South Africa's ANC Praises And Damns Mugabe In ONe Breath
BEST FRIENDS: Mugabe and Jacob Zuma embrace at their first meeting after the ANC president had been elected president. The ANC sent a solidarity message to the ZANU PF Congress which ended at the weekend in Harare. The message, delivered by Tokyo Sexwale, should give Zimbabweans cause for questioning whether South Africa will ever directly challenge Mugabe on his wayward behaviour. "We are one," was essentially the message.
Harare, Zimbabwe, 14 December 2009
As I told you a couple of days ago, the African National Congress of South Africa sent a delegation and a solidarity message to Mugabe's ZANU PF Congress, which ended on Saturday.
Head of the delegation was Tokyo Sexwale, the former Gauteng Premier.
He delievered a stunning solidarity message, telling those gathered at the ZANU PF Congress that South Africa owes its liberation from apartheid to ZANU PF.
"We as ANC and ZANU PF remain as one. We know where we came from and we know our history. What goes on in South Africa will eventually affect Zimbabwe and what happens in Zimbabwe must affect South Africa," said Sexwale.
State media is over the moon about that solidarity message, but it ignores the fact that Sexwale also delivered a veiled rebuke to Mugabe's intransigence:
"Your enemies never criticise you, but they will destroy you, only your friends will criticise you in a constructive manner. Zimbabwe should always heed the call whenever South Africa criticises you," he also said.
Delegates cheered Sexwale wildly when he called "on the world and everyone to recognise the GPA (Global Political Agreement) and lift any sanctions imposed on the country."
But what really impressed the delegates was Sexwale's statement that "It is ZANU PF that supported all of us in the Southern African region to have the freedom we enjoy today. The importance of ZANU PF in Zimbabwe and in the region cannot be overemphasised in the quest for political freedom. ZANU PF played a big role in bringing an end to colonialism, to racism in South Africa and the region."
This solidarity message and the presence of such a high-profile ANC leader at a ZANU PF Congress should not be underestimated.
I shows the world yet again just how futile it is for them to expect an ANC-led government in South Africa to read the riot act to Mugabe and his errant comrades in ZANU PF.
There is no way that party is going to work actively to help Morgan Tsvangirai topple Mugabe. Note that the ANC never sends delegations to MDC Congresses.
For Zimbabweans, especially MDC supporters who amuse themselves by thinking that Zuma will finally play hard ball with Mugabe, this is a wake-up call. It is only Zimbabweans who will able to work through the problem that ZANU PF and Mugabe present to the country. Only they can be their own liberators, as one famous liberation fighter said.
Zuma and the ANC may tell Tsvangirai what he wants to hear when they meet him. They may display impatience behind Mugabe's back, but, also considering that Mugabe sheltered people like Zuma when they were in exile from South Africa before 1994, there is no likelihood that you will see the ANC behave like Raila Odinga in Kenya, who has publicly called for Mugabe to be removed from power. They will also not take seriously Desmond Tutu's calls for Mugabe to be removed by force. Will not happen, and that is fact.
But Sexwale's comments also betray the fact the ANC thinks that the Coalition Government in Zimbabwe is the best option available to preserve Mugabe's rule. Their encouragement at the Congress for ZANU PF to inject "new life into the Inclusive Government" means that they are not in favour of Mugabe's wishes to destroy the GPA and rule by himself.
This is why Mugabe will never be the first person to pull out of the GPA. He will continue with his route of pushing the MDC into a corner, frustrating them into resigning from the Inclusive Government, so that he could always turn around to SADC and the African Union and say he is not the bad guy, pointing to MDC and Tsvangirai instead.
As Sexwale said, ANC and ZANU PF remain "one".
That, really, is all we need to know!