Opportunist uses unity with Zimbabwe land struggle to hustle Africans

In September 2007, the African People’s Socialist Party (APSP) formed the All African People’s Development and Empowerment Project (AAPDEP) as an organization that would have the responsibility of winning masses of African doctors, nurses, engineers, farmers and other skilled Africans to use their expertise, resources and energy as part of the movement to liberate and unite Africa and African people everywhere.

Since that time, AAPDEP has initiated and completed several important development projects in Africa and North America. AAPDEP launched its first projects in resource-rich Sierra Leone, where most Africans are forced to live on less than US$1 a day, have an average life expectancy of 39 years, and three out of five women die in childbirth.

As part of an effort to increase community access to clean water and combat water-borne diseases, a major killer in all of Africa, AAPDEP built three rainwater harvesting systems in a small subsistence farming community in Lungi, Sierra Leone. The three systems provide 3,000 liters of clean drinking water every day during the rainy season.

In the country’s capital, Freetown, AAPDEP has begun training community health workers in the identification, prevention and treatment of waterborne diseases, teaching among other things how to prepare and administer life-saving oral rehydration therapy.

In November of this year, AAPDEP will be launching a community fishing project also in the Freetown, and we have plans to begin a farming and healthcare project that will address the infant and maternal mortality rates in the country.

In North America, we have kicked off the African Village Survival Initiative (AVSI), initiating community gardens, building rainwater harvesting systems and offering training in renewable energy and other areas as an effort to address the impact of the economic crisis in the African community.

AAPDEP makes agreement to participate with project in Zimbabwe

In early 2008, AAPDEP entered into an agreement with Comrade Kwanisai Mafa, Director of the Ujamma Youth Farming Project (UYFP) in Gweru, Zimbabwe, to build a borehole for farm irrigation at UYFP. At that time, we told Comrade Mafa that because we are a grassroots organization with no grants or government funding, it would likely take some time to raise the several thousands of dollars needed to complete the project.

After much hard work, funds were raised for one of our members based in South Africa  a brother who is an engineer  to travel to Zimbabwe to asses whether or not we would be able to build the borehole ourselves or if we would need to raise the money for a contractor based in Zimbabwe to take on the work. We determined based on the comrade’s recommendation that we would need to hire a contractor.

In April of this year, we sent Bro. Kwanisai a total of $6,500 to pay the contractor for the project, which was supposed to be the total amount needed for the entire project. After sending him an initial $1500 for a geophysical survey that we were told was needed before drilling could happen, we were approached by a brother from Canada who knew we were involved with UYFP and told us that he, too, had given Kwanisai Mafa and UYFP $1000 for the same geophysical survey we had already paid for.

When we approached Kwanisai about it, he assured us that he was not receiving money for the borehole from any other individuals or organizations and that the brother was attempting to disrupt our relationship and sabotage the work.

Based on the assurances we got from Comrade Kwanisai, we decided to move forward with the project, despite the concerns, and sent him an additional $5,000 to “complete” the project.

After sending the money, Kwanisai told us that drilling could not happen right away, despite the fact that he indicated before sending the money that it could.

The almost weekly contact I had with him all but ended, and he only recently resurfaced with pictures that seemed to show a borehole being sunk and requesting more funds for a pump that he said was still needed to complete the irrigation system.

About two days after receiving the pictures and request for more funds from Comrade Kwanisai, I was forwarded an email from another brother with the same pictures I had received, indicating that his organization had also sponsored the very same borehole.

At that point, there was too much evidence to ignore the fact that Comrade Kwanisai had certainly breeched the terms of our agreement by continuing to solicit and accept resources from others for the very same project we had already funded under the pretext that it would be an AAPDEP/UYFP project.

On August 4, 2009, we notified Kwanisai Mafa of AAPDEP’s decision to terminate our relationship with him and the UYFP.

We have also been in communication with the other organization that sent funds to UYFP for this same project to inform them of this contradiction and so that they are able to make informed decisions in their dealings with Kwanisai Mafa and UYFP.

It is becoming increasingly clear to us from email correspondences from Africans in Germany and other places within the U.S., that Kwanisai Mafa has been using the fact that Africans around the world want to unite with our brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe around the land question to “hustle” resources from African organizations and individuals from throughout North America and Europe.

Individual opportunism cannot stop the unification and liberation of Africa!

AAPDEP would like to thank our supporters and donors for your contributions toward all of our many successful projects. We would like to give a special salute to those who answered the call and contributed in one way or another to AAPDEP’s effort to raise the money for this borehole project.

While we are all disappointed by Kwanisai Mafa’s apparent opportunism, we must not and will not allow his actions to frustrate our efforts to continue to develop projects that unite and empower African people everywhere as part of our struggle for the freedom and development of Africa and African People!

One Africa! One Nation!

Aisha Fields, Ph.D.

President, AAPDEP


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