THE ruling Zanu-PF says contrary to claims by its opponents, it is happy to engage with the opposition in a bid to find solutions for Zimbabwe’s decades-old political and economic crises.
In addition, it says, it welcomes the role that South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa and his African National Congress (ANC) are playing to assist the country to overcome these challenges.
This comes as calls for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to hold much-needed dialogue with key stakeholders that include the opposition have reached fever pitch.
Speaking to the Daily News On Sunday yesterday, Zanu-PF secretary for administration Obert Mpofu said the former liberation movement had no problems engaging the opposition – as this was consistent with the ruling party’s post-2017 modus operandi.
“Thank you for allowing me … to discuss the Zimbabwean question, whose major pivot of contestations of power have been both positively and maliciously fore-grounded, either in the interest of promoting genuine national development, or an artificial political crisis narrative.
“To this end, and in pursuit of our widened democratic space, courtesy of the values of the Second Republic, we welcome the proposal by the ANC to engage with other actors within the equation matrix of the said Zimbabwean Crisis.
“The ANC will do so in the context of the historical fraternal links which our political cultures in both Zimbabwe and South Africa are grounded on.
“In essence, this expresses both Zanu-PF and the ANC’s sincere propensity towards sustainable democracy in the region,” Mpofu told the Daily News On Sunday.
“This will be a significant development as it will substantiate how former liberation movements (FLMs) are extending the space for political dialogue to political parties which are deep-rooted in challenging the very existence of African nationalism.
“So, the clarion call for engagement on the part of the ANC dovetails with what we have seen here at home through the establishment of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad).
“So, as liberation fronts of Africa, we are cultivating a culture of cross-cutting political engagement to destabilise the polarisation which has kept the post-colonial state in Africa in civil unrest and massive conflict.
“So, instead of looking at the ANC as a mere facilitator of dialogue in narrow contemporary limits, one needs to look at the ANC as a brother to Zimbabwe’s national interests, in as much as Zanu-PF is kith and kin to South-Africa’s continued fight for political and economic emancipation,” Mpofu said further.
He also said Zanu-PF’s decision to allow the ANC to meet with the opposition and civil society organisations in future, as part of trying heal the political rifts in the country, was neither new nor sudden.
“You will recall that in 2008 we enabled dialogue to take place between ourselves and the opposition.
“From the very foundation of the Second Republic under President Emmerson Mnangagwa we created a far-reaching policy position for sustainable political dialogue through the 1 August violence commission of inquiry.
“This was a ground-breaking precedent to the future of political dialogue in our country.
“Therefore, beyond the ANC’s proposal to engage opposition parties and some civil society organisations (CSOs) working in the service of the regime change agenda is a continuity to the principle of engagement and re-engagement which we have been able to domesticate as part of the post-November 2017 transitional political culture,” Mpofu further told the Daily News On Sunday.
This comes after ANC bigwigs visited Harare last week for bilateral talks with Zanu-PF, which gave them the green light to meet with local opposition groups and other key stakeholders in future.
The two former liberation movements were described as having been very candid and robust with each other in their heart-to-heart dialogue, which was held at the Zanu-PF headquarters in Harare.
At the end of their visit, the ANC bigwigs implored both Zanu-PF and the opposition to work together in the interest of the country, and to end Zimbabwe’s myriad challenges.
Briefing the media, ANC secretary-general, Ace Magashule, said the meeting with their Zanu-PF counterparts had progressed well as both parties were “frank with each other”.
“We had very frank, open and robust discussions and we committed ourselves to introspection and renewal of our values.
“We have agreed that at the same time, at the centre of whatever we do as liberation movements should be our people who are still marginalised and jobless because that is our work.
“We have agreed that as the ANC, we came here to engage with Zanu-PF and yes we have agreed that we will come back to meet other stakeholders or whoever you refer to … so that we understand and comprehend the challenges.
“We have received requests from Transform Zimbabwe political party, the United States ambassador, Simba Makoni, Zapu and the MDC Alliance … we agreed with Zanu-PF that it was important that we meet them .
“So we are going to arrange for our coming back to meet them,” Magashule said.
The ANC heavyweights also said they had agreed with Zanu-PF that while Zimbabwe was facing challenges economically and politically, that did not amount to a crisis.
“In terms of issues of human rights, we have said as liberation movements this is what we have fought for and what we were fighting against during colonialism, and that therefore we should by all means respect human rights.
“We are the first to say we respect human rights, freedom of association, freedom of speech and all the basic freedoms which are there universally.
“So, we re-committed ourselves time to ensure that we listen to the views of others while we continue to interact and that is why we will engage other parties and stakeholders. “We will come back to meet with them so that we encourage interaction.
“We cannot dictate to Zimbabweans what to do because it is a sovereign country like any other and therefore as fraternal organisations we continue to to engage so that we have one understanding in terms of human rights,” Magashule added.
The meeting came as the calls for Mnangagwa to hold national talks with all key local stakeholders have now reached a crescendo – in the wake of Zimbabwe’s deepening political and economic crises.
South Africa and its leaders – including former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma – have in the past successfully mediated Zimbabwe’s political crises.
A decade ago, both Mbeki and Zuma helped to broker the stability-inducing 2008 government of national unity between opposition giant Morgan Tsvangirai and former president Robert Mugabe – who are both late – following the hotly disputed 2008 presidential election. Zuma also assisted in minimising Zimbabwe’s chaotic approach to the equally disputed 2013 national elections.