SOUTH African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Monday that his special envoys will be coming back to Harare to meet all stakeholders to understand the country’s multi-faceted crisis better is commendable.
This will be the second chance for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to embrace regional efforts to bring normalcy in a country that is failing at basic norms while facing its worst economic crisis in a decade — hunger which the United Nations has described as the worst ever, and an unprecedented medical crisis that has left the country’s population vulnerable to a global pandemic of epic proportions.
Zimbabwe clearly needs help and friends. We implore Ramaphosa to be sincere in his approach to assist Zimbabweans who are going through tough times economically, politically and socially under Mnangagwa.
His commitment in ensuring that Zimbabwe comes out of its current debilitating crisis is commendable, but it is imperative for him to know that the task ahead is huge and requires not only diligence, but high levels of sincerity and integrity.
We hope this won’t end up as another smoke and mirrors game.
First, it should be known to Ramaphosa that this is not the first time his country has intervened in Zimbabwe. In 2009, the intervention of former President Thabo Mbeki resulted in the formation of a unity government between the late former President Robert Mugabe and the two MDC formations.
The life of the unity government brought relative stability to Zimbabwe, but more could have been achieved had Mbeki considered not gone to bed wit Zanu PF hardliners through his quiet diplomacy.
Thus, Mbeki’s mediated solution to the country was not permanent. Zimbabwe has moved a complete circle and is back where it was.
With this in mind, Ramaphosa should make a genuine effort to resolve the Zimbabwe crisis once and for all, or else, Zimbabweans running away from a crisis back home will remain a burden on South Africa’s social safety nets.
We understand the African National Congress (ANC) and Zanu PF have a long working relationship as liberation movements. The temptation to resolve the crisis in a camaraderie manner is irresistible. Ramaphosa should ensure an end to the Zimbabwean crisis because it is a ticking time bomb to the stability of the region.
Furthermore, the conduct of Zanu PF has a domino effect on the image of liberation movements in the region, a development that is also set to haunt the ANC in its bid for re-election.
Ramaphosa should not meditate deceitfully to pacify Zimbabweans and buy time for his colleague Mnangagwa. What is needed is a genuine solution that will bring stability to Zimbabwe and the region as a whole.
It is good that he has insisted on his envoys meeting all stakeholders to understand the deep-rooted crisis. It would be meaningless for them to only to meet Zanu PF which has already declared that there is no crisis in the country.
Mr President, listen to the voice of reason and act sincerely to end the Zimbabwe crisis.