By Godwin Zivavose

Greetings my fellow Africans. Today, May 25, the continent is celebrating Africa Day, a day that was set aside to mark and celebrate the day when 32 Heads of independent African states signed the Charter which created the first post-independence continental institution, The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Although the theme for Africa Day this year is “Strengthening Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on The African Continent: Strengthening Agro-Food Systems, Health and Social Protection Systems for the Acceleration of Human, Social and Economic Capital Development”, there are other teething peace and security challenges with which the continent has to tackle, with equal urgency.
Today, we celebrate 59 years as an organisation, and we have to commend our founding fathers for the vision they had for the African continent.

Let me take this opportunity to commend African leaders for their achievements in dealing with the obtaining Covid-19 pandemic. It is very commendable that the AU – through the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT) has been navigating through the coronavirus, saving millions of African lives. As UFP, we would also like to commend the political will shown by African Heads of state in making the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTFA) a reality. This would form the largest free trade area connecting over 1.3 billion people with a potential to lift three million people out of poverty. Building on this trajectory, UFP implores African leaders to commit towards a one currency Africa.

In the true vision of Col Muammar Gaddafi, Africa can be the most powerful player in global eco-political affairs. Colonel Gaddafi believed in a united Africa that would speak with one voice and influence geo-politics and be recognised as an equal partner on the global political arena.

Africa has been making significant strides towards women inclusion in economic emancipation programmes, which is a commendable feat and as UFP, we envisage a more united Africa that puts women at the fore front and fosters solidarity. As we commemorate 59 years, Africa is in the midst of a plethora of challenges and the need to unite has never become even more desirable. It is only a more united and integrated Africa that can defeat the principal enemies we face today, from self-hate and xenophobic conflicts, military insurgencies, limping democracies and political turmoil, growing military coups, economic meltdown, climate change and the increase in natural disasters, the Covid-19 pandemic, poverty and hunger, inter alia.
These conflicts that blight the continent represent an unfortunate departure from the principles which the AU espoused at its inception. Observers must quickly think of the xenophobic tendencies that are characteristic of South Africa today despite the fact that its independence was attained at a heavy cost to some of its neighbours. The anti-migrant sentiments being exhibited by the highly xenophobic Operation Dudula are a negation of the spirit of togetherness and unity the founding fathers of the OAU had at the birth of the continental body.
May I also take this opportunity to call upon all nationals, Zimbabweans included, to desist from engaging in criminal activities not only on foreign soils but even back home. As United Freedom Party, we do not condone crime. South Africa has been and still is home to all Africans and that privilege must not be abused. UFP envisages a situation where all Zimbabweans, in particular, home and abroad help in the rebuilding of the economy and fostering political toleration. In that regard, we, as a party, appreciate efforts by African states, political parties and other actors in addressing the political turmoil in Zimbabwe in true spirit of African Union.

In the same vein, UFP calls for a quick and robust solution to the military insurgencies wreaking havoc in Mozambique. It is a tragic irony for African leaders to call for lasting solutions to the obtaining Russia-Ukraine conflict yet ignoring the conflict on our soils.
Africa and Africans have faced the same challenges most of which draw from the poverty and deprivation foisted on the continent through historical ramifications such as the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and colonisation. This is however worsened by rampant corruption running through the governments veins. It is a cancer which has cost the majority of African states dearly over the years as resources meant for development and improvement of living conditions of ordinary citizens are ending up in private pockets. In the words of one of the OAU founding fathers, Nkwame Nkrumah, African leaders should desist from “sacrificing principles at the altar of expedience”. We should strive to bring back the spirit of servant leadership.

The majority of the continent’s citizens continue to wallow in abject poverty as the rich get richer. It is shocking that there are leaders who have become filthy rich at the expense of ordinary citizens for whom quality health care, education for their children, basic shelter and adequate food have remained a mirage. It is an open secret that corrupt and inept leaders ship has led to resources being shipped out of the continent while citizens endure endless poverty.

As UFP, we say Africa Day must be a reminder for all leaders to spare a thought for the needy in our communities. Today, we find ourselves with a vision that has not been fulfilled, it is time to go back to the drawing board and bring the vision to life. It is disheartening to see the state of affairs in many African countries and a few succeeding while the rest are a sorry sight.
Together, we must fight to end conflicts and sustain peace. Upholding human rights and the dignity of citizens, as humans, must be one of our prime objectives as citizens of the continent. It is in this light that we say the killings and violence against fellow Africans must stop. Africa is for all Africans; therefore toleration should flow in our blood. If there is one immortal lesson that we learnt from Nelson Mandela, it is the lesson of forgiveness and tolerance. That should run in our blood. It is our firm belief that Africanism should supersede ulterior motives in how we treat citizens from other countries.

Lastly, as UFP, we firmly believe that a more empowered and united AU is the only factor needed to realise the vision set out in Agenda 2063. As envisioned by Pan Africanists like the late Robert Mugabe, AU cannot continue to rely on funding from countries outside the continent.

This situation leaves AU susceptible to manipulation by outside powers. It also further creates avenues for resource exploitation with some gullible leaders becoming willing victims in further subjecting our people to poverty. There is a worrying trend where African leaders mortgage African resources without regard to future ramifications. We need an Afrocentric solution, an African informed ideology to the obtaining challenges in Africa.

There are a lot of political and economic hurdles to surmount, but a more united Africa is possible and 59 years of existence is testimony enough. We want it and we as UFP thrive on the “Now” mantra. The time to act is NOW.

May God Bless United Freedom Party and may God Bless Africa.
I Thank You.

Godwin Zivavose
UFP President

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