Fungi Kwaramba and Joseph Madzimure
Zimbabwe and South Africa are two independent countries with sovereign rights and some members of African National Congress (ANC) should not harbour notions of coming to meet with opposition parties as that would be a move without precedence, top Zanu PF officials said yesterday.
This comes as some South African officials, who include Lindiwe Zulu and Tony Yengeni, who were part of an ANC delegation that met Zanu PF officials on Wednesday, in a no-holds barred indaba between the two former liberation war movements, continued to claim there was a crisis in Zimbabwe and the South African ruling party would return to meet the opposition in the country.
The abrasive attitude from some members of the South African delegation flies in the face of the head of the ANC delegation Cde Ace Magashule’s utterances to the effect that there was no crisis in the country and that as a sovereign State, Zimbabwe had the capacity to tackle its challenges, that were a common feature across the continent.
Responding to questions from journalists at a Press conference held at Zanu PF Headquarters yesterday, the ruling party’s secretary for External Affairs, Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, said fraternal parties could only help each other on invitation.
“Friendly and sisterly organisations only come to the help of each other on invitation. We help each other on invitation, we enjoy sovereign equality, both as political parties as well as nations, therefore, no party, especially a sister party can employ this on another sister party.
“It is common knowledge that some individuals in our sister party the ANC had been made to believe that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe. We are not sure how they became convinced with that, but some of them came here with that notion, however, in our meeting the notion of a crisis in Zimbabwe was quickly dismissed,” Cde Mumbengegwi said.
He said the meeting, which lasted for more than six hours focused on the challenges bedevilling the region and how they can best be resolved and pooh-poohed notions of a crisis that have been concocted by G40 fugitives residing in South Africa.
“The question of a sister party coming to the country of another sister party to establish bilateral relations with the opposition party is unheard of (as) that can only happen in the context of mediation and mediation can only occur with the consent of the conflicting parties. But where there is no crisis, there is no real need for mediation and therefore no purpose will be served by trying to play a mediatory role, where there is no crisis and where there is no conflict and more importantly, where there is no consent of the parties involved,” said Cde Mumbengegwi.
During the Wednesday meeting, the two heads of the delegation, Zanu PF Secretary for Administration Cde Obert Mpofu and ANC secretary-general Cde Magashule made it clear from the onset that there was no crisis in Zimbabwe.
“I know why you are asking, my counterpart (Lindiwe Zulu), on landing in South Africa held a media briefing where she riveted back to the original position that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe and therefore they needed to come back to Zimbabwe to resolve that crisis, but surely how can you unilaterally reverse a common position that the two delegations agreed on. I want to assure you that it is not normal for a former liberation party to impose itself on another and therefore we only hope that the views expressed were individual views and we would be very surprised if there are the common position of the ANC,” said Cde Mumbengegwi.
With some within the ANC still playing to the gallery, Cde Patrick Chinamasa said the ruling party will get in touch with the South African ruling party to establish whether its leadership shares the same sentiments.
“That is outside the agreement that we reached in the meeting on Wednesday. I have not followed what they said when they arrived in South Africa. But what I can categorically say is the meeting was very frank and candid. We agreed that Zimbabwe and South Africa are equal sovereign States and that on the basis of being sovereign States, there is no need for interventionist approach. There is no way an ANC delegation will come to Zimbabwe to interfere in our domestic affairs”.
Cde Chinamasa said the brutal meeting between the two former liberation war movements started with the two parties clearing misconceptions of a crisis in Zimbabwe.
He said the two parties agreed that Zimbabwe, just like the rest of the region, is grappling with the effects of draughts and natural disasters such as Cyclone Idai as well as the added albatross rock of illegal economic sanctions that were imposed by western nations.
Cde Chinamasa said the two parties, that agreed to meet regularly and also to disregard social media attempts to set the agenda, will meet regularly to ensure that detractors are kept at bay.
“The two revolutionary sister parties were able to find each other during that meeting. We re-discovered each other and I think we got our bearing correct. As we go into the future, I think we have set our compass in the right direction. First we agreed that Zimbabwe and South Africa are equal sovereign States. Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa that we agreed very clearly.
“In the contest of international relations, South Africa is not a big brother to Zimbabwe. It has no overseer role to play in Zimbabwe or in the region. It has no mediatory role to play in South Africa, in Zimbabwe or in other countries and not being a province of South Africa, it follows that there is no interventionist approach to the way that South Africa would relay to us.
“The challenges that the region is facing do not need any outside interference, what Zimbabwe needs is access to capital, which because of sanctions we are unable to have, Zimbabwe has only one option, to lift itself up by way, which we have been doing for the past 20 years,” he said.
And amid repeated claims by South African leaders that they are monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe, ostensibly to bring some form of help, Cde Chinamasa, a former Finance Minister, said from 1980 to present date, Zimbabwe’s neighbour across the Limpopo River has not extended any dime.
“Let me put it on record, I am talking as a former Minister of Finance, Zimbabwe has not received any assistance of whatever nature from South Africa, other than us selling and importing from South Africa, if that is the assistance, well maybe, but direct assistance, Zimbabwe has not received a cent,” he said. Instead, Cde Chinamasa said Zimbabwe bore the brunt of South Africa apartheid system by way of collateral damage that was inflicted by the racists white former rulers, who still covertly call the shots in that country, as well as the reputational burden of being a neighbour to a country at war.
“We have not received a cent as Zimbabwe, from the apartheid economy or from the post-apartheid economy, that I can tell you without any prevarication. The assistance which is now being touted about, if it is true, clearly, if they had not stood by us economically in the past 20 years when sanctions were imposed on us, how can anyone seek to stand by us economically when we are almost out of the woods,” said Cde Chinamasa.
Under the New Dispensation, the country is pursuing President Mnangagwa’s Vision 2030, which aims at making Zimbabwe a middle class economy, and already the signs are pointing to the country achieving its targets that will be anchored on agricultural production and productivity, mining and tourism.
President Mnangagwa recently launched the US$8,2 billion Agriculture Recovery and Livestock Growth Strategy, which came hard on the heels of the launch of the US$5 billion Tourism Strategy.
To cap the recovery strategies is the Mining Industry Strategy which is expected to contribute US$12 billion, with signs on the ground showing that this could be achieved well before 2025.
Thus, Cde Chinamasa said Zimbabwe which is now on the verge of economic transformation, does not need assistance from countries that have for the most part offered only moral support, all the while making Zimbabwe a warehouse of their produce.
He added that in 2008, South Africa, through its former President Thabo Mbeki, was invited to mediate between Zanu PF and the MDC, and that came at the invitation of Zimbabwe.
“Mbeki did not impose himself on us, we requested him in order to defend the gains of our liberation which were being threatened by the British who were threatening military invasion of Zimbabwe. The British and Western governments will never agree or forgive for taking the land and giving it to our people,” he said.
Zimbabwe, has been the pacesetter in empowering its people whereas in the region citizens in countries that supposedly gained their independence live on the economic fringes while the erstwhile colonisers call the shots.
“We are the first country to do what we are doing, which is what we pointed to the ANC delegation, we have taken our land, you need us if you have to empower your people, we need each other. They have to empower their people; in the same way we have empowered our people. It’s a revolutionary obligation for the revolutionary parties to fulfil the gains of our liberation struggle, whether it is here, in South Africa, Namibia or Mozambique,” said Cde Chinamasa.
The meeting also discussed the issue of the illegal economic sanctions, the skewed trade imbalances in the region that favour South Africa, as well as the threat posed by remnants of the decapitated G40 faction that have found sanctuary across the Limpopo.