We celebrate Africa Day this year, amid the Coronavirus pandemic, which has certainly forced our focuses away from the African agenda and has indeed exposed the need for its acceleration.

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) believes that some progress has been made with Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the formation of the Africa Union (AU).

The OAU constantly had to put out fires across the continent and it saw military regimes toppling corrupt governments. Under the OAU’s watch many democracies had been formed in sub-Saharan countries like Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Salim Ahmed Salim, former OAU Secretary General, did good work and managed the transition to the AU very well.

We also remember the work of people like Chester Crocker, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the Reagan Administration (from 1981 to 1989) who was the architect of the United States’ policy of “constructive engagement” towards Southern Africa. He oversaw the implementation of the United Nation’s Security Council’s Resolution 435 which delivered Namibian independence in 1990.

We are slowly reaching the goals of healthy democracies, enshrining civil liberties and human rights, amongst others, but the continent still has a long way to go, especially where fighting corruption is concerned. Unfortunately, conflicts and war, human rights abuses, food shortages, exploitation of mineral resources and poaching of rhinos and other animals are still at the order of the day.

African countries also need to focus on infrastructure development and creating manufacturing industries in order to secure our riches for the benefit of our peoples, thus stopping our shores from being a dumping ground for imported goods.

The UDM celebrates Africa Day 2020 with the rest of the continent and wishes all countries the best in managing the Covid-19 pandemic.

Issued by:
Mr Bantu Holomisa
UDM President