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Zimbabwe’s Political Crisis Enters South Africa Domestic Politics

The ongoing political crisis in Zimbabwe is reportedly causing ripples in neighboring South Africa. This comes after South African President Thabo Mbeki sharply differed with chairman of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) Jacob Zuma over the crisis in Zimbabwe. Mbeki said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe because of the elections controversy.

But Zuma reportedly said the political impasse over the elections was causing increasing anxiety. The ANC youth wing apparently agrees with Zuma’s comments, saying that President Mbeki does not speak on behalf of the ruling ANC party. Zizi Kodwa is the spokesman for the ANC youth wing. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from London, where he is attending a meeting, that it behooves Zimbabweans to resolve the ongoing political impasse.

“Firstly, in the resolution of the Zimbabwean problem and challenges it rests, among others, with the Zimbabweans themselves. We think that all parties involved, both the ruling party and the opposition party, must come together and appreciate the fact that indeed the country has reached a point where everybody must cooperate for the good of the country. It is absolutely not going to help now to point fingers and start accusing one another, who is responsible for what. Indeed we need men and women who can rise above and swallow their pride for the good of the country,” Kodwa pointed out.

He said all parties concerned in Zimbabwe must uphold the tenets of democracy and respect the wishes of the people.

“Obviously, issues of democracy to an extend that they are respected and upholding of the rule of law. It is critical for any democracy to succeed. And the recent development is worrying to an extent that the expression of the majority shall be subverted from the people by people who might appear, but democratically they don’t accept the outcome because as it stands now. It is likely to create instability in the whole region,” he said.

Kodwa said it is only the chairman and other elected officials of the ruling ANC party who can speak on behalf of the party.

“In resolving the problem of Zimbabwe, Thabo Mbeki is not speaking on behalf of the ANC. He is a mediator mandated by the regional body SADC (Southern African Development Community). The ANC is a political liberation movement. It is important to understand that. It has got its own voice, and Thabo Mbeki does not speak on behalf of that organization. So there is no conflict of expression about how the issue of Zimbabwe must be resolved,” Kodwa noted.

He said there was a need for the presidential results of Zimbabwe’s election to be released.

“First and foremost, after its elections, people would have expected that the election results must be announced. We can’t be talking about a re-run or run-off even before people would know how t hey voted. That is equal to subversion of democracy and manipulation, even if people don’t agree with the outcome, but they cannot be manipulated because of narrow political interest. If the expression and the will of the people is against those who are in power, let it be so. And I think everybody who had participated in a democratic election would have expected to win or lose. It is not a pre-determined outcome,” he noted.