Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki met President Mnangagwa and MDC-Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa separately in Harare yesterday.
Emerging from the meeting with President Mnangagwa, Mr Mbeki said South Africa was willing to assist Zimbabwe in resolving the challenges it was facing. He commended policies adopted by the Government so far.
The former South African leader met with President Mnangagwa for over two-hours at State House.
He is also expected to pay his condolences to Mrs Grace Mugabe, the widow of Zimbabwe’s founding President, Cde Robert Mugabe.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, Mr Mbeki said Sadc countries had an obligation to assist each other.
“So the reason we spent this amount of time (in the meeting) as I have said, is because I haven’t seen the President in Harare as President of the Republic, so there was a lot of ground to cover. But I am very glad indeed with what the President and the country are doing to respond to the challenges, and I think it’s very important that the region comes behind the President and the country because the challenges of Zimbabwe are our challenges.”
Mr Mbeki said Sadc should follow up on its resolution calling for the removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe.
“Here for instance, the President was telling me about the decision taken by Sadc on the sanctions matter. It’s an important decision and of course the region should then make a follow up with countries like the United States so that we act on this issue. So this is part of what we were reflecting about.”
He said it was important for political parties to respect the will of the people in electoral processes, adding that any grievances should be dealt with through the legal route.
“Well, normally, I would say we must all of us respect the view of the people. If people have queries, they must go to the courts because all the countries in the region have that provision that people can go and lodge their complaints about elections to the Judiciary. And once the courts have made a ruling, then we have got to accept that. So that’s generally the approach,” he said.
In his brief remarks, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe and South Africa enjoyed cordial relations.
“Yes, of course, you know Zimbabwe and South Africa are very close friends. Former President (Kgalema) Motlanthe came to see us, visit us. President (Jacob) Zuma did come, President Cyril Ramaphosa came. So it was only President Mbeki who had not come. So the four have been here, what else would you want?” President Mnangagwa said.
Mr Chamisa confirmed meeting Mr Mbeki, but would not shed more light.
Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo said the country’s re-engagement process was progressing well.
On talks with the United States, the Minister said it was important that the two Governments were talking to each other.
“There is nothing we are hiding and we have been able to invite all the politicians from that side. Before, in the First Republic, there was no communication totally, but now we can talk; we talk but differ.
“The US is an important constituency in terms of our international cooperation so we have got to continue engaging it. It’s good now that we are able to speak and agree on certain issues and disagree on certain aspects. It’s good that the people of America and Zimbabweans are cooperating so much that’s why you see a number of their corporates now coming to look for investment opportunities in Zimbabwe,” Minister Moyo said.