11 September 2017
HARARE – Government needs to restrain itself from being pushed into a
messy relationship with South Africa.
Events of the last two weeks or so have raised real fears of plunging
Zimbabwe into dangerous waters as rants by President Robert Mugabe and his
government’s decision to ban and reverse later, the visit by South African
socialite Zodwa Wabantu, clearly miffed our neighbours, south of Limpopo.
Our government is acting with reckless abandon in as far as South Africa
There are many incidents which are pointing towards triggering off a huge
diplomatic row with our powerful neighbours who have at times been forced
to give many concessions, just to support Mugabe and his government.
Last month, South African government granted diplomatic immunity to First
Lady Grace Mugabe when she was facing arrest in Johannesburg.
The South African government clearly flouted its laws to avoid upsetting
Mugabe and government when it granted Grace diplomatic immunity following
allegations of assaulting Gabriella Engels, a 20-year-old South Africa
model she found with her two sons at an upmarket hotel in Sandton,
Johannesburg last month.
It is disturbing that our government is not looking at the big picture
that of maintaining cordial relations with our biggest trading partner and
neighbour by dissuading Mugabe from making inflammatory attacks against
South African people.
The issues of banning Zodwa and attacking the late Nelson Mandela expose
us to unnecessary tension with South Africa especially when considering
how its general populace views fellow Africans.
No one has forgotten how Zimbabweans were targeted in Afrophobic and
Xenophobic violence which displaced many Africans and Asians in South
Africa a few years ago.
Zimbabwe has an estimated two million people living and working in South
Africa and cannot behave and act as if it wields economic power and has
high moral ground over its biggest trading partner and neighbour.
The view from South Africa is that the Zimbabwe government is ungrateful
and has a very small memory.
This is so true.
The South African government fought in Mugabe’s corner during the
political turmoil of 2008 and both Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma took a lot
of brickbats for shielding the excesses of Zanu PF government.
Naturally, anyone in their right senses would expect Mugabe and his
government to view South Africa and its people as true friends not fair
Someone needs to whisper to our president that South Africa is important
to him and indeed all of us.