South Africa’s ruling African National Congress’ International Relations Committee chairperson Lindiwe Zulu on Tuesday finally admitted that neighbouring Zimbabwe was in a deep political crisis.Zulu made the admission a day after South Africa’s two special envoys Baleka Mbete and Sydney Mufamadi returned home from a Zimbabwe visit where they had gone to assist the government and the opposition find common ground over that country’s political crisis.
Unfortunately, the two diplomats only spoke to Zimbabwe President Emerson Mnangagwa and ignored other stakeholders without giving any reasons, leaving the opposition MDC Alliance to speculate that the ruling ZANU-PF had pressured the envoys not to meet them.
Harare is being accused of violating human rights and harassing activists, arresting at least 60 of them, including journalists who have exposed corruption and written about the country’s poor economic performance which has left people in hardship conditions compounded by the coronavirus lockdown.
While previously the ANC had been reluctant to acknowledge the crisis in that country, preferring to engage in what it called “quiet diplomacy,” this time Zulu admitted there was a problem in Harare.
“In the ANC’s view, yes, there is a political crisis in Zimbabwe and we have to be frank and be honest about it.
“If we are to help the situation, we must ask the question: where is the dignity in all the Zimbabweans who are here?” Zulu said, in apparent reference to the 300,000 Zimbabweans who have live in the country for years.
Zulu did not mention whether or not she had exchanged notes with the special envoys who returned from Zimbabwe on Monday.