My heart bleeds, as does that of all caring people, for the treatment of NRZ employees. But Tendai Ruben Mbofana is absolutely right when he says they will not escape the situation they are in unless they themselves take responsibility to get themselves out from under the yoke of repression. He uses strong and very direct words to support his argument, but he is absolutely right to do so because unless and until African workers get the message, nothing will change for them. There is an added reason for saying this. When you study the history of what are now the developed nations, you will find certain preconditions had to be in place before their citizens could go from poverty to affluence. But the crucial factor, and far and away the most important one, was that a critical mass of the nation’s own citizens had to be mobilsed into concerted action. In almost no case was it their government that instigated and led the move to take its citizens out of poverty and into affluence. There were exceptions, but only in special circumstances which do not apply in any African nation, and certainly not in Zimbabwe. To put it another way, the citizens of NO country have gone from poverty to affluence until a critical mass of its own citizens rose up and forced its government to do what was needed. Yet this has been ignored by every African or Western campaign organisation, every official aid agency (the World Bank, the IMF, the UN) and every NGO. In fact, EVERY solution to African poverty has relied on the official aid agencies and/or African governments to take action, despite half a century of history since the end of colonialism proving conclusively that this is simply a waste of time. Zimbabwe is just one of 54 African nations that in real terms are making little or no effort to get their citizens out of poverty. There is just one exception. Only one organisation has made the mobilisation of the citizenry an essential part of its strategy to take the majority of African citizens from poverty to affluence, and believe it or not, it is the AU, much vilified by many Africans (and probably rightly so). Yet its Agenda 2063 and accompanying First Ten-Year Implementation Plan 2014-2023 is the one plan – African or Western – that actually will work. First of all, its aim is not to eradicate poverty, its aim is to fulfil what virtually all Africans want, which is that African citizens “will be amongst the best performers in global quality of life measures” – in other words, they will have lifestyles fully up to Western standards. BUT IT MAKES IT CLEAR THIS WILL NOT HAPPEN UNLESS AFRICAN CITIZENS THEMSELVES GIVE AGENDA 2063 THEIR FULL BACKING. In fact, it is positively screaming out for African citizens to get involved in pushing it through to success: “The determination, participation……and solidarity of Africa’s peoples……are PRECONDITIONS FOR SUCCESS” “THE CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS ARE……ensuring participation……of citizens” “A CALL TO ACTION TO ALL AFRICANS……to take personal responsibility for the destiny of the continent and as the primary agents of change and transformation” Could Agenda 2063 be any clearer? So the AU has learnt from history and is asking all Africans to do the same. NRZ employees should know that their government (in common with every other African government) is a signatory to Agenda 2063, part of which is that all citizens should tell “all private candidates and political parties to use Agenda 2063 as the basis for developing their manifestos”. The converse being that, if any does not do that, no citizen should support them. So if NRZ employees insist on fair treatment as specified in Agenda 2063, they are only asking their government to implement and abide by a document it has signed up to. However, it is also in the interests of all supporters of the present government to insist that it implements Agenda 2063 to the best of its ability, not only because it has already agreed to do that, but because the whole point of Agenda 2063 is to focus all African governments and African citizens on getting themselves out of poverty and into affluence as rapidly as possible, and it has a very detailed plan for doing so. Many people throughout the world want to see Africans enjoying Western-quality lifestyles, but no one can do anything unless African citizens themselves take the lead. Tendai Ruben Mbofana is absolutely right.