ANC bullish on Zim crisis

SOUTH Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) said yesterday that it was hopeful that it could help end Zimbabwe’s decades-long political and economic crises, the Daily News reports.

In addition, the ANC heaped praise on Zanu PF for allowing it to meet with the opposition and civil society groups in future — a decision which it described as “constructive”.
This comes as there are growing calls for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to hold much-needed national dialogue with all key stakeholders to resolve the country’s myriad challenges.
In an update following last week’s visit to Harare by ANC bigwigs, the South African ruling party said it welcomed Zanu PF’s decision to let them meet the country’s opposition and other interest groups, as part of efforts to find solutions to Zimbabwe’s crises.
“As such we remain committed to extending the space for political dialogue with a view of advancing the social, political and economic interests of the people of Zimbabwe and South Africa, in the context of advancing African unity, and the continuing quest for political and economic emancipation.
“The ANC, therefore, warmly welcomes the constructive approach of Zanu PF with regards to the ANC meeting with other stakeholders, opposition parties and civil society organisations in Zimbabwe.
“In this regard, it was agreed that the ANC will, in the foreseeable future, return to Zimbabwe in order to proceed with these envisaged meetings,” ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said.
“The ANC furthermore welcomes the joint commitment between the ANC and Zanu PF to upholding human rights in the context of what we fought for during the struggle against apartheid and colonialism.
“Our joint engagement on and commitment to the advancement and protection of human rights always remains paramount in the context of acknowledging and upholding respective countries as sovereign, which cannot be dictated to.
“We do so while respecting freedom of association, freedom of speech and all basic universal freedoms.
“The ANC agrees that the driving force of our engagements to address the challenges we are faced with must always be the advancement of the well-being of our people who continue to be marginalised, jobless and poor, as a consequence of the legacy of colonialism and the continuing impact of neo-colonialism and imperialism,” Magashule added.
“We hope and trust the positive results of our consultation will go a long way in ensuring regional stability and growth in the two countries,” he said further.
The ANC statement appeared to brush aside the sharp differences which appear to have emerged in Zanu PF over the push to help end Zimbabwe’s worsening crises.
On Friday, Zanu PF’s secretary for external affairs, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi — who is also a former Cabinet minister — pooh-poohed the ANC’s mediation efforts, adding that it had no mandate to meet the opposition and civil society organisations.
However, the party’s secretary for administration Obert Mpofu told the Daily News on Sunday at the weekend that the former liberation movement was happy for the ANC to meet with the opposition in future, as this was in line with their principles post the 2017 military coup which ousted the late former president Robert Mugabe from power.
But Mumbengegwi told the media that there was no need for the ANC to act as a mediator, because there was “no crisis” in the country.
“The question of a sister party coming to the country of another sister party to establish bilateral relations with the opposition party is unheard of (as) that can only happen in the context of mediation, and mediation can only occur
with the consent of the conflicting parties.
“But where there is no crisis, there is no real need for mediation and, therefore, no purpose will be served by trying to play a mediatory role.
“It is common knowledge that some individuals in our sister party the ANC had been made to believe that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe.
“We are not sure how they became convinced with that. But some of them came here with that notion. However, in our meeting, the notion of a crisis in Zimbabwe was quickly dismissed,” Mumbengegwi said on Friday.
On his part, Mpofu — who Zanu PF insiders said was projecting the “correct party line” with regards to the ANC meeting the opposition — told the Daily News on Sunday that the ruling party was happy to engage with its rivals.
“Thank you for allowing me … to discuss the Zimbabwean question, whose major pivot of contestations of power has been both positively and maliciously fore-grounded, either in the interest of promoting genuine national development, or an artificial political crisis narrative.
“To this end, and in pursuit of our widened democratic space, courtesy of the values of the Second Republic, we welcome the proposal by the ANC to engage with other actors within the equation matrix of the said ‘Zimbabwean crises’.
“You will recall that in 2008 we enabled dialogue to take place between ourselves and the opposition,” Mpofu said.
 “From the very foundation of the second republic under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, we created a far-reaching policy position for sustainable political dialogue through the August 1 violence commission of inquiry.
“This was a ground-breaking precedent to the future of political dialogue in our country.
“Therefore, beyond the ANC’s proposal to engage opposition parties and some civil society organisations working in the service of the regime change agenda is a continuity to the principle of engagement and re-engagement which we have been able to domesticate as part of the post-November 2017 transitional political culture,” Mpofu said further.
ANC bigwigs visited Harare last week, with the two former liberation movements said to have been very candid and robust with each other in their heart-to-heart dialogue, which was held at the Zanu PF headquarters in Harare.
Briefing the media, Magashule said the meeting with their Zanu PF counterparts had progressed well as both parties were “frank with each other”.
South Africa and its leaders — including former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma — have in the past successfully mediated Zimbabwe’s political crises.

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