Trevor Shiri Correspondent
The death of Zimbabwe’s founding father, Cde Robert Gabriel Mugabe, whom President Emmerson Mnangagwa, described as “comrade, liberator, founder and leader”, has coincided with the 10th meeting of secretaries-general and wings of Former Liberation Movements (FLMs) of Southern Africa.
Whether it was by coincidence or by God’s design, the bottom line is that the meeting is symbolic as it embodies the pan-African ethos and liberation credentials that define Cde Mugabe.
The temptation was to say, “defined” Cde Mugabe, but the unpalatable truth is that Cde Mugabe still lives through the legacy he left.
That indelible love and fight for Africa to unite pursuant to warding off the toxicity of neo-imperial forces.
His pan-Africanist stance. His unshakeable resolve to empower the ordinary people. It is the body that would be interred and buried, not the legacy which has been restored, following Operation Restore Legacy. There is much to learn and celebrate from the virtues that “Bob”, as he was affectionately known, stood for.
The indelible footprint he left lives.
FLMs are meeting in Victoria Falls. What a befitting backdrop as the nation, Africa and indeed all progressive forces the world over, mourn Cde Mugabe who is set to be buried on Sunday, September 15, 2019. The meeting is being held under the theme, “Uniting Former Liberation Movements: Neo-Colonialism Through Total Economic Co-operation, Development and Independence”.
The theme of the meeting espouses all the key values that Cde Mugabe spent his life fighting for. Who can forget his forceful speeches at international fora where he openly chided neo-colonial poster boys, Blair and Bush, together with their cohorts?
Who can forget the defining victory of Zimbabwe for total independence and economic emancipation through the Land Reform Programme? Unfortunately, he died under the yoke of the ruinous, evil and illegal sanctions for rightly redistributing land to the majority of black Zimbabweans. A punitive action taken by Uncle Sam and the European Union (EU) to dissuade other African countries from following suit.
ZANU-PF Secretary for Science and Technology Cde Christopher Mutsvangwa, who is also the chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association (ZNLWVA), re-affirmed the 39th SADC Heads of State Summit’s resolution to declare October 25, 2019 as the day SADC will collectively voice their disapproval on the illegal sanctions at the ongoing 10th meeting of FLMs.
Cde Mutsvangwa rightly pointed out the mistaken belief by some that the anti-sanctions lobby would be a one-off event. He read out verbatim the SADC resolution, which categorically states that Summit, “declare October 25 as the date on which SADC member states can collectively voice their disapproval and condemnation of the sanctions through various activities and platforms until the sanctions are lifted.”
This is an unequivocal and sustained show of commitment by SADC to fight for Zimbabwe until the day the sanctions are lifted.
Further to that, “member states to engage with the countries which have imposed sanctions and international co-operating partners on the removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, including through SADC committees of ambassadors worldwide”, by among others, “continuously including the matter on removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe while engaging international co-operating partners”.
Cde Mugabe lived long enough to see SADC making the Zimbabwe fight theirs. Unfortunately, tragedy struck at a cruel time. It robbed the chief fighter against the illegal sanctions the opportunity to see SADC unite on October 25, 2019 to begin the African lobby against sanctions. It would have given him gratification and peace of mind, knowing and witnessing Africa fight Zimbabwe’s war against the evil and illegal san- ctions.
He would have slept peacefully knowing that the fight against the ruinous sanctions was being escalated by Africa. Alas, if the old adage that it is the body that dies, but the spirit lives on, then Cde Mugabe will rest easy in the wind seeing his brothers-in-arms fight for a just cause.
The concerted efforts by FLMs to unite SADC pursuant to preserving the bloc’s independence are evident at this auspicious event. The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Zambia’s Patriotic Front (PF) are attending their first meeting of FLMs, although they are not FLMs, as observers with the ultimate goal of being integrated among liberation parties.
It is because of their acknowledgement of the necessity of joining the FLMs who have fought and defeated colonialism and apartheid and continue to fight neo-imperialism in order to ward of such threats.
The Pan-African sentiment pervading the 10th meeting is gratifying to us the younger generation. The elders rightly identified the ever-mutating threats posed by neo-imperialists who unrelentingly continue to employ divide and rule tactics to drive a wedge among Africans. They did it at the Berlin Conference. Partitioned Africa. Separated kith and kin through borders. Estranged them.
However, Africa rose like a colossus and waged a sustained and co-ordinated fight against apartheid and colonialism in unison. This displeased the neo-imperialists who have now devised more sophisticated methods to entrench their neo-imperial designs. They use indigenous Africans to set up puppet parties. To set up pro-regime change civil society organisations. To foment chaos. To push the neo-colonial agenda through the media, particularly social media. To offer American and British fellowships to brilliant minds. To divide African states. The list is endless.
Listening to the foregoing incisive thought and awareness, one is left in no doubt on the dynamic threats that continue to threaten African countries’ independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty. It is a clarion call for Africa to continue to unite and obliterate the artificial boundaries that divide us. The boundaries that are now being used by xenophobes to hound fellow African brothers whom they share the same ancestry and bloodline with. It is absurd. It is ridiculous. It is unAfrican. It is reprobate.
Judging by the tone of the meeting and constant allusion to Cde Mugabe illustrated by various billboards remembering the African icon, the FLMs, including the BDP and PF, are set to strengthen their resolve on empowering and uniting their peoples, while simultaneously fighting neo-imperial designs and illegal sanctions.
Go well Robert! We will continue to drink the positives from your legacy, while learning from the negatives in pursuit of guaranteeing that your legacy lives on for posterity. Aluta continua.