Obi Egbuna Jr Simunye
While President Mnangagwa is exactly one week removed from humbly and proudly representing Zimbabwe at the 73rd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), whose theme was “Making the United Nations Relevant To All People: Global Leadership and Shared Responsibilities for Peaceful, Equitable and Sustainable Societies”, Africans the world over are in dire need of proper historical context and reflection, as we dare to defy the odds and move forward.
What we anticipate is a more trivial and sensational exchange centred around how the unveiling of Madiba Nelson Mandela’s statue at the UN Headquarters in New York, that was centred around this year’s centennial of his birth.
This tear-jerking occasion coincided with US President Donald Trump at a separate event in another part of the building, focusing on a US-sponsored resolution focusing on how the international narcotics trade is causing around 450 000 deaths annually from overdoses and drug related issues.
Since it was expected that the overwhelming majority of Heads of State and other distinguished guests would rather attend an event centred around a statue of Madiba and even use the podium to take shots at President Trump, what must not be ignored is the resolution that President Trump introduced received the endorsement of 130 nations that are faithful and loyal UN members.
This is the equivalent of how so-called African Americans watched former US President George W. Bush and the Congressional Black Caucus fight like cats and dogs around US imperialism’s racist and terrorist invasion of Iraq, but at the same time work in partnership to bring about a regime change in Zimbabwe like termites attack pieces of wood.
Because the UN represents the global stage in every respect, it comes as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of Heads of State are expected to either overindulge in or strategically navigate around the political theatre and show-boating synonymous with this annual event.
One of the more interesting events on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly was centred around imperialist Pop culture, as the world watched and enjoyed for the 5th year in a row the Global Citizens Festival,which is organised by the Global Poverty Project and sponsored by The Cotton On Project.
The goal of this festival, according to its narrative and spin doctors, is to be in total alignment with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals which include 17 tasks aimed at ending poverty by 2030.
In 2015 it was decided that the vocalist of Coldplay Chris Martin has been selected to be the curator and face of the festival for the next 15 years.
This Global Poverty Project Festival is the brainchild of two Australians, Hugh Evans and Simon Moss, their goal is a two fold strategy: campaigning for government,business and consumer action that will create systemic care for the world’s extreme poor and building a movement that engages and educates people, and supports them to take simple but effective individual actions for change.
Prior to starting the Global Poverty Project five years before Mr. Evans co-founded the Oaktree Foundation, whose focus was Myannar,Cambodia and India, and whose membership ranges between the ages of 16 and 26.
Mr Evans’ initial exposure to Mother Africa was as a World Vision volunteer where he spent time in the rural areas that are part of the KwaZulu Natal province in South Africa.
At the Global Citizens Festival the crowd erupted when it was announced at the FNB stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa on December 2 that a festival would take place in honour of the Madiba and is legacy.
The event’s keynote speaker will be none other than Oprah Winfrey with a concert headlined by Jay-Z and Beyonce.
The event culminating with Mandela 100 and the Global Citizen’s Festival.
While we are not the least bit concerned with the global fraternity bourgeois liberals, symbolically making the Madiba Mother Africa’s version and answer to Mahatma Gandhi, it is rather troubling that Johannesburg is being chosen by a group of elitist do-gooders in what appears to be damage control of the highest order.
Whether your point of reference are opportunists like Julius Malema and the ANC splinter group EFF ruthlessly exploiting the legacy of the Pan Africanist icon and giant Mangaliso Sobukwe and the PAC, exploiting the everyday people’s growing sentiment for land reclamation to gain cool points and political mileage, it is undeniable that South Africa could erupt at any given second.
Some of our bravest revolutionaries like the Pan African icon Kwame Ture warned us to maintain total confidence in the masses of our people at all costs.
With that being said, if an all out uprising centred around the question of land occurs in the middle of this concert, the question must be posed: will Oprah,Beyonce and Jay-Z get in the streets with the people or run faster than Usian Bolt into the US Embassy and take the first private jet available back to the safety of privilege in the USA?
We turn to our ancestors and hope President Ramaphosa and the ANC don’t unleash the military on our people or throw them in jail,duplicating the gestapo like tactics of the apartheid security forces at both Sharpeville/Kwa Langa and Soweto, just to show the Global Festival and Mandela 100 participants that all is well.
Our so-called African-Americans in Los Angeles clearly remember when Mayor Tom Bradley, a former police chief, instructed his thugs in blue to throw every alleged gang member in jail so that visitors in Los Angeles could enjoy the 1984 Olympics without being subjected to the racism, poverty and police terrorism just taking place on a daily basis a few paces away from Hollywood.
Mr Evans was born in 1983, which would make him, if he was Zimbabwean, a born free, that by definition means born free of the terrorism associated with the colonialists and conquerors like Cecil John Rhodes, Frederick Selous and the British South African Company, but not free of the responsibility to defend the sovereignty of Zimbabwe.
The main challenge that Messrs Evans and Moss could accept and would benefit immensely from is to come to the other side of the Limpopo River, and watch how the Land Reclamation Programme in Zimbabwe has been used to not only empower its people but has inspired all landless people in the world.
Any admirers of the Madiba should not just magnify his achievements but also carefully analyse the problems he failed to address.
Messrs Evans and Moss can tour the farms of Zimbabwe and see why every time former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe went to South Africa, for political visits, the youth and women of South Africa clamoured around him the way the Global Citizens are celebrating Madiba.
Messrs Evans and Moss can then relate to the sentiment of one of the Madiba’s grandchildren who said former President Mugabe was his favourite African leader a few years ago.
Because many Global Citizens function from the understanding that charity begins at home, the manner in which zanu-pf has dealt with the criminality of Britain and Rhodesia may inspire Mesrs Evans and Moss to pressure the Australian Government to do more to lift US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The next step could be in the form of reparations supporting the agricultural and demonstration centres that China has built in Africa, to support agricultural empowerment throughout Africa. Hopefully the pro-imperialist partners like former US President Joseph Biden, former first lady Michelle Obama and US Senator Chris Coons, who have graced the stage of the Global Citizen’s Festival, can be questioned why they felt US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe benefited the everyday people.
If Mr. Evans and Mr. Moss in their travels and Ted talks aren’t willing to aggressively confront US-EU imperialism on their genocidal policies, aren’t these gestures enabling imperialism for years to come. Are Mr. Evans and Mr. Moss willing to sit with President Mnangagwa, President Afwerki of Eritrea, President Maduro of Venezuela and Miguel Diaz-Canel and travel to these nations to see the impact of imperialist sanctioning and blockading and the poverty that it produces?
Once would be poverty eradicators are ready to take these type of steps whether it’s Reverend Willie Barber and Moral Monday Movement who have reignited the Poor Peoples Campaign, initially spearheaded by Dr. King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference 50 years ago, or two Australians who feel guilty by the devastation their ancestors, courtesy of colonialism and imperialism have left behind, we can join hands with them.