Zanu PF sidelined at ANC fête

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Despite Zanu PF being invited to the African National Congress (ANC) centenary celebrations in South Africa last weekend, it seems relations between the two former liberation parties are icy.

The ANC put up several posters with heads of state and former leaders appreciating the role they played in helping South Africa attain its freedom, but President Robert Mugabe’s portrait was conspicuous by its absence.

Instead, from Zimbabwe, the party chose to honour the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, snubbing President Mugabe.

Some of the leaders that were honoured by having their posters grace the streets of Mangaung include Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, the late Mozambican leader Samora Machel and Sam Nujoma, the former Namibian president.

Most of the African leaders whose posters were displayed are President Mugabe’s peers and those that he considers his allies.

They made up the former Frontline States that later became Sadc.

Posters of Cuba’s long-time ruler, Fidel Castro, were also put up.

The giant posters say the ANC wants to thank the leaders who helped the party.

Relations between Zanu PF and the South African ruling party were frosty in the 1980s, with the Zimbabwean party choosing the Pan-African Congress as its ally.

A number of ANC stalwarts were arrested in Zimbabwe, forcing the party to use Zambia as its base as it fought apartheid.

President Mugabe did not attend the celebrations, as he is on annual leave. Vice-President Joice Mujuru represented Zimbabwe at the celebrations.

ANC was an ally of Nkomo’s Zapu. The party invited new Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa although Zanu PF has refused to recognise the former liberation movement’s decision to pull out of the 1987 Unity Accord.

Zapu said the invitation was an indication the ANC, the oldest liberation movement in Africa, recognised its rebirth.