South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) says there is a political crisis in Zimbabwe, which needs to be resolved by Africans through various processes, including attempts by President Cyril Ramaphosa, who recently sent envoys to the neighboring nation to assess “difficulties” faced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government accused of human rights abuses.
In an interview, ANC’s International Relations Committee chairperson Lindiwe Zulu said there is urgent need to resolve the political crisis in Zimbabwe.
“We have already said it from an ANC point of view that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe that needs us from a party political angle as the liberation movement ANC plus Zanu PF liberation movement. It’s important for us to engage each other and go back to what has been happening in the past and how we got to where we are right now and then be honest and frank about what we need to do to help the situation. Zimbabwe is our neighbor, we cannot close our ears and eyes to that … What we think should be done is for both parties to be frank with each other about what is happening in Zimbabwe and we take it from there.”
Zulu said it is possible to resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe without the help of “outsiders”
“… There can be never be a situation without a solution … This is Africa and we have always said as ANC that as Africans we must always find solutions to African problems and as a political party it’s our responsibility to continuously engage until we are comfortable with the situation there and feel that we are proud of what is happening, we are comfortable with what is happening. So, engagement is almost synonymous with that as South Africa. We have been there, we have gone through that, we are where we are today because we engaged until we got where we are, the same thing will happen about Zimbabwe. From the party political angle, we will engage but at the same time as we said so, we will respect the other processes of engagement by President Cyril Ramaphosa. He sent envoys there, the envoys will come back and report to him. We will leave that to the president to deal with when the envoys come back.”
She said the Southern African Development Community and African Union are expected to play a key role in tackling the conflict in Zimbabwe.
“This is our continent, we will sort out out things as Africans and I do believe that as Africans we have the capacity to be able to deal with our issues. Like any other, conflicts are dealt with in different ways even in the African continent we deal with conflicts in different ways and remember here that it’s not just about South Africa when it comes to such issues. It’s about SADC, it’s about the African continent, and you know that the AU issued its own statement with regard to what is happening, so I’m confident that a solution will be found because we have nowhere to go, because this is our continent. We have to work together and make sure that the people of Africa in general are proud of us as the leadership … They have mandated us and we just have to do the work.”
On suggestions that Ramaphosa’s envoys only engaged Mnangagwa when they arrived in Zimbabwe and snubbed other stakeholders, Zulu said Baleka Mbete and Sydney Mufamadi’s terms of reference were coined by the South African president and as a result they will report back to him accordingly.
She noted that Ramaphosa and Mnangagwa are widely expected to map the way forward for Zimbabwe. “I’m sure they will engage each other and help us through to the next level.”
She dismissed suggestions that the ANC can’t deliver an outcome favorable to the opposition and others in Zimbabwe following the formation of a Government of National Unity in 2009, which the opposition MDC-T claimed mostly benefited the ruling Zanu PF party.
“Our engagement with Zanu PF did not start yesterday. There is a history to where we are today and how we got to where we are today and so when we talk about sister parties we really mean it because we belong and decided we are sister parties of liberation movements whethere it’s Mozambique, Angola we have to talk to each other and find solutions to our challenges ...”
Zulu said she is not disturbed by acting Zanu PF spokesperson, Patrick Chinamasa, who attacked her in public for criticizing Zimbabwe’s ruling party.
“Quite frankly right now we have to a situation that needs us all to work and resolve, that’s the bottomline.”
President Mnangagwa has already said the current crackdown on dissent in Zimbabwe is directed at misguided people, who want to unconstitutionally remove him from office.
Independent human rights groups claim that at least 60 people have been arrested following an anti-corruption protest that was thwarted by state security agents on July 31.