Zambia’s first president Kenneth Kaunda fell ill while attending a meeting of liberation movements in the Southern Africa region, the Watchdog understands.
Contrary to lies by government and his family that Kaunda went on holiday to reflect on his memoirs, it has emerged that he specifically traveled to attend the meeting of liberation movements.
The meeting held last Thursday in Windhoek was highly charged with anti-colonial rhetoric and demanded the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe and release of some Cubans held in USA.
Liberation movements present were MPLA (Angola), ANC (South Africa), Chama Cha Mapinduzi (Tanzania), FRELIMO (Mozambique), SWAPO (Namibia) and ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe) and UNIP of Zambia.
In attendance were Presidents Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, FRELIMO secretary-general Filipe Chimoio Paunde, ANC’s Gwede Mantashe, and Chama Cha Mapinduzi secretary-general Wilson Mukama.
The MPLA of Angola was represented Alberto de Almeda.
The meeting was chaired by Namibia’s President Hifikepunye Pohamba, who is also the president of the country’s ruling SWAPO.
Kenneth Kaunda could not attend the last meeting on Thursdays as he was taken ill the previous evening.
The real intentions of these liberation heroes is not yet very clear but the Southen Times, a newspaper funded by regional government gives some insights.
The newspaper reports that the first such meeting was in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in May 2010 in response to a scaled-up onslaught by neo-colonial forces.
Their coming together has its historical basis in the Front Line States, which in turn formed the core of the Southern Africa Development Co-ordination Conference that later morphed into the Southern Africa Development Community.
‘The heads of political parties resolved to hold the summit of heads of the former liberation movements at the sidelines of the SADC summit,’ they said in their Windhoek communiqué.
The heads’ meeting was preceded by a meeting of secretaries-general and youth league leaders of the former liberation movements.
It was also resolved that former liberation movements collaborate with the African Union and UNESCO to establish an African Liberation Heritage, a project the parties want endorsed at the next AU Summit.
The meeting renewed calls for Western countries to remove illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, and in the same vein urged the AU and the United Nations to demand the release of the Cuban Five.
The Cuban Five are a group of patriots from the largest Caribbean nation who have been imprisoned in the US for years now without recourse to a fair trial.
The Southern African parties also resolved to rally behind the lifting of the 50-year-old US embargo on Cuba.
The UN General Assembly has for some 20 years in a row unanimously called for an end to the embargo but the US has ignored this.
‘Heads of former liberation movements reiterate their call for the immediate and unconditional removal of the inhuman and illegal economic sanctions against the people of Zimbabwe,’ the Windhoek communiqué reads.
They resolved to ‘individually and collectively through multilateral forums such as SADC, AU and UN to demand the release of Cuban Five and lifting of the inhuman and barbaric sanctions on Cuba by the government of United States of America.’
President Pohamba set the tone of the one-day Summit by pointing out that the region’s history was steeped in the common fight against colonial and foreign occupation.
Former liberation parties should close ranks and fulfill ‘ideals that thousands of our comrades shed their precious blood and sacrificed their lives for during the struggle against colonialism and apartheid’, President Pohamba said.
‘The struggle against colonialism was not only aimed at achieving political freedom and restoration of the dignity of the African people, it was also about gaining access to the means of production such as land, gaining the right to benefit from the natural resources that our countries are endowed with, which they have been denied for centuries.’
Economic empowerment should be the new battle cry, President Pohamba said.
‘We must now struggle, just as hard, if not harder, for economic empowerment of our people.’
Parties should strive to keep alive the ideals that they fought for, said President Pohamba, who alongside Namibia’s Founding President Sam Nujoma led SWAPO in a 21-year war against the racist and repressive South African apartheid regime.
‘We faced a common enemy in the form of colonialism, apartheid and oppression.
‘Today we face a common enemy in the form of poverty, hunger, underdevelopment …. We should therefore adopt common strategies to confront these challenges with the same determination in order to improve the living conditions of our people,’ President Pohamba said.
The liberation movements first came together under the Pan-African Freedom Movement for East, Central and Southern Africa (PAFMECSA) in 1962.
After the formation of the Organization of African Unity in 1963, the continental body – through the Liberation Committee led so astutely by Brigadier Hashim Mbita of Tanzania – took over much of PAFMECSA’s work.
To concentrate efforts on Southern Africa’s specific needs, the Front Line States came about in the 1970s.
In 1980, they formalized this grouping as SADCC, which transformed into SADC in 1992.