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ANC Youth League Criticizes Planned Opposition Party Trip To Zimbabwe

In South Africa, the ANC Youth League is criticizing an opposition party’s attempt to send a fact finding mission to Zimbabwe ahead of next month’s elections. It says the mission will not be welcome.

This week, the Democratic Alliance, the DA, said it will send a delegation within the next two weeks. That’s despite Zimbabwe’s recent rejection of a mission from COSATU, the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

Zizi Kodwah is the spokesman for the ANC Youth League. From Johannesburg, he told English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua that the Democratic Alliance is promoting colonial era conditions in Zimbabwe, especially concerning land redistribution. The DA was critical of Zimbabwe President Mugabe’s seizures of white-owned farms.

Mr. Kodwah says, “Why would a party even in South Africa continue to protect the issues of property rights…As you know, one of the challenges in South Africa, we want to change property relations…We don’t understand how such a party could go to Zimbabwe.” He accused the DA of sending “mercenaries” to Zimbabwe because the party supports colonial era conditions. He says, “It’s unfortunate that the DA opportunistically, as a white party in South Africa that represents white interests, wants to go to Zimbabwe.”

The ANC Youth League spokesman says, “We should not export or impose any kind of solution to the people of Zimbabwe. We must play a role of being a facilitator to ensure that the solution about the economic and social problems in Zimbabwe – people who bring about the solutions are Zimbabwean themselves.”

Mr. Kodwah says the ANC Youth League has been critical of the Mugabe government in the past. “We have many (criticisms). We have raised them in bilateral meetings that we always have with ZANU-PF and their youth brigade. But among other things they must do -- they must create a conducive environment for every party, including MDC, to participate in elections. Secondly, they must make sure that MDC is able to operate in Zimbabwe like any other party.” Mr. Kodwah says he sees no reason why the March elections will not be free and fair, but says work must be done in Zimbabwe to ensure that.

When asked why he’s critical of outside pressure on Zimbabwe when outside pressure helped end Apartheid in South Africa, he says, “Although the international community played an important role through sanctions and so on, one of the things I think that was a main contributor to our liberation – there was an upsurge internally. So, it’s not there was someone who imposed and exported any kind of political system for our liberation.”