PAP celebrates Africa Day amid calls to jettison external influence
George Maponga in Midrand, South Africa
African countries need to close ranks, foster home-grown solutions and jettison the hovering yoke of external influence if the continent is to become truly independent and chart a new course that accrues benefits for its citizenry, the Pan African Parliament(PAP), has heard today.
Experts and Members of Parliament(MPs) concur that decades after the end of colonial rule, the continent is still socio-economically tied to its erstwhile oppressors, a situation that does not augur well for the continent’s thrust to meet Africa Agenda 2063 goals.
They said this to PAP MPs today during commemorations to mark Africa Day that were held at the continental legislative body’s seat in Midrand, South Africa.
A number of activities including speeches, entertainment and exhibitions were held to mark the special day to encourage Africans and remind them of the need to unite and define their own cultural, political and economic journey.
There was unanimity on the need for the continent to foster self-reliance and prudently exploit its vast natural endowments to grow its economy for the benefit of its citizens.
In his keynote address delivered via video link, guest speaker Professor Patrick Lumumba of the Kenya School of Law who received a standing ovation from Members of Parliament, challenged Africans to be self-reliant.
“It appears the continent is only independent in name, we have some of our outstanding symbols of African identity and pride such as the African Union headquarters in Ethiopia being built by foreigners but we know that who he pays plays the tune what is that?. We have the African Development Bank(AfDB) which is supposed to be the bank to drive growth in the continent having countries like the US, Japan among others as key shareholders, what is that? Why can’t African states be the sole shareholders of the bank,” asked Prof Lumumba.
He also lamented that even continental challenges like conflicts like the one raging in Sudan between that country’s military factions were being mediated in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia yet such problems were supposed to be solved locally by peoples across the continent.
Prof Lumumba also queried why PAP has not yet been ratified by all the continent’s member states to have legislative teeth and steer socio-economic development across arguably the least developed continent.
“Even if we are to have a random survey on 10 people across most towns and cities in Africa and ask them whether they know PAP and what it stands for we will find out that eight out of ten do not know about it. You have to popularise PAP across the continent so that it has buy-in from the continent’s citizens.
Prof Mathole Motshekga, Executive Director of Kara Heritage Institute told PAP MPs that there is a need for a cultural and economic revolution to free the continent from outside influence.
“We only got political independence and we need some kind of a cultural and economic revolution on the continent. We still have serious external influence across Africa and this needs to be rectified,” he said.
Vice Chairperson of the PAP Youth Caucus and Zimbabwean Proportional Representation legislator in the National Assembly Tatenda Mavetera noted that Africa Day is important as it reminds youths and women of the important role they need to play in stimulating socio-economic growth on the continent.
The legislator said Zimbabwe is lucky to have a leader like President Mnangagwa who is already advocating the use of home-grown solutions to solve nagging socio-economic challenges and spur growth under the “Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo” mantra.
“Africa can take a leaf from our President in Zimbabwe who is saying ‘Nyika Inovakwa Nevene Vayo’ and also pushing the ‘leaving no one and no place behind’ slogan, this means we should be masters of our own destiny and rid ourselves of external influence, put hands on the deck and build our African economy,” said Honourable Mavetera.