Renowned Pan-Africanist, academic and author Professor Arthur Mutambara is coming to eSwatini for a discussion on how the youth view the anticipated dialogue in the country.

The Former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe is expected to deliver a keynote speech during a Swazi Youth Consultative Conference on the proposed SADC facilitated dialogue and youth participation in decision-making processes in eSwatini to be held on Thursday, 12 May 2022.

The event is convened by the Swaziland Youth Empowerment Organization (Luvatsi) from the 11th till 13th of May 2022 at Esibayeni Lodge in Matsapha.

Mutambara was one of the three Principals who created and led the Government of National Unity (GNU) from 2009 to 2013 in Zimbabwe. The other two were Prime Minister Tsvangirai and President Mugabe. This, according to the conference convener, will help Swazi youth as they seek his advice, wisdom and experiences in convening dialogues and negotiations to unlock a political crisis. 

“We chose Professor Mutambara because he was key in resolving the political crisis in Zimbabwe and played a huge role in ushering that country into a Government of National Unity and creating a new constitution in Zimbabwe that was adopted in 2013. He is quite knowledgeable about the region and African politics in general,” said Maxwell Dlamini who is part of the conference’s coordination team.

Professor Mutambara will make an input on the topic: The Politics of Transitions in Africa; Contemporary Study of Democratic Transitions in Africa – Lessons, Experiences, Challenges and Opportunities for the Kingdom of Eswatini on the verge of the Proposed SADC Facilitated Dialogue. Among other things, he will give a brief highlight of democratic transitions in Africa and how they have happened; lessons and experiences for eSwatini from these democratic transitions; challenges and opportunities in eSwatini for democratic transitions while maintaining its rich cultural traditions; the role of SADC/AU (as an independent facilitator/mediator) in making sure that genuine and credible dialogue takes place in eSwatini to resolve the political crisis engulfing the country, as well as the possible scenarios/route for democratic transition for eSwatini.

The youth consultative forum is expected to provide an opportunity for Swazi youth to hold conversations, dialogues and engagement to have a unified approach towards the proposed dialogue and enhance effective youth participation in decision-making processes. The Bridge has gathered that the initiative is intended to provide a platform for youth leaders across eSwatini to raise their voices and meaningfully participate in discussions about a range of governance issues affecting youth development in the country. 

The EU, US, UK and South African Diplomats in eSwatini have also been invited and are expected to participate in a panel discussion during the conference. The high-level consultative conference will also feature Bening Ahmed, Secretary-General of the Pan African Youth Union.

Bening Ahmed, Secretary-General of the Pan African Youth Union.

“The essence of the conference is to convene Swazi youth from all sectors to have a conversation on the various socio-economic challenges facing young people and the political crisis facing the country. We seek to come up with a unified youth approach to resolve this crisis, as well as a clear youth perspective on the proposed SADC facilitated dialogue. At the end of the day, we should have a road map and program to ensure that a credible and inclusive dialogue takes place in the country to usher in a democratic dispensation,” Dlamini continued.

About Professor Arthur Mutambara:

Professor Arthur Mutambara is the Executive Director and Full Professor of the Institute for the Future of Knowledge (IFK) at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in South Africa. He is a world-renowned roboticist, academic, author, Pan-Africanist, and technology strategist. Professor Mutambara is also the Director of IFK’s Decentralised Artificial Intelligence and Control Systems (DAICS) Research Group and drives the African Agency in Public Health (AAPH) initiative within the Future of Health (FoH) Research Group. He is the Former Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. Mutambara was one of the three Principals who created and led the Government of National Unity (GNU) from 2009 to 2013. The other two were Prime Minister Tsvangirai and President Mugabe.

He is the author of a new trilogy (three books): In Search of the Elusive Zimbabwean Dream: An Autobiography of Thought Leadership. Mutambara has also published two Electrical Engineering books used extensively in the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has worked as a Research Scientist at NASA, a Visiting Professor at MIT, and a Managing Consultant with McKinsey & Company, all in the United States. At UJ, Mutambara has taught Control Systems in both the Mechanical Engineering and Electrical & Electronic Engineering Departments, where he has received outstanding reviews from both students and peers. He has conducted Engineering seminars and public lectures across the continent and globally.

Prof Mutambara is a Chartered Engineer, a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET), a Professional Engineer, a Fellow of the Zimbabwe Institute of Engineers (ZIE), a Fellow of the Zimbabwe Academy of Sciences (ZAS), a Senior Member of IEEE and a WEF Young Global Leader. Professor Mutambara holds a PhD in Robotics and Mechatronics (1995) and an MSc in Computer Engineering (1992), both from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He graduated with a BSc (Hons) in Electrical Engineering (1990) from the University of Zimbabwe.