SENIOR STAFF WRITER
ZANU PF yesterday risked creating an unexpected diplomatic tiff between Harare and Pretoria after it accused South Africa — the regional power and Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner — of being under the control of white men, the Daily News reports.
This comes a few days after Zanu PF and South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) held talks which were variously described as frank, candid and robust — in the light of Zimbabwe’s decades-long political and economic crises.
It also comes as President Cyril Ramaphosa is trying to assist Zimbabwe to end these long-standing crises, which recently hit international headlines after authorities were accused of gross human rights violations by government critics.
In yesterday’s surprise development, Zanu PF acting spokesperson Patrick Chinamasa, pictured, lashed out at South Africa and the ANC during his weekly media briefing at the party’s headquarters in Harare.
“We know that the SA government is controlled by white men. We agreed to never have communication through social media or media houses.
“That is why we shall be meeting regularly as sister revolutionary parties. Both parties are victims of fake news and social media.
“They (fake news and social media) should never define our relationship or set our agenda,” Chinamasa said in the apparent wake of media interviews that were granted by ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule when his delegation returned to South Africa after their recent visit to Zimbabwe.
“There is no crisis in Zim or SA or Africa, but only challenges. We have challenges of Cyclone Idai and Covid-19,” Chinamasa added.
He also said that Wednesday’s meeting with the ANC had agreed that “we are equal sovereign states” and that
“South Africa has no over-seeing or mediatory role to play” since “Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa”.
This was in apparent response to what many had interpreted as “a slip of the tongue” by Magashule who inadvertently referred to Zimbabwe as a province of South Africa.
Addressing the media after their arrival back in South Africa, Magashule said the ANC was determined to “bring the Zimbabwean people together”.
“In terms of meeting with other stakeholders and other political parties, because of time, we agreed that we will go back or they will come to us.
“Give us two to three weeks because we have communicated to them that we are definitely going to meet them.
“We have communicated such an interaction with all of them and we have informed Zanu PF and they have no problem with that,” Magashule said then.
He also said the meeting with Zanu PF was “a very candid, frank and honest discussion”.
“They have not blocked us from seeing anyone. We have agreed that we will go back and arrange for the meeting.
“The meeting is not arranged by Zanu PF. So, we are going to bring together the people of Zimbabwe, recognising they came from a recent election and we need peace and stability in that province,” Magashule said further, in remarks which now appear to have angered Zanu PF.
The ANC bigwigs were in Harare this week for bilateral talks with Zanu PF who also allowed them to meet with local opposition groups and other key stakeholders in future.
The meeting came as the calls for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to hold national talks with all key local stakeholders have now reached a crescendo — in the wake of Zimbabwe’s deepening political and economic crises.
South Africa and its leaders — including former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma — have in the past successfully mediated Zimbabwe’s political crises.
A decade ago, both Mbeki and Zuma helped to broker the stability-inducing 2008 government of national unity between opposition giant Morgan Tsvangirai and former president Robert Mugabe — who are both late — following the hotly disputed 2008 presidential election.
Zuma also assisted in minimising Zimbabwe’s chaotic approach to the equally disputed 2013 national elections.