South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has
described as out of control the political and economic crisis in neighboring
Zimbabwe ahead of Friday’s controversial election run-off. ANC leader Jacob
Zuma reportedly accused President Robert Mugabe’s administration of violating
what he described as the hard-won democratic rights of ordinary Zimbabweans. Zuma
also called for international intervention to help end continuing violence,
which has resulted in a loss of lives and property. Political observers say
Zuma’s pronouncement sharply contrasts with the “quiet diplomacy” employed by
South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating the Zimbabwe crisis for
the Southern African Community (SADC). From Pretoria, South African political analyst Rok Ajulu tells reporter Peter
Clottey that Zuma’s stance has been consistent in condemning the deteriorating
situation in Zimbabwe.
think that the president of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, has been very consistent on
the Zimbabwe question. He has consistently condemned what was going on in
Zimbabwe prior to the March 29 election. With the fracas over the run-off
resulting in deepening crisis, he again came out strongly against what was
going on in Zimbabwe. So, it is not surprising at all that he has once again,
particularly with the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe, raised his concerns
about that,” Ajulu noted.
said the newly elected executive of South Africa’s ruling party has taken a
strong stance against the Zimbabwe situation.
think newly elected ANC executive has taken a position, which has tended to
move away from the so-called quiet diplomacy. And I think a number of people
here (in South Africa) will support that position, from the youth movement to
the trade union movement, and even from the business sectors. They are very much in support of the
position that has been taken by Jacob Zuma,” he said.
denied speculation that the ANC leader is being tough on the Zimbabwe crisis to
raise his profile ahead of South Africa’s general elections.
think it’s not quite the case because it is not something new. It is quite
clear that that faction of the ANC has always taken that position with regards
to Zimbabwe. If you look at the position of South Africa’s Communist Party
(SACP), it has been entirely been consistent about Zimbabwe throughout the last
two elections. If you look at the position of COSATU (the
Congress of South African Trade Unions), they have also similarly been
consistent about the position to Mugabe’s misrule, and how Mugabe has treated
the opposition and dissidents,” Ajulu pointed
said the ANC leader’s stance has not only been consistent, but also impartial
don’t think that Zuma is pursuing out of an opportunistic stance. I think it is
a consistent position, which has been reflected in a broad based approach,
which shot Zuma to the presidency of the ANC,” he said.
dismissed as reckless calls by a former British minister that South Africa
should cut the exporting of electrical power supply to Zimbabwe to send a
strong signal to the Mugabe regime.
is a very irresponsible way of sending a strong signal because if you cut off
the electricity, you are actually going to deepen the chaos in Zimbabwe. And
what South Africa has been concerned about is that disintegrating Zimbabwe is
not in its interest, so if you do that and the economy, which is already approaching
meltdown, melted, what has South Africa to gain from that? Because Zimbabweans
are a very rational people, if the economy is down on its knees as it is, they
wouldn’t run northwards to DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo) or run to Malawi.
They run down to South Africa. So, I think it is in South Africa’s interest not
to do that,” Ajulu pointed out.
said there are several options that could be used to pressure the Harare
government to end the crisis.
are other leverages which can be used to pressure Zimbabwe. I think more
importantly SADC must take responsibility and make it clear to Zimbabwe that
the kind of thing that he is doing is not done. Quite frankly my opinion is
that the man Mugabe has gone bananas,” he noted.