La Via Campesina Southern and Eastern Africa Solidarity Statement with MVIWATA

MVIWATA organised a big rally in Morogoro on Friday 23rd June to support the Tanzanian government’s efforts to bring transnational corporations to account. LVC General Coordinator, Elizabeth Mpofu delivered this speech/statement on behalf of LVC Southern and Eastern Africa (SEA)

La Via Campesina is the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world, including 17 African nations. It defends small-scale sustainable peasant agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity based on food sovereignty.

For too many years, we have witnessed with deep pain the systematic plunder and destruction of our precious natural resources and the oppression of our people. We know that our African elites in the public and private sectors have been for many years colluding in corruption with the evil transnational corporations which today represent the new face of imperialist neo-colonialism. We are appalled by this and demand an immediate end to immoral and irresponsible behaviour of many of our leaders.

We would like to express our support to courageous efforts of our African leaders who are dedicated to protecting the interests of masses of the African poor by defending the sovereignty of its nations for the benefit of its people and nature. The initial efforts of the Tanzanian leadership to bring transnational corporations to account with initiatives such as the presidential commissions of inquiry on mining activities and policy frameworks is welcome and commendable. We express our support to you and strongly encourage you to expand this initiative to all sectors of our economy and society, starting with agrarian sector, which is the main source of livelihood and identity of the majority of our people. May this first step serve as a much needed shining beacon of how governments should protect its national interests.

We, peasants of the world articulated in La Via Campesina, stand in solidarity with the Tanzanian people in these challenging times. We call on all African governments, to continue supporting the advance toward the adoption of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas. We encourage the African leaders and in particular the president of Tanzania to support peasant family farming, as the family is the basic unit of all social structures, and the key cornerstone to guarantee food sovereignty in Africa and the world.