LEADER of South Africa’s far-left party Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, has called on the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to come to Zimbabwe’s rescue with a conditional financial bailout package.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA/ VANESSA GONYE
Malema, who warmed up to President Emmerson Mnangagwa when he took over power from former President Robert Mugabe in a coup in November 2017, told journalists in South Africa this week that the Zanu PF leader was now behaving in a wayward manner.
Zimbabwe is in the throes of an economic meltdown, which culminated in nationwide protests a week ago, and turned violent as State security agents clamped down on demonstrators.
“We (Sadc) are becoming a laughing stock all over the world because one of our own is swimming in a pool of debt and we are unable to provide them a conditional grant which must not end up in the hands of Zanu PF politicians,” Malema said.
He said Zimbabwe had to be helped by Sadc countries with a conditional grant directed towards developmental programmes.
“It must be grants that are dedicated to developmental programmes which help Zimbabwe to stand on its own. A weaker Zimbabwe leads to a weaker Sadc region. We need Zimbabwe, even if we do not have money. So, the little we have as Africans, we need to share and stop being greedy, otherwise we are setting Zimbabweans up for IMF (International Monetary Fund) and World Bank bailouts and you know what happens …” Malema said.
“… or we are setting them up for the Chinese, who are now gradually proving to be extremely hostile where they even take assets of countries which are unable to pay them back. Let us not put Zimbabwe under such a situation. We are Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe is us. Their problems are our problems.” He said no leader should be condoned for violating the rights of civilians.
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“Whether it’s done by Mnangagwa, whether it’s done by Mugabe, it is unacceptable. Mnangagwa must know that it’s unacceptable to beat up people, to break cellphones of people, to shut down the Internet. It’s unacceptable. It’s barbaric,” Malema said.
“In 2019, we have a leader that shuts down Internet, social media. That is so backward. We want to help Zimbabwe, we want the sanctions gone, we want a bailout for Zimbabwe, but we are not going to support the tyranny, the brutalisation of our people. That will never happen.”
The firebrand youthful leader distanced himself from Zanu PF, saying it was the same with the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa. “I don’t care whether Zanu PF supports me or not. What is Zanu PF? Zanu PF is ANC, same thing,” he said.
Speaking at the ongoing World Economic Forum in Switzerland on Wednesday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was in talks with the Zimbabwean government to “move forward with the reforms” and reiterated his call for the removal of sanctions.