ARUSHA, TANZANIA, March 30 — Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe, the current African Union (AU) chairman, has exhorted the continent’s youth to be principled and steadfast in pursuance of African ideals to guard against unbeneficial exploitation of the continent’s rich natural resources by outsiders.

President Mugabe, who was officiating at the Third Africa-China Young Leaders Forum (ACYLF) in Tanzania on Saturday, told delegates that while the continent’s founding fathers had fought for and attained political independence, the battle was still on for total control and ownership of the resources.

He criticized some among the current crop of African leaders for losing sight of the founding fathers’ ideals while urging the youths to be principled, disciplined and selfless in every aspect of their lives to successfully
drive the continent towards achieving its development goals.

“The winning of political independence will not solve all our problems and indeed it has not as we all know. As should be apparent to you our youths, (there is) lots of unemployment, lots of hunger, lots of poverty, lots of disease,” President Mugabe told the delegates.

“The flag came yes, in some cases the land did not. In our case we had to fight later to get the land. The anthem came and was sang, the minerals did not they went to the other side. We got our place at the
United Nations but we never got a place at high places, the Security Council.”

President Mugabe, who took the young delegates down memory lane, sharing the struggles and dedication to African independence and prosperity by the founding fathers, said it was up to the current crop of African leaders and youth to take a stand by stopping continued siphoning of resources by erstwhile colonizers.

He said resources continued to find their way out to the West for the benefit of Africa’s erstwhile colonizers due to failure by the African leadership to safeguard the continent’s interests. “When you look at us at the African Union, I am afraid we are no longer true to the principles of the founding fathers,” he said.

“We are mainly thinking of ourselves and the colonialists are back in control.”

The Africa-China Young Leaders Forum aims at bringing together young people to inter-act, exchange and explore opportunities for collaboration in political, socio-economic spheres. Issues under the spotlight at the meeting include trade and logistics, mining and energy, agriculture, construction, tourism and culture.

More than 150 delegates from 40 African countries are attending the forum which opened on Friday and ends on March 31. Namibia and China hosted the first and second editions of the forum.