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Disappointment of Ramaphosa's envoys and the Zimbabwean problem

12 Aug 2020 at 08:17hrs | Views
Exciting it was when  announced.  Successful mission. Disappointing it was when it ended. This is a precise description of the South African President Ramaphosa appointed team of envoys and its mission to the troubled neighbour across the mighty Limpopo river.

 When the news broke out about the appointment of former deputy president Baleka Mbete and former cabinet member Dr Sydney Mufamadi as envoys to the troubled land between Limpopo and Zambezi, a lot of excitement was recorded. Several groupings in Zimbabwe had their hopes raised to immeasurable heights, obviously out of the expectations from both president Ramaphosa and the team of emissaries.

There are two distinct groups that were extremely excited, that is G40, a Zanu PF faction that found itself out of power and scattered all over the world following the 2017 coup by yet another faction of Zanu PF, Lacoste, as well as some opposition parties and activists who are pushing to replace the faces in office while ignoring the need to change the system that has run down everything Zimbabwean.  

It is imperative to give a background of the mission by Mbete and Mufamadi to Zimbabwe.

 Two events took place in the month of July. The opposition announced a protest against corruption on the last day of the month, which coincided with the second anniversary of the election post 2017 coup against Mugabe and his G40 faction. The protest was met with a heavy response, this following revelations that elements within the Lacoste faction, under leadership of vice president Chiwenga were actually instigators behind the scheduled march.

Soon, the plot would be unmasked as nothing but an internal power tussle between Chiwenga and Mnangagwa. The opposition activists leading the campaign for protests were arrested and incarcerated and the protest was quashed, albeit heavily using police and army.

While this was happening, the G40 faction, whose many members are in exile mostly in South Africa, wrote, through Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Zhuwawo,  a passionate letter to the ANC pleading with and begging the party to facilitate their return to Zanu PF and country at the very least.

This, coupled with loud cries from the opposition in the country about rights abuses by Mnangagwa government, led to an outcry from South African opposition parties, eventually pilling pressure on Ramaphosa to act, or at least to be seen as acting on the malaise. .

What followed was an announcement of appointment of the envoys team, albeit with no clarity as to what level between South Africa government and the ruling party were they working.

If history of the illicit  relationship between ANC and Zanu PF in the recent past is to guide our analysis, it is clear the ruling party in South Africa pulled a fast one on desperate Zimbabwean opposition who celebrated the development and fell on each others feet to welcome the delegation up north.
The opposition thought the envoy mission was coming as a fact finding mission on their outcry over rights abuses at the hands of the regime. Little did they realise that it is near impossible for a political party to send a fact finding mission into a neighbouring country.

 It never crossed the minds in the opposition that only bodies such as SADC, AU or UN could send such missions to any country within their limited jurisdictions. The opposition in Zimbabwe also quickly forgot that Mnangagwa, by virtue of him being president of country, is current chairperson of the SADC Organ on Politics and Security, the very organ that should be charged with the Zimbabwe problem. The other important consideration that slipped the opposition minds is that as AU Chair, Ramaphosa could have lobbied the continent had he felt the need for a fact finding mission at that level, but alas, he chose a team of ANC cadres, who are not in government, automatically making  it a party to party mission, never mind the rhetoric of it being a government to government engagement.

The mission had all ingredients for disappointment right from the start, with little clarity as to whether they represent the African National Congress or the South African government. The lack of clarity cannot be attributed to the standard diplomatic protocols but to the two parties acting camaraderie to each other while ignoring gross atrocities being committed on the people by the other.
The existence of the G40 faction in the mix is the only reason the ANC acted, so as to facilitate regrouping of factions in Zanu PF and give it a renewed life, all in the name of revolutionary parties' comradeship.

The mission had absolutely nothing to do with the plight of Zimbabweans. Neither was it about the outcry over abuses of people and their rights. Ignore the coincidence with the July demonstrations. Ignore the coincidence with heightened human rights abuses by the other faction.

It is wrong and misinformed to classify the mission as failed. This is the view of especially most opposition parties in the country. It wouldn't be more successful.

The envoys had a message from ANC and they delivered it to Zanu PF, as intended. How we expected them to engage the opposition is a mystery and speaks so much about the levels of desperation we have in the opposition ranks. What message did the opposition expect to receive from South Africa's ANC, whose current leadership has the audacity to lie about sharing trenches with Zanu PF even while the ANC struggle stalwarts are still alive?

The disappointment being displayed by the opposition must be a wake up call to all well meaning Zimbabweans to embark on processes internally and abroad to dialogue among ourselves for an all inclusive and sustainable solution to the problem our country faces.

 It is our responsibility as Zimbabweans to take up the role of proffering solutions and we should desist from abdicating that duty to foreign forces. They should only come in to compliment our collective efforts, which should rope in everyone for every Zimbabwean is an equal stakeholder.  This will save us from disappointment and loss of hope as has happened with the South African envoy mission.

Iphithule Maphosa
National Spokesperson

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Source - Iphithule Maphosa
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