Zimbo leads ‘world’s youngest State’
A DECLARATION of a new State thousands of kilometres from Zimbabwe’s outlying rural area of Hurungwe into the Pacific Ocean may sound fictitious and strange.
But, alas, NewsDay Weekender reveals the existence of the new State.
Zimbabwean-born academic, professor Webiston Jokonya, on September 5 made history after declaring a new sovereign State at the heart of the world’s waters.
The new State is called United Republic of Delvin (URD) and has only 36 registered citizens so far.
URD was formed from what was known as Howland Island, located just north of the Equator in the Central Pacific Ocean, about 1 700 nautical miles southwest of Honolulu.
It is just 160 hectares big and also lies almost halfway between Hawaii and Australia.
It was unclaimed and uninhabited until 2023 when it was declared a country or sovereign State by Jokonya.
Jokonya (45) was born and raised in Hurungwe, under Chief Kazangarare, about 70km north of Karoi.
In his declaration speech, Jokonya, as the first Prime Minister of URD, said his dream had come to reality, adding that investors were welcome into the new nation.
“The URD welcomes all investors and as a new government we want to make diplomatic ties with the global world,” Jokonya said.
“We have one international seaport called Port Howland located on the South East Pole and one biggest city called Nashville city, where the international airport of Amelia International Airport is located.”.
URD is characterised by an equatorial climate with scant rainfall, constant wind and intense sunshine.
Its natural resources include guano (deposits worked until late 1800s), terrestrial and aquatic.
Guano is a naturally occurring substance primarily made from the excrement of wild bats and birds. It is commonly used as a fertiliser and is typically high in nitrogen, phosphate and potassium.
It can be found where colonies of seabirds dwell, such as islands near coasts and subtropical latitudes where there is little rain, or in caves.
However, the island has no fresh water resource and the new State is set to work on innovation for the precious liquid, Jokonya said.
The island was established as a National Wildlife Refuge in 1974.
“It is good for investors to come as we want to build a new nation together,” said Jokonya, who boasts various academic achievements.
Jokonya was born on November 9, 1978 at Kazangarare Clinic in Manyati Village, Hurungwe in Mashonaland West province.
He enrolled at local schools under Chief Kazangarare from 1986 to 1994 until completing his O level studies.
In 2001, he moved from rural Kazangarare to Karoi seeking employment and worked at several companies up to 2004.
He ventured into commercial courses like bookkeeping, electronics, computer application, computer repairs and many more.
He then formed his company as a computer technician at Karoi Outdoor Living Center, popularly known as Tsotsi Complex in November 2010.
As an academic, Jokonya holds a PhD in Information Technology (GEPEA University, Portugal), PhD in Physical Education (World University of Sports, Iran) PhD in Mass Communication (Anjad University, Pakistan) and Doctor of Business Administration.
He is a visiting professor at different universities globally.
It was during one of his academic research tours that he came across the uninhabited territory.
He recalled how it all began during the peak period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I started carrying research on how a country can be created or how to start a country in order to try to rescue my family tree from COVID-19,” he recalled.
“I discovered that a country can be started even by two people, who are permanent residents or permanent citizens in an unclaimed land, for example an island.
“So from there, I started carrying out research while looking for unclaimed islands in the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean, where I came across this island that I later called Delvin.
“Delvin is the name of my last born, who was born during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
“So from there, I started planning strategies on how to start to develop that island as a family territory or a small country since it was unclaimed and uninhabited until in September when I declared it a sovereign state and renaming it as the URD.”
According to the Montevideo Convention (1933), a State must possess a permanent population, a defined territory, a government, and the capacity to conduct international relations.
As congratulatory messages trickle in for the new State, Jokonya is hopeful that the economy of his country will soon tick and make it a darling for all globally.
Although Rome was not built in one day, Jokonya’s dream could come true as he moves into the island in January to lead a State, which the United States also claims to be in its territory.
“We are running around in order to acquire a passenger ferry ship and at least one cargo ship to start moving some of the materials for road construction and erections of housing cottages,” he said.
“Some investors are interested in the project.”
The first registered 36 residents in URD are drawn from different countries, mainly Asia and Europe. URD has since been listed as a micro-nation