HARARE – Zanu PF and the African National Congress have sharply disagreed over the latter’s future role in trying to find a solution to the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.
The ANC on Tuesday said it intended to resend a delegation to Harare for meetings with President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rivals and other interest groups after it met Zanu PF officials last week.
Zanu PF however insisted on Wednesday that claims by the ANC that it approved plans by South Africa’s ruling party to meet with the opposition were untrue.
President Cyril Ramamphosa has also indicated that he intends to send special envoys whose programme will complement that of the ANC. A previous trip by three special envoys ended in disappointment when Mnagagwa refused them clearance to meet his rivals.
Mnangagwa insists there is no crisis in Zimbabwe – and wants the ANC to take his word for it.
“It’s unfortunate, but we find it imperative to inform our sister revolutionary party, the ANC, to focus their attention on matters affecting South Africans rather than attempt to experiment attention-seeking gimmicks in the name of our stable nation and our peaceful people,” Zanu PF’s director information told the state-run Herald newspaper.
“For the record, there was no deliberation nor agreement on them coming back to meet anyone over the issues we discussed. It’s unprecedented in the history of our fraternal relations as revolutionary parties for the ANC to seek to verify our submissions through puppet movements. Just imagine a Zanu PF delegation forcing itself to engage renegade movements like the DA, EFF or Afrikaner organisations to verify and ascertain whether the ANC is correct or not.”
ANC spokesman Pule Mabe, in a statement, said they intended to continue their mediation efforts in Harare – setting the stage for a potential showdown.
Mabe said: “The engagement between ANC and Zanu PF was both frank and constructive, conducted in the fraternal spirit of two liberation movements.
“As such we remain committed to extending the space for political dialogue with the view of advancing social, political and economic interests of the people of Zimbabwe and South Africa.
“Our joint engagement on and commitment to the advancement and protection of human rights always remain paramount. We do so while respecting the freedom of speech and all the basic universal freedoms.
“In this regard, it was agreed that the ANC will in the foreseeable future return to Zimbabwe to meet different stakeholders.”
Lindiwe Zulu, the chairperson of ANC National Executive Committee on international relations told journalists in South Africa that the Zimbabwe crisis was impacting South Africa.
“We’ve got issues of national importance here. This is one thing that needs to be understood and be understood very clearly. When there is a problem that has a negative impact on us as a nation… what is happening is not an impact on the ANC, it’s an impact on our people and our economy,” she said.
Mnangagwa is coming under increasing pressure from a restive population angry over state brutality and an economic collapse that has seen inflation gallop past 700 percent while salaries have stagnated.
The 78-year-old leader has maintained that “there is no crisis” in Zimbabwe while accusing his political rivals of seeking his overthrow through unconstitutional means.
Main opposition leader Nelson Chamisa does not recognise Mnangagwa’s presidency, which has fueled a political paralysis in the country as Mnangagwa seeks to assert his legitimacy while an economic crisis rages in the background.