Zim marks Africa Day in style

HARARE - Zimbabweans yesterday joined other African nations in celebrating Africa Day in grand style, with some dressed in beautiful African attire and putting on a colourful display of culture, food and diversity.

Held under the theme: “Winning the fight against corruption: A sustainable path to Africa’s transformation”, civil society reiterated that Africa Day served to reinforce the need for unity, peace and democracy as pre-requisites for development as the country hurtles towards mid-year general elections.

Africa Day was first held in 1963 in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, when 32 countries formed the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU).

In the more than half a decade since, 21 additional countries have joined the OAU, with South Africa the last country to join in 1994 after Apartheid ended.

The OAU’s original mission was to bring freedom to African countries that were still under colonial rule in the 60s, defend their sovereignty, uphold human rights and restore the dignity of the African people.

Africa Day was marked in Zimbabwe as a national holiday yesterday.

It is the first Africa Day to be held under the regime of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who assumed power in November following a de facto coup that ousted Robert Mugabe, 94, with the Foreign Affairs and International Trade minister Sibusiso Moyo thanking the continent for its seal of approval for the new Harare administration.

“I would like to especially thank Sadc and the African Union for their apt reading of the events in Zimbabwe as well as their unwavering support,” he told diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe on the eve of the  55th Africa Day commemorations in Harare, alluding to visits by African Union Commission chair Mousa Faki Mohamat and the executive secretary of Sadc Stergomena Lawrence Tax to lend support to the new administration.

While Mnangagwa has pledged zero tolerance in his government’s push to tackle corruption that stifled political freedom and economic growth under Mugabe’s 37-year rule, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) — a conglomeration of 87 civil society organisations coordinating for social, economic and political consciousness — reiterated that eradicating corruption in all its forms was absolutely important for the development of African states.

CiZC said it would like to register its concern over the lackadaisical approach or apparent lack of political will by Zimbabwean authorities to fight corruption which is largely responsible for the country’s economic woes.

“In as much as the setting up of the Zimbabwe Anti Corruption Commission (Zacc) was touted as a major step in fighting corruption, there has not been meaningful progress in addressing the plunder of the country’s resources by politicians and other powerful authorities,” Tabani Moyo, spokesperson of the coalition said.

“It is a fact that Zacc has proved to be redundant while executing its mandate in a selective manner and this has seen some corrupt officials being regarded as sacred cows in the fight against corruption.

“If anything, Zacc has proved to be a commission set up to persecute individuals deemed to be politically incorrect and this selective application of the law has been the greatest flaw of the commission.”

CiZC implored the current administration led by Mnangagwa to ensure that the law was applied without fear or favour if efforts to combat corruption are to bear fruit.

“We also take note of the fact that Zacc has been sitting on a lot of high profile corruption cases which have not been brought to finality and this stems from its selective application of the law and abuse of office by authorities.

“This is coming at a time the government has failed to act on corruption cases implicating several government departments and officials revealed in the Auditor General’s reports,” Moyo said.

CiZC deplored a continuation of the Mugabe era during which Mugabe would publicly speak out against corruption by his cronies yet there was no action against the alleged culprits.

Since the ushering in of the new dispensation, there have been arrests of the former president’s allies on corruption charges.

As CiZC , in as much as we welcome steps towards addressing corruption, we are suspicious that the move is meant to give a false impression of commitment to end corruption. Rather it is a clampdown on enemies of the current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa disguised as a fight against corruption,” Moyo said.

He also said the Cabinet announced by Mnangagwa after his inauguration failed to instil confidence among Zimbabweans as it mostly comprised of individuals who were associated with corruption cases and where among those that were in the past labelled as corrupt by the former president.

CiZC also called upon the Zimbabwean government to ratify and domesticate several African Charters that seek to promote democracy as well as transparency in Africa.
“More importantly, CiZC urges the government to ratify the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance signed by President Mnangagwa in March 2018,” he said.

“This is quite pressing especially given the fact that Zimbabwe is set to hold watershed elections between July and August this year. CiZC however remains quite skeptical that the Zimbabwean government would be able to ratify and domesticate this charter before the 2018 polls. As CiZC, we would also like to reaffirm our commitment to democracy and restate that as long as the fundamental values of democracy are not respected and upheld, corruption and abuse of public office will continue to flourish and this would ultimately negatively affect efforts at Zimbabwe’s development.”

A teachers union, the Amalgamated Rural Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe said the future of Africa is anchored on educating her people.

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.