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Zambia, Zimbabwe federation can defeat Western influence
Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2007

By Allan S Mulenga
October 16, 2007

The Herald

In April 1980, Zambia's founding president Dr Kenneth Kaunda made a stunning proposal on strengthening the economic power of Zambia and Zimbabwe following the latter's attainment of political independence on April 18 of that year.

Dr Kaunda proposed a federation of Zambia and Zimbabwe. This was stunning because Dr Kaunda had, as a matter of fact, proposed to be the federal foreign minister with President Mugabe as president.

This was unprecedented in Africa and would by today have countered the west's attempted siege on Zimbabwe.

Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi were from 1953 to 1963 a federation with the capital at Salisbury, now Harare with Great Britain pulling the strings from Lancaster House. The Federation's resources were channelled to Salisbury and London to be enjoyed by the white minority. When Independent Zambia and Malawi broke the back of the federation, Ian Douglas Smith then Rhodesian prime minister made his Unilateral Declaration of Independence on November 11 1965, isolating his minority regime from Britain and to an extent the rest of the world, save for apartheid South Africa.

In revisiting Dr Kaunda's proposal during an interview with a foreign correspondent in Lusaka, one must look at the history and the current situation existing in the sub region vis--vis western powers, particularly the USA and Britain.

The cause of the current problems in Zimbabwe is that the Government of Zimbabwe under Zanu-PF and President Mugabe reclaimed, without compensation, land from the descendants of Rhodesian settlers who had, in the 18th century kicked out indigenous Zimbabweans from prime land and kept it for themselves and their descendants.

On the eve of Zimbabwe's independence, the stakeholders in the then Zimbabwe-Rhodesia including the liberation movements, Zanla and Zipra, held discussions mediated by Britain at Lancaster House agreeing, among other things, that Britain would compensate white commercial farmers once time came to empower indigenous Zimbabweans.

In November 1997, November 5 to be specific, Britain abrogated its promises and President Mugabe had to act to fulfil his pledge to give people the land so many had died for, and as soon as that happened the British government of Tony Blair joined by their American cousins ran amok accusing President Mugabe of human rights abuses and initiated sanctions that have been choking Zimbabwe.

Suffice to say the Zimbabwean opposition backed by some western governments and economic refugees in the Diaspora have created an untenable international situation for the survival of Zimbabwe.

There is need to revisit Dr Kaunda's foresight into today's political and economic situation.

When it comes to wisdom, even though I have an advanced western education, I am a Kaundaist at heart and will never apologise to anyone.

Dr Kaunda, at the inception of Zimbabwe's independence foresaw the loss of many qualified exiles that had become Zambian residents from journalists, nurses, security personnel to doctors and civil servants who left a big vacuum in Zambia as they trekked back to rebuild Zimbabwe. Had anyone then decided to take that challenging proposal, I doubt if at all the prevailing economic situation would have been as it is today. I might add too that a federated Zambia and Zimbabwe would have been a power block to reckon with because:

There would have been a continuity of a well-groomed civil service in both countries.

There would have been enough land to go between the native peoples and the descendants of white settlers. A lot of whites who lost their land in Zimbabwe have settled in the Zambian Mkushi farming block.

There would have been a very healthy and competitive political spirit in the federation, judging by the good parliamentary democracy existing in both countries today.

The points above would have negated the hostility exhibited by big brother Britain and United States. In numbers we have strength and that is what the federation would have brought and can still bring. Vast natural resources exist in Zambia and Zimbabwe that would satisfy all the citizens without recourse to big brothers.

The spirit of unity in Sadc and to a greater extent the African Union that has been shown by men like Presidents Levy Mwanawasa, and Thabo Mbeki to stand by Zimbabwe internationally should any international power try to divide us by refusing to invite President Mugabe to the forthcoming EU-Africa summit, goes a long way in showing how as one common people, Zambians and Zimbabweans can form a perfect union that takes them out of the prevailing economic malaise.

President Mugabe and Zanu-PF, now remain the more serious and mature party politically in an envisaged federal government and thus, the onus remains on them to spearhead the formation of the federation as proposed by Dr Kaunda years ago.

The benefits would be immense and would render big brother's tactics against Zimbabwe impotent. A new regional power in the mould of South Africa would emerge and there is no telling the growth of opportunity in all areas that would benefit the people and Africa in particular.

Let us take up the challenge and form the Federation of Zambia and Zimbabwe now, posterity will hold us in high esteem!

Dr Allan S. Mulenga, is a Zambian and holder of a PhD in theology and social counselling. He is a political commentator who works for a Zambian health journal as a business development manager.

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