Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF has thanked its South African counterpart, the African National Congress (ANC) for the “bold standing in calling for unconditional removal of sanctions” imposed on that country by “Britain and her Western allies”.
Although the West insists the sanctions are targeted at only Zanu-PF leaders accused of rights abuses, the Zimbabwe ruling party says it is still being punished because of the land reform project in which thousands of white farmers were kicked off the land.
The European Union and the US imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2000, after they accused now deposed president Robert Mugabe of trampling on human rights, rigging elections and the repression of press freedom.
On Thursday, Zanu-PF said leaders of the ANC this week visited the capital Harare. The delegations were led by Zanu-PF secretary of administration Dr Obert Mpofu, and ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule.
In a statement, the party said that following the “bilateral meeting” held at the Zanu-PF headquarters on Tuesday, the ANC and Zanu-PF resolved to “strengthen the already existing historical relations”.
The Zimbabwe ruling party said “the parties acknowledge that the major challenges confronting Zimbabwe are a result of the illegal sanctions imposed by Britain and her Western allies over the bilateral dispute between Zimbabwe and the former over the land reform programme.
“The parties further call upon SADC and the African Union to advocate for the removal of the sanctions.”
The statement further added that: “The parties acknowledge the peaceful and credible manner in which the July 30, 2018 harmonised elections were conducted and the subsequent deserving endorsement of the election results by the regional and international observer groups including the landmark ruling by the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe, hence there is no legitimacy issue surrounding the presidency.”
Seventy-six-year-old Emmerson Mnangagwa, who came to power through a military takeover, narrowly won disputed elections last year, which MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa, 40, insists were rigged.
With Zimbabwe’s economy in meltdown, the recent brutal crackdown on protesters by security forces have resulted in international condemnation. The Democratic Alliance (DA) this week announced it was taking the matter to the ICC in the Hague.
At least 12 people were killed in the crackdown and as many as 68 were treated for gunshot wounds. More than 1,000 people were arrested in the aftermath of the protests sparked by astronomical hikes in the price of fuel. Zimbabwe now has the world’s most expensive fuel – at roughly R45 a litre for petrol.
However, Zanu-PF said at its meeting with the ANC, the parties resolved to “work closely together and come up with practical solutions to address the socioeconomic and political challenges currently facing Zimbabwe”.
Since independence from Britain in 1980, the standard of living for Zimbabweans in urban areas has deteriorated, with many areas no longer having access to clean tap water. Unemployment is estimated at more than 90 percent of the population. Hospitals are short of drugs.
Those lucky enough to have jobs cannot easily withdraw their earnings because banks are experiencing a crippling shortage of cash.
But the Zimbabwe ruling party said in its statement that together with the ANC they “are concerned with the proliferation of opposition political parties and civil society organisations which is aimed at destabilising and subsequently dislodging all former liberation movements from governing power”.
Stung by the prevalence of videos showing security forces abusing citizens during the crackdown, the Zimbabwe government shut down the internet and WhatsApp communications.
After the meeting with the ANC, the Zanu-PF said: “The parties underscore the significance of social media in advancing their shared revolutionary objectives, principles, values, ideals, customs and practices, hence the need for coming up with strategic tools for coordinated deployment on this very lethal war front.”
The ruling party said the challenges facing Zimbabwe had a direct, inextricable effect on regional sister countries.
“Therefore all sister former liberation movements must work as a collective in support of the Zimbabwean cause.”
Zanu-PF said it extended profound gratitude and uttermost humility to Cyril Ramaphosa, the ANC president and president of South Africa, “for his bold standing in calling for unconditional removal of sanctions on Zimbabwe”.
Ramaphosa made the call to remove sanctions imposed against Zimbabwe earlier this month at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
– African News Agency (ANA)