Home » Governance » Work Hard, President Tells AU Staff

PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday met the full African Union Commission and staff of the continental body to familiarise himself with their operations and concerns, and urged them to continue putting shoulders to the wheel so that all Africans can have the Africa they want.

The Commission is the Secretariat of the union entrusted with executive functions. It is composed of 10 Officials: the Chairperson Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, deputy chairperson Erastus Mwencha and eight Commissioners and Staff members.

The structure represents the union and protects its interests under the auspices of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government as well as the Executive Committee.

The Commission, whose equivalent at state level is a Cabinet, is made up of eight portfolios: Peace and Security Political Affairs Trade and Industry Infrastructure and Energy Social Affairs Rural Economy and Agriculture Human Resources, Science and Technology and Economic Affairs.

Addressing the Commissioners and staff in the Nelson Mandela Plenary Hall at the AU HQ here, President Mugabe thanked the Commissioners and staff for their dedication and urged them to work for the full integration of the continent.

“We are now for integration, integration, working together, doing things together, undertaking programmes of development together,” he said.

Soon after assuming chairmanship, President Mugabe launched Agenda 2063, the AU development roadmap for the next 50 years which aims to vest ownership of the continent’s resources in Africans and promote maximum returns on all exports through value-addition and beneficiation.

Agenda 2063 is structured into five 10-year plans, and the inaugural year of the first 10-year plan will see President Mugabe, the face of resource nationalism on the continent, lead Africa to the envisioned great future of holistic independence.

“You are the hands of the Commission, the hands of Africa. Without the hands you cannot do so much. We want it (AU Commission) really to be the driving engine along the path decided, the policies, the programmes that will emanate from what is decided,” he said.

“You are the doers and actors, and we say thank you, thank you forever-more for the spirit and dedication. You are part of us, a very important part, playing an important role,” President Mugabe said.

Continental unity, he said, should not just be confined to the economic and political realm, but must be translated to the grassroots to involve the entirety of Africans. He decried the notion of tribes saying the continent must work to create nations.

“And get each country to have a nation Zambia, Zimbabwe etc. Get our countries to found themselves on non-tribal lines. I am no better because I belong to this tribe. That creature (tribe) must go. It brings a wedge which separates us when we are one people.”

Indeed, many of the conflicts plaguing the continent can be linked to the exploitation of tribal differences by those keen on sponsoring conflict to abet their continued plunder of the continent’s finite resources.

A case in point being in South Sudan, the civil war pitting the Dinka and Neur tribes has claimed an estimated 10 000 lives, more than 1 million people are estimated to have been internally displaced while more than 400 000 others fled to neighbouring countries, among them Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda.

The President urged the Commission and staff to always bear in mind that Africa, and all that repose on and in it, was for Africans, saying while foreigners were welcome to help exploit the resources, they must never be made masters.

“We must always bear in mind our common destiny and along the way we must always sing, dream and constantly bear in mind that Africa is for us in Africa. That Africa is for Africans, others may come to live with us but Africa is for Africans, the resources of Africa must benefit Africans.

“Others may come to help us exploit them but we do not make them masters.

“Our resources just think of them oil, whose oil is it?

“Who is it benefiting? Yes, prices keep fluctuating but it is our oil.

“Whose is the gold? Whose are the diamonds? They have benefited Europe, now we want them to benefit our people,” President Mugabe said.

Under the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme, Government has legislated that all foreign-owned companies, that are resource-based, must vest at least 51 percent shareholding in indigenous Zimbabweans.

This economic concept has now spread to the rest of Africa, if Agenda 2063 is anything to go by.

The Commission, President Mugabe said, should enlist the support of member countries, where need arises, in spearheading Agenda 2063.

“It’s going to work, harder than before. Enlist the support of governments and ensure that programmes we have discussed and agreed shall be the programmes of each country,” he said.

(ADD this bit at the end of the story on P2 about President meeting AU staff)

After delivering his speech, President Mugabe was presented with a beautiful leather briefcase by AU staff before he signed AU book.

Source : The Herald