THE die is cast! It now appears the day-long meeting between South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s mediation team and Zanu PF officials on Wednesday was a waste given utterances by Zanu PF hardliners in Harare yesterday.
Zanu PF effectively rubbished Ramaphosa’s efforts to mediate in the Zimbabwean crisis, declaring Zimbabwe is a sovereign State capable of resolving its own problems without outside help, especially from “young democracies” such as South Africa.
Angered by the South African envoys’ frank talk over the crisis in Harare, Zanu PF acting spokesperson convened a Press conference yesterday where he declared that Ramaphosa’s emissaries were no longer welcome for further talks on Zimbabwe.
Chinamasa went further, describing South Africa as a Western puppet. The Zanu PF statements clearly signalled the end of South Africa-mediated talks to resolve Zimbabwe’s multi-faceted crises.
But, can Zimbabwe afford to brush off her neighbour like that given that over three millions Zimbabweans have sought political and economic refuge in that country?
Besides being the region’s economic powerhouse, South Africa is Zimbabwe’s largest trading partner – with Harare depending on its neighbour for survival.
We believe that Ramaphosa, as African Union (AU) chairperson, will dismiss Chinamasa’s rantings as political banter and pursue his mediation efforts for the sake of impoverished Zimbabweans.
The ANC and other regional liberation movements are duty-bound to help bring the Zanu PF government to its senses so that it takes the necessary corrective measures to allow ordinary Zimbabweans an opportunity to fully enjoy the fruits of their country’s independence.
Ever since President Emmerson Mnangagwa took over as President, the country’s human rights record has significantly deteriorated. Indeed Sadc, AU and the international community cannot afford to fold their arms and let Zimbabwe burn itself to ashes just because it is a sovereign state.
It’s time Sadc flexed its muscle and show Zanu PF the way, lest it sets a wrong precedence and trigger regional instability.
We also hope that Zanu PF apparatchiks will, for once, do the right thing and submit themselves to genuine dialogue, otherwise they will continue driving the nation deeper into poverty.
This business of burying their heads in the sand and pretending all is well will not help anyone.