When is a crisis not a crisis? When it’s a challenge. Despite the manifest economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe the ANC agreed to refer to it only as a challenge when it held a crucial meeting with Zanu PF in Harare this week.
Their eight-hour meeting followed an unsuccessful mediation effort by South African government representatives last month, when President Mnangagwa opposed the envoys’ suggestion that they should also meet the Zimbabwe opposition to get their side of the picture.
This time the ANC delegation also left without meeting the opposition but it made it clear that it would return to see them or arrange that they came to South Africa.
Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu, who heads the ANC’s international relations sub-committee, said the ‘no holds barred’ meeting with Zanu PF had been ‘very worthwhile and brutally honest’.
Ms Zulu has skin in the game because, as we reported last week, Zanu PF had rudely dismissed her in their usual arrogant way as ‘a stupid and idiotic street girl’ for referring to a crisis in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwean political analyst Ibbo Mandaza told the Daily Maverick that he had heard that Ms Zulu had been particularly firm with Zanu PF during the meeting. ‘From all indications the engagement was robust.’ (See: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2020-09-10-anc-hails-no-holds-barred-meeting-with-zanu-pf-in-harare-but-no-talks-with-opposition-parties-yet/.)
ANC Secretary-General Ace Magashule said his delegation had not met other parties because it had run out of time but that Zanu PF had agreed it would return to meet them, including MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa.
Ms Zulu also dismissed reports that the delegation had returned empty-handed. She said the meeting with Zanu PF had lasted all day and the delegation did not want then to have hasty meetings with other stakeholders just for show. The ANC would arrange meetings with them itself.
She said the ANC had put all its concerns on the table, including issues about human rights abuses, democracy, violence, people going hungry and the migration of Zimbabweans into South Africa. ‘The concerns being expressed in South Africa about Zimbabweans taking local jobs is an issue of national interest, not just party interest. If we don’t deal with it, we will end up with foreign nationals being attacked and spaza shops burnt.’
Piers Pigou, Zimbabwe expert at the International Crisis Group said there was potential for progress. ‘For a liberation movement to now start talking to other stakeholders, that’s a first.’
- Zimbabwe’s Politburo and its comrades will be interested to hear from Zimbabwe’s Communist Party who, according the British newspaper Morning Star, has urged international action to support a global solidarity day called by Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions in protest at government brutality and the deepening economic crisis. It blamed the economic situation on President Mnangagwa’s ‘neo liberal’ policies and warned of the development of ‘militaristic capitalism controlled by the deep state’ . . . (see: https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/w/zimbabwean-communist-party-calls-international-solidarity-over-brutal-crackdown-trade).
- Only a month after Mnangagwa announced evicted white farmers were to be paid $3.5 billion dollars compensation, a white farmer in Ruwa has been invaded. Coincidentally, the farm has a flourishing tobacco crop and the person behind the seizure was an official at the Ministry of Agriculture (see: https://www.voazimbabwe.com/a/government-official-invades-white-commercial-farmers-land-zimbabwe/5581218.html
- For a secret insight into how human rights lawyers like Beatrice Mtetwa, Doug Coltart and their friends prepare for their court cases see: https://www.facebook.com/Kubatana/videos/319382846040108.
- Headline of the week: Monkeys destined for South Africa from DRC detained in Zimbabwe (see: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2020-09-11-monkeys-destined-for-sa-from-drc-detained-in-zimbabwe/).
- Because of the coronavirus we can no longer physically meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, so we have a virtual Vigil while the lockdown continues. We ask our activists to put on Vigil / ROHR / Zimbabwe regalia and take a photo of themselves holding an appropriate poster reflecting our protest against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The photos are uploaded on our Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/albums/72157715954289893. Our virtual Vigil activists today were Esther Munyira and Lilian Kanyasa who kindly contributed to Vigil funds.
- For Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website.
- The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organization based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organization on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents us.
- The Vigil’s book ‘Zimbabwe Emergency’ is based on our weekly diaries. It records how events in Zimbabwe have unfolded as seen by the diaspora in the UK. It chronicles the economic disintegration, violence, growing oppression and political manoeuvring – and the tragic human cost involved. It is available at the Vigil. All proceeds go to the Vigil and our sister organisation the Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe’s work in Zimbabwe. The book is also available from Amazon.
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