BY HARRIET CHIKANDIWA
LOCAL churches have hailed South Africa’s intervention into the country’s political and socio-economic crisis, but urged Zimbabweans to be masters of their own destiny.
This came after South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday appointed a two-member mediation team to engage President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government and other stakeholders to resolve the country’s worsening crisis.
Mnangagwa has since last week been under pressure from local and regional human rights groups demanding restoration of democracy following a recent violent crackdown on opposition parties and citizens by security forces.
But Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) secretary-general Kenneth Mtata said while foreign intervention was crucial, it was Zimbabweans who had the mandate to shape their destiny.
“It is commendable that President Ramaphosa has taken interest to respond to the situation in Zimbabwe, but South Africa can only do so much,” Mtata said yesterday. “We as Zimbabwean must shape our destiny together. Even if we get an envoy from heaven, if we are unrepentant, the envoy will go back empty handed.”
Former South African Security minister Sydney and ex-Vice-President Baleka Mbete are expected in Harare soon to engage the government and relevant stakeholders to identify possible ways in which South Africa could restore normalcy in Zimbabwe.
Former South African leader Thabo Mbeki in 2009 led a Sadc-mediated team that ushered in a government of national unity between the late former President Robert Mugabe and the late MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai following a bloody presidential election run-off.
Mugabe had unleased soldiers and war veterans in a bid to overturn a first round poll defeat to the former trade unionist, leading to the death of over 200 opposition activists.