Felex Share in Kyoto, Japan
THERE is a need for African leaders to re-examine their policies politically and economically as some of them are now reversing the gains brought by the continent’s founding fathers, President Robert Mugabe said yesterday.
Africa’s founding fathers, the President said, never “vacillated” on matters of principle but current leaders had lost ground and are allowing their erstwhile colonisers to dominate them.
President Mugabe made the remarks when he met the 38 African ambassadors resident here led by their dean, Eritrea’s Ambassador Estifanos Afeworki.
“I think we should re-examine ourselves with regards to our policies in Africa,” the President said.
“That’s an area where we still need a struggle and freedom. We’re still under domination in some cases and we’ve lost ground on what our founding fathers stood for. They freed us but we who have taken over from them are reversing everything.”
He added: “They say I’m an ageing voice, the voice of those gone. Yes, I’m the voice of those gone — the Senghors, Nkrumahs, Nyereres. They spoke with one voice — that’s a free Africa, a sovereign Africa. Let’s always remember where we go and talk the language of togetherness.”
President Mugabe said while friendships and partnerships were needed with foreigners, the continent’s resources were for Africans and should benefit them.
In any case, he said, resources and freedom were the major reasons why the founding fathers waged the struggle against imperialists.
“For one reason or another, although intellectually we’re engineers, experts and professors, we’re not able to organise ourselves,” he said.
“Our engineers should do the exploitation of resources but we want the white man, and they’ll be happy to come and give you a small percentage. That’s what France has done in some of our countries and we’ve said, yes. You say ‘yes’, but what was the fight for independence for? What does sovereignty mean when we’ve no sovereign of our natural resources?”
He went on: “It just means we can have political parties and have presidents. A President Mugabe who doesn’t own the diamonds in his country, that his people don’t own the diamonds, gold, copper and chrome? Having said that, I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t have friends at all. We should have friends who understand and appreciate what we’re as an African people.”
He said Africa should be wary of the British and Americans who used all sorts of tricks and lies to loot resources as what happened to Libya and Iraq.
“We should never agree to outside forces interfering in African affairs,” President Mugabe said.
“We’ve our own forces, and if we make mistakes, let them be our own mistakes. If they’re military mistakes, let them be committed by our own forces, by our own interventions than outsiders. Outsiders will have ulterior motives all the time.”
He said in pursuit of regime change, most African countries had been flooded with non-governmental organisations funded by the West.
“All countries, we’ve NGOs for this and that, just to weaken us,” the President said.
“We still have to grapple with an Africa that’s now being dominated by outside powers through their NGOs. Sometimes through aid, controlling our systems. When shall we ever be free?
“Yes, we’re Francophone, Anglophones, Lusophones but does that make us French, Portuguese, British, Italians or Spaniards? We’ve a legacy to defend Africa, a legacy not to accept to be inferiors.”
President Mugabe said the so-called powerful nations were spreading this inferiority complex even at international organisations like the United Nations by denying others permanent seats with veto power.
“In the Security Council, they don’t want to accept our proposal for reform, and we say Africa should’ve just two additional members with a veto but we have France, US and Britain saying no,” President Mugabe said.
“Our friend Japan had said let us campaign for our permanent members to be admitted first, then we campaign for veto powers, but I said we must have the veto first. Why should we always have the five as the bulls of the world? If they’re to accept us, they must also accept us as bulls also.”
Meanwhile, President Mugabe, who is here on an official visit, also visited the Kyoto Imperial Palace yesterday where he met the Governor of Kyoto, Keiji Yamada.
The two leaders agreed to have cultural interactions as well as exchanges in the field of higher and tertiary education.