By Leonard Ncube in Victoria Falls
FORMER Liberation Movements (FLMs) in Southern Africa met in Victoria Falls this week where they resolved to restrategise against a common enemy, the West, in light of renewed threats from neo-imperialist hegemony whose mission is to destabilise African governments and effect regime change.
The five-day 10th meeting of secretary-generals and wings of the Former Liberation Movements of Southern Africa started on Sunday and ended Thursday amid concerns about “too much interference” by western countries into the affairs of African government.
The region now feels the need for unity and cooperation among member states.
In an effort to beef up their constituency, FLMs comprising Zanu-PF of Zimbabwe, Frelimo of Mozambique, African National Congress of South Africa, Chama Chamapinduzi of Tanzania, People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), and Swapo of Namibia agreed to allow Botswana Democratic Party and Zambia’s Patriotic Front to be permanent members of the organisation.
This comes after a realisation that SADC and the whole African continent were under siege from the US and the European Union whose regime change agenda penetrated through opposition political parties, according to delegates at the meeting.
Speaking at the meeting, FLM representatives stressed that western powers had deployed a cocktail of strategies to destabilise former liberation movements through sponsoring opposition parties.
This is manifest in recurrent violent demonstrations, including xenophobic attacks, they said.
Of note also was the double standards imperialist role of programmes such as Mandela Washington foundation, Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), Peace Corps, and Obama Fellowship which were presented as developmental yet they carried a regime change agenda, it was revealed.
The programmes were popular with African young people oblivious of the fact that they were used as regime change conduits.
Zanu-PF Secretary for Administration Obert Mpofu urged the region to unite in order to win the economic war.
“If yesterday we were close allies as we fought to bring freedom where our people perished and were buried in unmarked graves in our different countries as we yearned for our independence, what can therefore separate us after this tortuous and yet self-fulfilling journey? We managed to bring political independence and the next journey is that of economically empowering our people. This vigour with which we brought this cherished freedom is the same which we should apply in the economic battle,” he said.
Mpofu said FLMs should continue to exhibit the brotherhood they showed when they collaborated during the liberation struggle.
His sentiments were echoed by Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans Association treasurer general Des van Roosen, representing the ANC, who said FLMs were a family of people who gave it all to make sure the generality of Africa attained independence.
“We are using this conference to check if our liberation and revolution is still on course and ensure we contribute towards development. From here we will be able to engage our political parties and ensure everything is taken care of,” van Roosen said.
He said the whole of SADC agreed that removal of sanctions in Zimbabwe would revive the country’s economy and subsequently have ripple effects on the whole region.
“Also veterans have expressed concern on what is happening in South Africa. What’s coming out is labour concentration in South Africa because of lack of capital development in other countries so we emphasise on the need to ensure that Agenda 2063 of industrialisation of the region is enhanced,” he said.
Some delegates bemoaned lack of internal cohesion within respective FLMs which they said compromised internal cohesion, hence the need for discipline and upholding of values and principles guiding Africa renaissance.
The general feeling among delegates was that a hidden hand of western governments was manifest in Africa where imperialist organisations penetrated through labour movements and non-governmental organisations hence the need to maintain an eagle’s eye.
A representative from CCM said Africa could only succeed if it unites against the enemy.
Chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa said a coordinated approach by all SADC countries, especially FLMs, was key.
He said failure to act by the SADC region and beyond would lead to continuous brain drain.
“If we don’t act now we will always lose youths to the diaspora where they get jobs. We need these youths here in the region so they use their skills for development hence the reason why we are saying we need to move forward with Africa’s integration,” said Ambassador Mutsvangwa.
He said denial of capital to Southern Africa was a fundamental issue to the challenge for independence and development.
Ambassador Mutsvangwa said recent declaration by SADC Heads of State for 25 October as the day against sanctions on Zimbabwe should be used as a starting point for cooperation.
The issue of sanctions on Zimbabwe would be inserted in speeches of SADC Foreign Affairs ministers while the SADC and Africa Union chairpersons would also take it up at the upcoming United Nations General Assembly.
Ambassador Mutsvangwa said the conference agreed that all member states begin to campaign against sanctions on Zimbabwe through demonstrations that were expected to spread across all US Embassies in the SADC region.
He said young people should also begin to realise that unemployment in the region was a result of interference by western countries, adding that Africa was robbed of its right to development by hostile economic imperialists.
“Now that capital has become democratic and accessible anywhere in the world, we want movement of capital and free movement of labour within Africa so that countries such as South Africa that had a white population and enjoyed growth share with the region,” he added.
Ambassador Mutsvangwa said governments should be able to distinguish between predatory capital which is imperialist and bent on making sure Africa doesn’t develop, and foreign direct investment, which is a global wealth.
Zanu-PF Deputy Secretary for the Youth League, Lewis Matutu, said youths across the region had been energised to defend the revolutionary parties’ ideology and stop interference of western countries in issues of African countries.
He warned youths against participating in some programmes that seemed to appear good to Africans yet they sought regime change.
“We need to have our own capacity building programmes that speak to our challenges,” he advised.