THE South African ruling African National Congress (ANC) party yesterday defiantly told Zanu PF that its delegation would soon go back to Harare to meet other stakeholders as part of efforts to initiate dialogue to resolve Zimbabwe’s crippling political and economic crises’.
The Southern African nation faces its worst political and economic crises in a decade, amid increasing criticism of President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government, which is accused of persecuting the opposition and perceived political opponents using theCOVID-19 lockdown regulations as an excuse for the crackdown.
Mnangagwa rose to power in a military coup in November 2017 to replace his mentor and long-time ruler Robert Mugabe. Critics however say he has failed to keep his promise to break with Mugabe’s authoritarian style of rule.
The ruling Zanu PF party vehemently denies that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe, a position religiously stood by in it’s meeting with the ANC delegation.
But ANC, the oldest liberation movement on the continet, insists that its northern neighbour is in a “mess”, a situation which required timely intervention.
Zanu PF refused to grant the Ace Magashule led ANC delegation permission to meet other stakeholders who include the main opposition MDC Alliance as well as Civic groups and alleged victims of the Harare regime’s brutality. An earlier South African delegation led by Sydney Mufamadi was also denied permission to meet with the opposition when it met President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In a statement yesterday, the ANC said it was “excited” about Zanu PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu’s position on the possibility of the ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule-led delegation to meet other stakeholders, including the MDC Alliance, Transform Zimbabwe and United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Brian Nichols, among others.
The named organisations requested to meet the ANC delegation last week, but Zanu PF remained adamant that such would not take place, accusing the ANC of playing “big brother”.
“The ANC welcomes and concurs with the comments made by the Zanu PF secretary for administration Cde Obert Mpofu that the recent engagement between ANC and Zanu PF was both frank and constructive,” Magashule said in a statement.
He reiterated the need for Zanu PF to respect human rights and end the challenges faced by the citizens.
“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,” Magashule said.
“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.”
Zanu PF also denied there was a crisis in Zimbabwe and accused the opposition of working in cahoots with the US and more than 4 000 non-governmental organisations in the country to porttray a “non-existent crisis”.
Magashule described his delegation’s mission as successful.