On the occasion of Africa day the ZIM Morning Post Publisher Elias Mambo (EM) caught up with Zimbabwe’s main opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa (NC) who shared his vision for Africa.
Below are excerpts of the interview:
EM: It is Africa day and what are your views concerning the political trajectory Africa is taking as well as its economic future.
NC: Africa needs a complete dynamic shift from the present scenario. Yes Africa was liberated and now we need transformation and that can only take place if young people populate the parliaments in Africa. Transformation can only take place if the young people are in African cabinets, if they populate the councils and turn around the way things are being done. We need to decolonise our minds. Remove the sense of borders. Let’s have a new united Africa with one residence and one economy.
EM: But how do we do that when the ruling parties in Africa and the opposition political parties are not pulling in one direction. Is this not because of the toxicity of our politics?
NC: We are the transformational generation. We need to take this continent forward and I believe it can be done. Africa had a way of doing its own things. We had knowledge systems that we have to reserve and harness for the continental development. Secondly we must also be able to revisit all colonial laws which limit our capacity to innovate and our capacity to self-generate, and our capacity to have pride in our identity.
Thirdly we want to make sure that we silence guns but silencing guns entails that we must also not mistake this for silencing our citizens. The guns that are in Africa are not just the guns in the barracks its actually the guns of dictatorship, the guns of tyranny, we must silence the guns of poverty, the guns of tribalism, the guns of political instability, guns of rigid elections, the guns of corruption, the guns of state capture, the guns of weak institutions, the guns of strong men who treat citizens as private property.
EM: How do you move forward given the tag that is being given to the opposition political parties in Africa right now, they are called puppets of the west but you are speaking of rethinking the global south, rethinking Africa and it’s not in sync with that tag.
NC: All those who want to label and condemn the alternate voices on the African continent are seeking to silence brilliant ideas, they are seeking to silence progressive voices but more fundamentally they also need to be liberated from a colonial mind-set, to think that brilliant ideas can only come from Europe, so when you have another brilliant idea it doesn’t mean that they are coming from Europe or they are inspired by Europe. We are inspired by African Traditions, we are inspired by our founding fathers on the African continent, so it is actually a colonial mind-set to always want to believe that you are second, that somebody has got power to determine your fate and your destiny, this is absolute colonial mind-set, we have too many people who have been affected by colonialism, they are victims of colonialism so they need to be unbewitched, let’s look at African ideas, African thoughts, let’s look at African civilization, let’s look at African citizens and to look at things together and say how do we improve our fortunes. So my appeal, I urge and appeal to young Africans in Ghana Accra, in Nairobi Kenya and Addis Ababa Ethiopia, in Cairo Egypt, Bamako Mali, in Abujah, in Johannesburg South Africa, Lusaka Zambia , in Malawi and in Harare and Bulawayo Zimbabwe to stand up, go and populate business sectors and commerce, take over and Take charge, young people must take over, young people must stand a chance, that is why I have emphasized on the issue of the new generation and transformation.
EM: This means a complete turn-around of our political trajectory. How is that possible given that you have always said elections in Zimbabwe in particular and Africa in general are flawed?
NC: We are transformational people, the liberation was achieved and I have said and you must take note of this Africa is Liberated but not developed, Africa is independent but still dependent, Africa is freed but still in chains, economic chains, so we need to remove all these contradictions and to do l have put forward four pillars of strategy, to create an African ethnicity, a united Africa. l believe we must have a United Africa as opposed to countries, so we have one currency, we have one passport, one residents, enter one enter all philosophy, we must have one economy and also develop an Africa language which unites people, but it must be anchored on a four pillar strategy.
EM: And what entails the four pillar strategy you are proposing?
NC: The first pillar is leadership and this means we must have a strong vision for the entire continent, we must have a unifying vision which unifies all the citizens of Africa, and their Leadership, a rallying call which energise the base. Secondly we need strong institutions, strong parliament, strong judiciaries, strong civil society, strong labour, we need big ideas not big men, so we need democracy under leadership, we need good governance, we need clean and uncontested electoral systems.
The second pillar is entrepreneurship and here we need first class industries which concentrate with finished products. Entrepreneurships that deal with beneficiations and value edition of raw materials, in fact it must be taboo and it must be banned to export a raw material from the Africa soil, if you want our raw materials come and work with us in partnership to make the best out of it.
The third pillar is partnership and here we are saying we don’t need to be continuing to change the rider without changing the ride, we have been having this merry go round, a louse merry go round of changing the rider without changing the ride. Europe was riding us and from Europe now we have china, we can’t do that, we must change the rider, lets change the terms of the partnership, let us have unity as the core basis, instead of just saying you want to invest, come and partner with us. We must also partner best companies on the African committee to go and invest and have partnership with other continents or with other countries, so that we have a win-win solution.
The fourth pillar Transformation and here we need a disruptive technology on the continent, we must harness the population dividend that we have, so that under transformation we are building developments, we are building research, we are building creativity, we are building innovations, we are building internet of things we are building forth industrial revolution capacity to compete at a global scale, so those are the issues to be done if we want to move Africa forward because a the end of the day we need a strong united prosperous Africa and this we can only do to make sure that we give a due honour and accolade to the founding fathers,