By Victoria Ruzvidzo recently in Gaborone, Botswana
Sadc chairman President Mugabe has said South Africa needs a second liberation to empower its black citizens who remain marginalised despite a political dispensation that brought majority rule more than two decades ago.
Briefing journalists after a tour of the Sadc Headquarters in Gaborone yesterday, President Mugabe said xenophobic attacks against other Africans were a result of the imbalance in wealth distribution, stressing that South Africa should not be condemned but needed urgent help.
“The pressures with people of South Africa are so much that we cannot avoid incidents of that nature (xenophobia).
“People are unemployed, lots of young men and women are in the streets so when they see people from neighbouring countries running small shops they conclude that it’s these people that have robbed them of their chances, which is not the case.
“It’s not the other African, but it’s a factor of the whites that have kept opportunities to themselves. The political dispensation did not address the disparities between white and black with most of the land in the hands of whites and most of the employment opportunities enjoyed by them (whites).”
The President said most Sadc countries had overcome most of the challenges that South Africans still experienced in terms of empowerment.
“So we must help them. They need another liberation.”
President Mugabe was in Gaborone on a two-day familiarisation tour of the Sadc Headquarters.
President Mugabe, who is also the African Union chairman, had touched on the same subject earlier when he addressed staff at the Sadc Headquarters, saying it was unfortunate that the first black South African president, Nelson Mandela, had overlooked the need to agree on the transfer of wealth to the black majority when he negotiated for his freedom.
“This is what Nelson Mandela forgot to do. He thought freedom was number one, which was correct but when they negotiated they got freedom but with European rights preserved.
“This was controlled freedom. So that is the problem,” President Mugabe said.
“There has not been as much access (to resources) by Africans as we have here and in our countries.”
Therefore, the wrath of South Africans needed to be more directed towards the whites than the blacks, he said.
“It’s a xenophobia of whites, not of blacks. So okay . . . They will say this Mugabe talks poison. I give poison not for you to swallow but to give to someone else,” he said to much applause from the Sadc staff.
He said the white community had condemned the visit to Zimbabwe by South Africa’s Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader Julius Malema in 2010 when he was still the ANC Youth League president.
Malema had come to meet President Mugabe, exchange notes with his counterparts in the Zanu-PF youth leadership and to understand and have an appreciation of Zimbabwe’s land reform and indigenisation and economic empowerment programmes.
“I did not give him mustard (substance given to dogs to make them more vicious) but they are (whites), because of their deeds, creating the mustard. You cannot live in palaces while others are living in shanties. Anyway, the ANC should take care of that,” said President Mugabe.
He challenged SADC countries to develop their economies so that their citizens would not need to leave in search of jobs in South Africa.
The Strategy and Roadmap for Industrialisation of the region was meant to ensure economic growth in Sadc, hence the need to expedite its implementation.
President Mugabe, who was in a no-holds barred mood as he departed from his speech to address matters of concern to him as SADC and the African Union chair, implored Africa to desist from courting the West in search of financial support when, in fact, the continent’s founding fathers had spent years fighting Europe and its allies for plundering the continent’s resources.
“This is the story we are trying to tell to the whole of the African continent, that we have deviated from what our founding fathers believed in. They did not allow their organization to be infiltrated by the same people that we fought against,” he said.
“Now we are having them back as NGOs to subvert our system. They tell us we should have good corporate governance, human rights….human rights? Rule of law? When they sent us to prison…I spent 11 years in prison and in South Africa (Nelson) Mandela spent 27. Where was the rule of law? Where was good governance? Where were human rights?” he asked.
“The same people now oppress us, Britain, USA..take care..These are the enemies of our struggle. But if they have repented and want to be with us yes, but come as equal partners.”
President Mugabe challenged the AU to distance itself from funding from Europe.
“They say here is money but you do that..We can’t have 70 percent of our contributions coming from them.” He has previously spoken passionately about the need for Africa to be self-financing so it can dictate its own growth and development agenda.
President Mugabe arrived back home last night.
He was met at Harare International Airport by his two Vice Presidents Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa and Phelekezela Mphoko, Defence Minister Sydney Sekeramayi, Harare Metropolitan Minister of State Miriam Chikukwa, Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda, service chiefs and other senior Government officials.