and willing to play an active and positive role towards global peace.
“There can be no peace without development or development without peace.”
Zimbabwe’s Head of State and Government added: “At the heart of the Sustainable Development Agenda is the resolve to end all forms of poverty.
“According to the World Bank, there has been marked progress on reducing poverty over the past decades. Despite the progress, the number of people living in extreme poverty globally remains unacceptably high.
“While poverty rates have declined in all regions, progress has been uneven, with half of the extremely poor living in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“In this regard, the work to end extreme poverty is far from over, particularly for us in the Global South.
“Economic shocks, climate change, food insecurity and diseases often negatively impact on the gains we make.
“Therefore, there is an urgent need for comprehensive, collaborative and integrated action to accelerate our quest to end poverty.”
President Mnangagwa said the inclusion of women and youth in mainstream economic activity would also foster peace and development.
“Let us be emboldened by the words of Nelson Mandela when he said, ‘Do not look the other way, do not hesitate. Recognise that the world is hungry for action, not words. Act with courage and vision.’”