News / Africa

    ANC: Support for Mugabe's Party Will Lead to Progress

    South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, center-right, and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, center-left, share a joke as Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba, right, looks on at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 26, 2013.
    South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, center-right, and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, center-left, share a joke as Gabon's President Ali Bongo Ondimba, right, looks on at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 26, 2013.
    Anita Powell
    South Africa’s ruling party says it is taking an active role on the continent, a pronouncement that comes amid conflicts in Mali, Nigeria, Congo, Sudan, and the Central African Republic.  Conflict could come much closer to home later this year with what is likely to be a contentious election in Zimbabwe. 

    For decades, South Africa’s apartheid system kept the nation on the sidelines of continental politics.  The African Union was on the side of the then-banned African National Congress, which fought racist white rule. 

    Today, the ANC is South Africa’s ruling party, and has a streak of dominating national elections since the nation’s first democratic vote in 1994.  The party is also behind the push for South Africa to take a more active role as the continent’s economic powerhouse and its most stable democracy.

    But the nation’s most pressing international issue is the one closest to home: its northern neighbor, Zimbabwe.  Critics say the two countries relationship could cause problems for South Africa’s dealings with the rest of the continent and its many entrenched leaders.

    Zimbabwe has been ruled since its 1980 independence by President Robert Mugabe.  In recent years, Mugabe has been slapped with international sanctions for using political violence against those who oppose his ZANU-PF party.  He also been accused of driving the economy of his once-prosperous nation into the ground.

    That economic collapse and political intimidation has prompted hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans to flee to neighboring South Africa. 

    South African President Jacob Zuma’s adviser on international affairs, Lindiwe Zulu, said the ANC will continue to stand by ZANU-PF because of its history as a liberation party.

    “The ANC will continue to have the relationship that it has always had with ZANU-PF," said Zulu. "This is the question that is always asked: are you not in contradiction when on the one hand as government you are facilitating the process taking Zimbabwe forward, on the other hand, you have an African National Congress that even says, ‘We will support ZANU-PF when they request for support in terms of sharing of ideas, in terms of elections?’”

    That closeness between the two parties, she said, has enabled South African negotiators to speak freely and critically with Zimbabwean officials behind closed doors.

    She said the region will hold a special summit about Zimbabwe in June, before scheduled presidential elections.  Mugabe, who is 89, is running for another term.

    A spokesman for the South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance, Mmusi Maimane, said his party does not support Zimbabwe’s ruling party, either in theory, as the ANC does, or in practice.

    He said the ANC’s support for ZANU-PF effectively translates to South African government support for the regime.

    “I think the ANC must not try and force South Africans into believing that they have never been guilty in the past of conflating state and party," said Maimane. "And in fact, there is evidence domestically where the ANC uses state resources for their own party, political activities. So for them to argue a separation of state and [party] in this particular instance is particularly disingenuous.”

    ANC officials say they are hopeful Zimbabwe’s elections will be free and fair.  Zimbabwe's last elections in 2008 degenerated into violence, most of it by ZANU-PF supporters against the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.  The resulting disputed polls forced Mugabe to form a coalition government, which ZANU-PF has made clear it wants to end.

    You May Like

    Syrian Rebel Realignment Likely as al-Qaida Leader Blesses Split

    Jihadist group Jabhat al-Nusra splits from al-Qaida in what observers dub a ‘deception and denial’ exercise

    New India Child Labor Law Could Make Children More Vulnerable

    Concerns that allowing children to work in family enterprises will push more to work

    What Take-out Food Reveals About American History

    Carry-out food explains a lot about the changes taking place in society, so here's the deal with pizza, Chinese food and what racism has to do with taking food to go

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Busi
    X
    July 28, 2016 4:16 AM
    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Philadelphia Uses DNC Spotlight to Profile Historic Role in Founding of United States

    The slogan of the Democratic National Convention now underway in Philadelphia is “Let’s Make History Again” which recognizes the role the city played in the foundation of the United States in the 18th century. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, local institutions are opening their doors in an effort to capitalize on the convention spotlight to draw visitors, and to offer more than just a history lesson.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora