Growing Authoritarianism Prompts South African Delegation Visit To Zimbabwe
15 September 2020

By Prince Njagu- A delegation from South Africa’s, African National Congress (ANC) visited Zimbabwe on a fact-finding mission and try to map a way forward in mediating dialogue and mend relations between the two main opposition political parties, MDC-A and ZANU PF.


The MDC-A has for years, raised concerns over the authoritarian rule of ZANU PF in the country; even way before Emmerson Mnangagwa was voted into office eight months later in 2018 after the dethroning of his predecessor Robert Mugabe in a military led coup d’état.


The situation has now intensified as the number of abductions, torture and human right abuse cases have astoundingly increased this year.


The ANC delegation, led by their secretary general, Ace Magashule, said the problems in Zimbabwe were just but “challenges “and not a “crisis”.


According to many Magashule is downplaying the situation in the country; similarly, to what happened in 2008 when Thambo Mbeki mediated dialogues in the same country.


Magashule sentiments contradict what SACP’s first deputy secretary Solly Mapaila said, as he was hitting hard on the current state of governance in Zimbabwe.


During a virtual media briefing in a post central committee meeting, Mapaila raised concerns on the “growing authoritarianism” in Zimbabwe.


“There is growing authoritarianism in Zimbabwe, which we reject with the contempt it deserves,” said Mapaila.


The intervention by ANC in Zimbabwean politics has received mixed feelings, but is still a welcomed gesture; but the question still goes down to if it will yield any positive results?


In 2008 when Thambo Mbeki was still president of South Africa, he made a historical visit to Zimbabwe and set down with the major political players. Dialogue was conducted between the late Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, with promises being made, but no fruitful results yielding.


The visit from South Africa’s ANC is a welcomed gesture, but more needs to be done in order to reduce the friction between the main opposition, MDC Alliance and ZANU PF.


Concerns have been raised as an announcement that Thokozani Khupe will be sworn in as the leader of the main opposition by Emmerson Mnagagwa was made. This further intensifies the rift within the country, as Khupe contested against the political party which she now is leading following a questionable court ruling which made her president.


MDC-A have questioned the logic behind, the endorsement of Khupe as the president of a political party that she contested against in the 2018 elections and this issue has sparked debate over the fairness in the Zimbabwe legal system.


Recognition of Khupe as the leader of the main opposition is clear confirmation that the court ruling which made her the leader of MDC was just but a ZANU PF project which was meant to destabilise the MDC-A.


MDC Alliance Members of Parliament and councillors who are not aligned to Khupe are being recalled from office, further escalating the bad relations between the two main political parties in the country.


An ANC intervention will do little, if not nothing in as far as rebuilding the political spectrum in Zimbabwe.


The MDC Alliance has been contesting the outcome of the 2018 presidential elections, and they have always pointed out to the so many irregularities within the electoral system in the country. A fact finding mission from ANC is welcome, but more needs to be done to address the crisis in Zimbabwe.