A top official of the African National Congress of South Africa has got ZANU PF on its toes after she declared that there is indeed a crisis in Zimbabwe.
Social development minister Lindiwe Zulu, who also heads the ANC NEC’s international relations subcommittee told this to South African news agents on arrival back home from a fact finding mission in Zimbabwe last week.
Publicly Zulu – who as a diplomat led South Africa’s intervention to try to ensure free and fair elections in Zimbabwe in 2013 – has also been the most outspoken member of the government and ANC about Zimbabwe.
In the run up to the 2013 elections in Zimbabwe, Zulu got former President Robert Mugabe nearly pulling the country out of SADC after she called for postponement of the elections claiming ZANU PF was not presenting a level playing field for the elections.
Mugabe burst out describing Zulu as a “stupid idiotic woman” and a “little streetwalker.” He also warned that Zimbabwe was in SADC voluntarily and if it did “stupid things” it could move out.
Zulu who was part of the ANC delegation that met Zanu PF officials on Wednesday, in a no-holds barred indaba between the two former liberation war movements, continued to claim that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe and the South African ruling party would return to meet the opposition in the country.
Zulu’s stance comes flies in the face of the head of the ANC delegation Ace Magashule’s utterances to the effect that there was no crisis in the country and that as a sovereign State, Zimbabwe had the capacity to tackle its challenges, that were a common feature across the continent.
Magashule said: “Maybe we use the word ‘crisis’ but I think we agreed there are challenges facing the entire globe, the continent and our respective countries. And therefore when there are challenges in South Africa and Zimbabwe, as liberation movements, such challenges must be addressed for as long as they affect our people. And that’s why we are here.”
Responding to questions from journalists at a Press conference on Friday, ZANU PF secretary for External Affairs, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi dismissed zulu’s sentiments on the crisis and need for the ANC delegation to return to Zimbabwe to meet opposition parties. Mbengegwi said fraternal parties could only help each other on invitation.
“Friendly and sisterly organisations only come to the help of each other on invitation. We help each other on invitation, we enjoy sovereign equality, both as political parties as well as nations, therefore, no party, especially a sister party can employ this on another sister party.
“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.
He said the meeting, which lasted for more than six hours focused on the challenges bedevilling the region and how they can best be resolved and pooh-poohed notions of a crisis that have been concocted by G40 fugitives residing in South Africa.
“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, where there is no crisis and where there is no conflict and more importantly, where there is no consent of the parties involved,” said Mumbengegwi.
During the Wednesday meeting, the two heads of the delegation, Zanu PF Secretary for Administration Obert Mpofu and ANC secretary-general Magashule made it clear from the onset that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe.
“I know why you are asking, my counterpart (Lindiwe Zulu), on landing in South Africa held a media briefing where she riveted back to the original position that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe and therefore they needed to come back to Zimbabwe to resolve that crisis, but surely how can you unilaterally reverse a common position that the two delegations agreed on. I want to assure you that it is not normal for a former liberation party to impose itself on another and therefore we only hope that the views expressed were individual views and we would be very surprised if there are the common position of the ANC,” said Mumbengegwi.
With some within the ANC still playing to the gallery, Patrick Chinamasa said the ruling party will get in touch with the South African ruling party to establish whether its leadership shares the same sentiments.
“That is outside the agreement that we reached in the meeting on Wednesday. I have not followed what they said when they arrived in South Africa. But what I can categorically say is the meeting was very frank and candid. We agreed that Zimbabwe and South Africa are equal sovereign States and that on the basis of being sovereign States, there is no need for interventionist approach. There is no way an ANC delegation will come to Zimbabwe to interfere in our domestic affairs”.
Chinamasa said the brutal meeting between the two former liberation war movements started with the two parties clearing misconceptions of a crisis in Zimbabwe.
He said the two parties agreed that Zimbabwe, just like the rest of the region, is grappling with the effects of draughts and natural disasters such as Cyclone Idai as well as the added albatross rock of illegal economic sanctions that were imposed by western nations.
Chinamasa said the two parties, that agreed to meet regularly and also to disregard social media attempts to set the agenda, will meet regularly to ensure that detractors are kept at bay.
“The two revolutionary sister parties were able to find each other during that meeting. We re-discovered each other and I think we got our bearing correct. As we go into the future, I think we have set our compass in the right direction. First we agreed that Zimbabwe and South Africa are equal sovereign States. Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa that we agreed very clearly.
“In the contest of international relations, South Africa is not a big brother to Zimbabwe. It has no overseer role to play in Zimbabwe or in the region. It has no mediatory role to play in South Africa, in Zimbabwe or in other countries and not being a province of South Africa, it follows that there is no interventionist approach to the way that South Africa would relay to us.
“The challenges that the region is facing do not need any outside interference, what Zimbabwe needs is access to capital, which because of sanctions we are unable to have, Zimbabwe has only one option, to lift itself up by way, which we have been doing for the past 20 years,” he said.
Additional reporting State Media