Leaders of liberation movements that brought independence to southern Africa yesterday demanded that the West lifts its illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe which have crippled the economy and hurt the people of Zimbabwe.
In a joint communiqué released after their one-day meeting here, the liberation movements said: “The Heads of former liberation movements reiterate their call for the immediate and unconditional removal of the inhuman and illegal economic sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe.”
It was signed by representatives of the African National Congress of South Africa, MPLA of Angola, Chama Chama Pinduzi of Tanzania, Frelimo of Mozambique, Zimbabwe’s Zanu PF and Swapo of Namibia.
These are the parties that brought liberation to their respective countries and ushered in majority rule and democratic institutions.
The EU imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe at the behest of former coloniser Britain and its ally, the United States, in a bid to boost their quest for illegal regime change in Zimbabwe through economic hardships.
The West wants to take advantage of puppet regimes to plunder African economies. Western countries working in cahoots with MDC-T have insisted on maintaining the illegal sanctions regime on Zimbabwe.
Leaders of the liberation movements condemned such subversive acts describing them as economic sabotage.
Host president Cde Hifikepunye Pohamba, leader of Swapo, reminded all parties that the ideals of the liberation struggles waged should never be forgotten.
Cde Mugabe represented Zanu-PF in his capacity as its President and First Secretary.
He was accompanied by the party’s secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa, Cde Stan Mudenge and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.
President Pohamba, in his opening remarks, singled out the need to continue pushing towards indigenous ownership of natural resources as this would pull African populations out of poverty.
“The struggle against colonialism was not only aimed at achieving political freedom and restoration of the dignity of the African people, but it was also about gaining access to the means of production such as land, gaining the right to benefit from the natural resources that our countries are endowed with and providing opportunities for our people to access public services and social amenities, which they have been denied for centuries,” said Cde Pohamba.
He said the right to determine how African resources are governed lies solely in the hands of Africans.
“With the attainment of freedom and independence, we have become masters of our own destiny. Thus, it is entirely up to us to determine the trajectory of social and economic development that our countries should take,” he said.
Cde Pohamba said the meetings should serve as a constant reminder of the arduous and bloody road that led to this freedom the region was enjoying.
“One of the main objectives (of these meetings) is the need to keep alive the ideals that thousands of our comrades shed their precious blood and sacrificed their lives for during the struggle against colonialism and apartheid in our region,” he said.
The meeting of leaders of the liberation movements will become a “family” tradition of like-minded revolutionary parties in the Sadc region.
This years’ summit is the second one following the inaugural summit held in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania in May last year.
Other leaders who attended the summit include Tanzanian President Cde Jakaya Kikwete representing Chama Chama Pinduzi, Gwede Mantashe representing South Africa’s ANC for which he is secretary-general and leaders of Angola’s MPLA and Mozambique’s Frelimo.
President Mugabe was hailed for rekindling the spirit of the liberation movements and advocating that they walk and speak with one voice, something that delegates at the meeting were expected to endorse and adopt.
Said Cde Pohamba; “It is important that we speak with a united voice and also harmonise our approaches to the issues affecting our region and our continent.”