ANC delegation, Zanu-PF agree to meet Zimbabwe opposition

Ace Magashule
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HARARE – The ANC delegation to Zimbabwe has scored a diplomatic point after Zanu-PF agreed they should meet the opposition and civil society groups on their next trip to Harare.

The Ace Magashule-led team drawn from the ANC national executive and working committees arrived in the capital on Tuesday to meet Zanu-PF leaders on Wednesday.

The party-to-party meeting was to discuss the escalating political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe. Since July, with a crackdown on opposition politicians and journalists characterised by kidnappings and torture, the country’s woes have drawn international attention. Zanu-PF, however, insists there is no crisis in the country.

Magashule told journalists there was an agreement between Zanu-PF and the delegation that on the next visit the South Africans should meet rival parties.

“We felt that together with Zanu-PF, indeed there is no problem in meeting with the structures. Therefore, we are going to make arrangements to once more come back and meet these organisations,” he said.

Magashule singled out Zapu, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, the MDC Alliance and the US ambassador to Zimbabwe as some of the people they would meet.

This was the second visit by emissaries from SA in a month. On both occasions they met Zanu-PF leaders only.

Members of the opposition and civil society said meetings that excluded them would not solve Zimbabwe’s crisis.

Some government critics felt the resolution to meet them was a step in the right direction, comparing it to former president Thabo Mbeki’s policy of “quiet diplomacy” that forced Zanu-PF under the late Robert Mugabe to negotiate, resulting in a government of national unity.

This time around, some sections of the opposition and civil society are calling for a similar power-sharing deal to put an end to the country’s problems.

Zanu-PF sources told TimesLIVE that because SA had in the past offered to help its neighbour lobby for the removal of sanctions imposed by the US, UK and the EU and possible economic assistance, the ANC commanded its respect.