‘Conflicts blight Africa Day commemorations’

Tendai Kamhungira

INTERNAL conflicts and lack of unity among Africans have blighted the continent’s annual commemoration of Africa Day, which fosters the desire to work together and speak with one voice, political analysts have said.

The continent yesterday celebrated Africa Day, which is an annual commemoration of the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, now African Union, on May 25, 1963.


While at its early stages the organisation was aimed at helping member nations in ending colonialism, it later shifted its stance over the years, to include economic partnership and ending of conflicts within the African countries. The organisation’s bid to end conflict, resonates with this year’s theme: Silencing the Guns, Creating Conducive Conditions for Africa’s Development.

Political analysts, who spoke to the Daily News yesterday, said there was a lot which divides the continent than what brings it together.

According to political analyst, Rashweat Mukundu, said there were divisions among Africans to such an extent that they do not speak with one voice, when it comes to issues that affect them.

“Africa is ruled by self-centred politicians, who would rather focus on self-enrichment and perpetuating their stay in power. This has resulted in many social and political conflicts in the continent. If you look at the biggest economies in Africa, such as South Africa and Nigeria, they are beset by social problems and violence, which is caused by the unequal distribution of wealth.

“If you look at the poorest countries in Africa, it could be the DRC or the Central Africa Republic, again the same issues arise, there is capture of political power for the purposes of self-enrichment,” Mukundu said.
He said the African leadership has lost the principles by the founding fathers such as Kwame Nkrumah, who focussed at ending poverty.

“If you look at Africa, it is hugely divided into Anglophone, former English colonies and Francophone, former French colonies and West Africa will not stand up to France and its exploitation. Southern Africa, maybe free but hugely divided to speak with one voice. Lusophone Africa, would rather suck up to Lisbon and establish business connections with Portugal.

“We are too divided and other world powers like China are taking advantage of these divisions to curve out personal niche for themselves. Africa should negotiate with China as Africa, using its bloc, the African Union and not as individuals,” he said.

He said the continent was failing to speak with one voice and unless there was a united leadership, the situation will remain the same.

This year’s Africa Day commemoration also comes at a time a number of countries are battling to end conflict and achieve total economic independence.

Right now, Mozambique is battling to deal with terrorists, who have occupied the gold-rich Cabo Delgado Province, the DRC is in border squabbles with Zambia, there have been recurring xenobhobia attacks in South Africa and the Western Sahara conflicts, among other challenges.

Another analyst, Maxwell Saungweme, said the continent needs to do more to deal with the vestiges of colonialism and not to be pitted against one another.

“Africans need to do away with vestiges of colonialism and being pitted against each other by proxy actors and realise we are one and we need to look within Africa. When we talk of commodities, markets and trade we should look first to satisfy African markets before looking East or West.

“We need to fight the recolonisation of Africa by the Eastern and Western powers. Our leaders need to run our countries democratically and all the youthful population should be given a driving seat in the affairs of our countries. The disconnect between demographic and politics in Africa must be corrected.

“We should have more women and young people in political and governance leadership and not only have older men dominating the leadership of the continent. That has been the largest failure of AU,” Saungweme said.

He however, he said key issues that are threatening peace, safety and security in Africa are “corruption, bad governance, intolerance, violent extremism, diseases and interference into our affair by proxy actors”.
The Nelson Chamisa-led MDC yesterday said there was need to end internal brutalities and hatred among Africans.

“As Zimbabweans, the tragic irony is that it is our government’s guns that have cost us the lives of innocent citizens. It is the guns controlled by those in authority that need to be silenced. On August 1, 2018 and in January 2019, the government’s guns shed the blood of the innocent sons and daughters of this land. As Zimbabweans, we plead with those in power and authority to silence their guns for the sake of our safety.

“We are a proud African political movement. We take advantage of this day to plead that we truly cherish each other as Africans on this our own continent. The Afrophobia that often rears its head in South Africa, wrongly touted as xenophobia, is a sad indictment on this continent.

“Why should Africans begin to feel unsafe on their own continent when we have traditionally been acclaimed as a hospitable people; a people that welcomes all well-meaning strangers and visitors, let alone fellow Africans enjoying the warmth of their own continent?” the MDC said.

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