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My name is Eddie Cross and I am a white African with deep roots on the continent and was born and raised in Zimbabwe where I live and work today.
My great grandfather came out to southern Africa in 1867 as a Baptist missionary to the Eastern Cape. He played a significant role in the country of his adoption and founded several Baptist Churches in South Africa. My grandfather became a Magistrate and rose to become Chief Magistrate of the Republic of South Africa and at one stage played a key role in the Smuts administration that was defeated by the Nationalist Party in 1949, paving the way for the formal adoption of apartheid - an ideology that was to dominate South African politics until 1994.
My father left South Africa in the early 30's at the height of the depression and came to Bulawayo in Rhodesia where he became general manger of an oil company while playing a role in the development of the theatre in Rhodesia. He never left the country and died in his 80's in what became Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe.
I married Jeanette in 1963 and we have two children - Gary who is the Pastor at Northside Community Church in Harare and Susan, who is now married to Charlie Haley and they live and work in Harare. Gary is married to Sarah and they have 4 daughters while Sue has one son, Keith. All the grandchildren are in school in Harare.
We are all committed Christians and attend local Churches - Zimbabwe is a deeply Christian country and this has played an important role in the way we are resolving our problems as a country.
I started work in 1957 and took a Diploma in Agriculture in 1962 and a degree in Economics in 1968. I worked largely in Agriculture - first doing resettlement of people in the Gokwe/Zhombe districts and then as an economist with the Agricultural Marketing Authority, becoming Chief Economist in 1976.
As an economist I played a role in the transition in 1980 by assisting the two leading contenders for power (Zanu and Zapu) prepare for government and then subsequently in the preparation for the first, post Independence donors conference. I wrote the agriculture paper presented to that conference.
In 1979 I was appointed as Chief Executive of the Dairibord followed in 1983 by appointment as the CEO of the Cold Storage Commission, then the largest meat organisation in Africa. In 1987 I was made the Managing Director of the Beira Corridor Group and worked in the BCG until 1990. I then entered the private sector and have run my own group of companies ever since.
In 1999 I joined the Movement for Democratic Change and was made Secretary for Economics in 2000. I am now the Policy Coordinator General for the MDC and sit on the National Executive. In 2008 I stood for the Constituency of Bulawayo South and won the seat against several other candidates with a majority of 58 per cent. In 2013 I ran again for Parliament and doubled my majority, retaining the seat for another 5 year term. In Parliament I sit on both the Budget and Finance Committee and the Public Accounts Committee.
I believe that we as white Africans, with our difficult background and links, must earn the right to be recognised as Africans in every sense of the word and this means sharing in a deep commitment to the continent and its people. I apposed the policies of the former white minority governments in Zimbabwe and when it became apparent that the new regime under Mr. Mugabe was little better, decided to join the opposition to try and get the country onto a sustainable path to prosperity and peace.
Zimbabwe is a rich country made poor by a succession of bad governments and poor policies. Nothing has illustrated this more than the collapse of the economy since 2000. The problems of Africa cannot be resolved from the outside and by choosing to stay in the country of my birth and to try and play a small part in getting the right policies in place that will deliver a better quality of life to all Zimbabweans, I hope we are able to make a small contribution to the well being and future of all Africa.
Bulawayo, 1st December 2013