|Mbeki hails Zim support|
|Wednesday, 02 May 2012 00:00|
Farirai Machivenyika Herald Reporter
celebrations to mark the country’s independence on April 18, 1980. Cde Mbeki was speaking during the fundraising dinner launch for the University of Zimbabwe held over the weekend.
“What happened is that then president of the ANC Oliver Thambo came to your independence celebration and he said to then Prime Minister Mugabe immediately after independence that now that you are the Government of Zimbabwe the ANC must be able to establish a presence in Zimbabwe and that the ANC must be able to prosecute the struggle from Zimbabwe,” he said.
“President Mugabe said since you raised the matter with me I would say give us time because you know we have this process of reconciliation and we have got to handle the transition. He said the chief of our defence forces is General Peter Walls and the chief of our CIO is Ken Flower and you can imagine that these people worked with the South African regime for a long time. So if you come to Zimbabwe what do you think they would say?’’
The Rhodesian regime collaborated with the South African Apartheid regime against liberation fighters in Zimbabwe and other Southern African countries. Former president Mbeki said the then Prime Minister Mugabe said the decision to come was, however, for the ANC to make and allowed them to make their own assessment of the situation in Zimbabwe at that time.
“The then Prime Minister (President Mugabe) then said the response that I will give to you in reality is that the question I would ask you is whether you (ANC) are able to function in Zimbabwe in 1980 despite all these issues I have raised. For me (President Mugabe) it is fine so I would suggest that you send your own people to make an assessment and if indeed you think you can operate from Zimbabwe despite what I have told you then its fine for me,” he said.
The former South African president said he was then dispatched to Zimbabwe two weeks after independence together with a colleague to come and make the assessment. He said from the ANC’s point of view it was a foregone conclusion that they had been allowed to operate from Zimbabwe. The fundraising was the brainchild of DPM Arthur Mutambara who is on record saying Zimbabweans should give back towards the various institutions that moulded them in their upbringing.