Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
GOVERNMENT has paid tribute to other African countries for their solidarity in calling for the unequivocal removal of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western countries and initiating and embracing 25 October as the Anti Sanctions Day.
Sadc countries declared October 25 as a solidarity day against illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and resolved to conduct various activities in their respective countries on that day to resoundingly call for the immediate removal of the sanctions.
The day was effectively designated for the collective expression of the disapproval of the continued economic embargo on Zimbabwe by the United States of America, the EU and the UK.
In a statement on the occasion of Africa Day commemorations, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the support by African countries resonates with the pan-African anti-colonial agency enforced through the Constitutive Act of the African Union.
“The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services expresses unreserved gratitude to the AU and Sadc for initiating the now widely embraced 25th October Anti Sanctions Resolution.
We are thankful that the continent finds value in our cause for the unequivocal removal of the illegal sanctions,” she said.
“This support resonates with the pan-African anti-colonial agency enforced through the Constitutive Act of the African Union.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said in the face of imperialist hegemony, the country also celebrates the illustrious role of Pan-African conscious media players who have lobbied for Afro-centred information sharing and, in the process, strengthening the synergies of the continent and its diaspora.
At its prime, the AU, which was then called the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), asserted a resolute cause to complete the decolonisation of the entire continent.
As part of consolidating the continent’s hard-earned independence, Minister Mutsvangwa said the AU has been promoting freedom, equality, justice and sustainable development.
“Zimbabwe today joins the rest of the continent and its people across the Diaspora in commemorating Africa Day.
Exactly 59 years ago on May, 25 1963, owing to the wisdom of anti-colonial stalwarts, the OAU, now AU was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa expressed gratitude to various media houses that have projected a positive image of Zimbabwe in the past 21 years since the imposition of illegal sanctions by the Western countries over the country’s successful land reform programme.
“As a nation, we are indebted to the solidarity given to us by friendly African media players in supporting our policies at the continental and global stage since 1980.
We express our exclusive gratitude to the various media houses that have projected a positive image of our nation in the past 21 years since the imposition of illegal sanctions by the United States of America and its other worldwide anti-land reform allies,” she said.
The Minister said President Mnangagwa’s penchant for transformative governance has been of great service to the reform of the information, publicity and broadcasting sector in Zimbabwe.
New legislation put in place under the Second Republic has allowed journalism to strive in a free and open media environment.
“His (President Mnangagwa) constitutional enablement of media freedoms has seen an accelerated licensing of new media houses, community radio stations bridging the urban–rural information gap. In addition, the Second Republic has put in place mechanisms to facilitate ease of accreditation for Zimbabwean and visiting media practitioners and journalists,” she said.
Beyond his vast reform in the area of information, publicity and broadcasting, Minister Mutsvangwa also hailed President Mnangagwa for his committed support for Zimbabwe’s participation in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
“We also exalt his proactive stance in making Zimbabwe play a leading role in the pursuit of peace and security in the region and the African continent at large,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said under the able leadership of President Mnangagwa, the Ministry will continue to discharge its oversight role in Zimbabwe’s media space to create an enabling environment for the creation, production, distribution and consumption of media content which genuinely celebrates Africa, promotes African self-determination, freedom, unity, solidarity, cooperation and the integration of all its peoples.
Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube said Africa Day is a day to reflect on the importance of unity and cultural diversity.
“Africa Day is a special day for us as Zimbabweans and Africans as a whole in the sense that it reminds us of our rich history and well-being as a people.
It is a day for us as Africans to cherish our cultural diversity,” she said.
“Most importantly, it appears our people are now forgetting their identity and how we suffered for our continent as we fought against inequalities and racial discriminations.”
Minister Ncube said as the country celebrates Africa Day, it is important for the nation to continuously reflect on the past and preserve the spirit of ubuntu as well as cherishing the traditions.
“As Africans, we had our certain traditional dishes that we ate, which somehow protected us from diseases.
We were strong and united as a family supporting each other, but all that is fading away because of Western cultures,” she said,
“We had our own culture that bound us together, and therefore as we commemorate Africa Day, we should consider reviving our culture.”
Joshua Nkomo Legacy Restoration Project Trust chairperson Mr Mehluli Moyo urged Africans to cherish Father Zimbabwe’s legacy of unity and peace.
“On behalf of the Joshua Nkomo Legacy Restoration Project Trust, we are saying Father Zimbabwe was proud of his Africanness and at the same time prioritised unity among Africans despite their diversity in terms of languages, nationality and race.
He was a unifier and therefore when we are celebrating Africa Day, for us it revives that aspect of Dr Nkomo’s legacy of being a unifier,” he said.
“If you look at our Zimbabwean aspect, you will understand that Dr Nkomo was Father Zimbabwe who managed to unify people regardless of ethnicity, race or social background.”
Mr Moyo said Dr Nkomo cultivated good relations with other leaders on the continent.
“He was well travelled and was respected by everyone such that he linked up very well with people like Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Samora Machel, Kenneth Kaunda and that tells you about the spirit of unity that was cultivated by our leaders as Africans.
It is actually sad that in this day and age we have groups like Operation Dudula which go against the values of being African,” he said.
“It actually reverses everything that leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo, Steve Biko fought for.
As we celebrate this day, we hope that some people will start realising the importance of uniting as Africans.”
Mr Moyo said Africans should celebrate the richness in diversity.
“Umuntu ngu muntu ngabantu and that is where the spirit of ubuntu is derived from.
To us Africa Day is a day to connect with our identity as we celebrate who we are in terms of our culture and traditions, which we try to showcase through our regalia and African dishes,” he said.