African leaders resolved to demand through multilateral forums the release of the ‘Cuban Five’
Liberation movement leaders want a united front
By: CATHERINE SASMAN
THE meeting of heads of former liberation movements of the six political parties that met in Windhoek concluded with resolutions seeking greater cooperation and the consolidation of relations amongst the parties.
This concluded of a series of meetings of various party structures and Secretaries General, culminating in the heads of the movements.
The Heads of State present yesterday were President Robert Mugabe from Zimbabwe, and Tanzania’s President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete.
The other countries were represented by MPLA vice President Roberto de Almeida, African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe, and Secretary General of Frelimo, Filipe Paunde.
The leaders reiterated an earlier call for the “immediate and unconditional” removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe, which they said are inhuman and illegal.
They resolved that the heads of the political parties should individually and collectively through multilateral forums such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU), and the United Nations (UN) demand the release of the ‘Cuban Five’ held in American jails, and to call for a lift of the economic sanctions against Cuba by the United States.
The meeting further decided that former liberation movements should collaborate with the AU and UNESCO for the establishment of an African liberation heritage project to be adopted at AU Summit level.
The leaders said the weekly newspaper Southern Times, which is jointly owned by the Namibian and Zimbabwean governments, should be supported in broadening the ownership to governments of the rest of the former liberation movements’ governments.
The parties said they also want exchange programmes of their wings to be intensified.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba yesterday said the purpose of the annual meeting of the movements is to keep alive the anti-colonial ideals of the struggle, with political parties acting as transmission belts of those ideals.
He said the struggle against colonialism was not only aimed at achieving political freedom, but also about gaining access to the means of production, and gaining the right to benefit from the natural resources countries are endowed with, and for people to access public services and social amenities.
He said the parties should strategies to improve the living standards of people, especially those citizens who have bore the brunt of colonialism and oppression.
“We must adopt policies that are responsive to the needs of the elderly, women, the youth, people with disabilities, peasants and the veterans of the liberation struggle who gave up everything in order to fight for freedom,” Pohamba said.
He said the countries should pursue policies aimed at expanding agricultural production, broadening of manufacturing, and investment in the development of physical and communication infrastructure.
This, he said, should be backed by strong and effective education systems that will produce a competent workforce and future leaders.
He said parties should speak with a united voice and harmonise approaches to issues that affect the region and the continent.