Mocumbi wants an apology but not compensation for slavery

Maputo- Mozambique (PANA) -- Mozambique wanted the developed world to apologise for the evils of slavery and colonialism, but was not pushing for reparations for the years of the slave trade and of colonial rule.
Ahead of the Durban conference on racism, Mozambican Prime Minister Pascoal Mocumbi said that rather than seeking financial compensation for the wrongs of slavery and colonialism, Mozambique should strive to persuade the "descendants of the perpetrators" of such practices to issue a public and moral apology for the evils of the past.
Mocumbi was speaking on Friday during a preparatory meeting for the UN-sponsored conference which is scheduled to open on 31 August.
"It's important to acknowledge past wrongs", he said.
"It should become clear that this is a moral case, and the perpetrators or their descendants should acknowledge that both slavery and colonialism are evil deeds".
Mocumbi thus politely but firmly demarcated Mozambique from those countries who are calling for the West to make financial reparations to Africa for slavery and colonisation.
The Prime Minister also argued that Mozambique should grab the opportunity of the Durban conference to resume its internal combat so that racism within the country is eliminated.
"We should take advantage of this opportunity to carry out the building of National Unity", he declared.
Fortunately, in Mozambique racism was not institutionalised, said Mocumbi.
Nonetheless, the government was not being complacent and has submitted a bill to parliament seeking to outlaw racism.
Foreign Minister Leonardo Simao told the meeting "our position is not to fight in favour of reparations.
We should fight to receive aid packages".
Apparently, some western countries have promised development programmes to African countries if they submit concrete proposals for development instead of demands for reparations.
Simao clearly thought that the call for reparations was a waste of breath.
He argued that Mozambique should instead fight for increased aid, more foreign direct investment and the complete cancellation of its foreign debt.
These, he said, were the components that would help the country achieve accelerated development.
"We think it would be counterproductive to hanker on the past instead of taking advantage of the development programmes", he stressed.

24 august 2001 23:27:00

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