By Wilbert Mukori: Only three or so SADC heads of State and Government out of a possible 15 attended Mnangagwa’s inauguration. There were heads of State and Government from the rest of Africa or further afield. For one very good reason – it is widely accepted that Zimbabwe’s 23 August 2023 elections were flawed and illegal, so much so the process could not produce a legitimate winner.
There is nothing new in Zimbabwe’s elections being condemned, one would argue. The EU, Americans, Commonwealth and most other western election observers condemned Zimbabwe’s 2018 elections, for example. Well these 2023 elections were different in that Zimbabwe’s regional and continental bodies, SADC and AU, known for rubber stamping Zanu PF’s rigged elections in the past; led from the front in condemning the 23 August 2023 elections.
A select group of SADC Panel of Elders were invited to come to Zimbabwe last week to meet with the SADC Election Observer Mission (SEOM), minus the mission’s head, Dr Nevers Mumba from Zambia. The purpose of the Elders was to sweet talk SEOM into watering down their damning report so the process can produce a legitimate result.
After a week of quiet diplomacy the SADC Panel of Elders left Zimbabwe without saying anything. SEOM’s damning report stood!
So proclamation of Emmerson Mnangagwa as President of Zimbabwe was null and void since the 23 August 2023 election process was declared so flawed and illegal it could not produce a legitimate result. The 4 September swearing in ceremony was illegal and in defiance of SADC and AU’s pronouncement on the matter.
Whilst many SADC, AU and other nations shied away from the Mnangagwa swearing in ceremony the one country that did not shy away was SA. President Cyril Ramaphosa, ANC Secretary General Fikile Mbalula and many other ANC government/party officials were there. When the history of the last few months is final known and written it will be no surprise to know that ANC played a major role in trying to get the SEOM report censured to secure Zanu PF legitimacy.
SA’s ANC led government has emerged as Zanu PF regime’s staunchest supporters, particularly in the last two or three years. Last year in November the party resolved that it would not allow regime change in Zimbabwe, an outrageous resolution since this is ordinarily the exclusive right of the Zimbabwe electorate in a free, fair and credible elections.
Of course, President Ramaphosa and his ANC colleagues were aware that with not even one token democratic reform implemented since the rigged 2018 elections it was certain Zanu PF would once again rig the 2023 elections. The message from ANC to Zanu was clear enough, “You go ahead and rig the 2023 elections and we will see to it that Zanu PF is granted political legitimacy!”
There is no doubt that ANC government was shocked and disappointed by both the AU and SADC’s damning reports of Zimbabwe’s elections. But why is this ANC government bending over backwards to keep Zanu PF in power?
After all SA did play a major role in forcing Zanu PF to accept the 2008 GNU after both SADC and AU had condemned that year’s elections process just as they have done again this year. What has changed?
Put simply, ANC is fighting to stop regime change in Zimbabwe for selfish reasons.
After 30 years of ANC rule, South Africa is well on its way to becoming just another failed African state. Zimbabwe’s status as a failed state is well established and confirmed, after decades of corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF rule. And the root cause of Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown and political paralysis in the country’s failure to hold free, fair and credible elections; the nation has been stuck with the corrupt and tyrannical Zanu PF for 43 years.
The ANC government knows the cure to Zimbabwe’s failed state is for the country to break the curse of rigged elections and bad governance. The SEOM damning report has denied Zanu PF political legitimacy is giving Zimbabwe a second chance to get the democratic reforms necessary to end the vote rigging finally implemented. President Ramaphosa know all this but are standing in the way by imposing the Zanu PF regime on Zimbabwe for purely selfish reasons.
ANC is worried that if the people of Zimbabwe are able to finally booted Zanu PF out of office because the 23 August elections were free and fair or by denying Zanu PF legitimacy because the party rigged the elections; this would encourage South Africans to seek regime change too in that country’s next year, 2024, elections. The temptation to seek regime change would be overwhelm if Zimbabwe’s economy was to register any signs of economic recovery – the very thing SA would want to stop their own 30 years slide in become another failed state.
Many South Africans have become increasingly aware of the sinister role ANC has been playing in propping up Zanu PF to the economic detriment of Zimbabwe, South Africa and the whole SADC regime. South African will soon know that ANC attended Mnangagwa’s inauguration prop up the illegitimate regime and in defiance of SADC and the AU. Zimbabweans will see to it that are aware of these facts especially when they vote in next year’s elections.
This Mnangagwa regime is illegitimate and both SADC and the AU must not relent on this. If Zanu PF was to be deprived of the political backing of ANC government because the party was booted out of office, this Zanu PF regime will collapse if it should last that long!