Zimbabwe govt pins hope in Ramaphosa intervention

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa arrive for bilateral talks in Harare, Zimbabwe March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

HARARE – Zimbabwe will welcome the two envoys appointed last week by South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa to gain an appreciation of the situation obtaining in the country, but has reiterated that far from opposition claims peddled on social media, there is no crisis.

Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana, in an interview in Masvingo on Saturday, said Zimbabwe has nothing to hide, as the so-called crisis was merely a creation of the nation’s detractors.

President Ramaphosa appointed former South Africa Speaker of Parliament Baleka Mbete and ex-minister Dr Sydney Mufamadi as his special envoys to Zimbabwe.

The two are coming to understand “the difficulties that Zimbabwe is facing”, following a wave of sustained viral social media campaign by opposition politicians, civic society activists and exiled G40 fugitives  Saviour Kasukuwere, Walter Mzembi, Jonathan Moyo and Patrick Zhuwao.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe’s main opposition, the MDC, has also welcomed the appointment of special envoys to deal with the crisis in the country.

MDC Deputy President, Tendai Biti, says they expect Ramaphosa’s team to be transparent.

This as outrage grows at the crackdown on critical voices in that country.

“We now look forward to the agenda and the mandate of the team that he (Ramaphosa) has appointed. The details have not been flashed out to us,” said Biti.

The State media highlights what it says the anti-Zimbabwe crusade follows the flop of the protests that had been planned for July 31, which it says had been heavily funded by Harare-based Western embassies aimed at toppling President Mnangagwa and his Government.

Mr Mangwana said Zimbabwe and South Africa maintain cordial relations since they share a similar history of fighting and winning the war against ruthless colonial regimes.

“President Mnangagwa and President Ramaphosa remain very good friends and we welcome the two envoys that were appointed to come here because we have nothing to hide,” he said.

“We welcome the two envoys because it will give them an opportunity to see for themselves what is obtaining on the ground. We have no problem with their coming and we will welcome them; they have to see the situation on the ground for themselves after being approached by those who went and made a report.”

He said there was no crisis in Zimbabwe, but the country was a victim of detractors that were committed to fighting everything Government is doing to improve the lot of citizens.

Zanu PF and ANC, sister liberation-war movements, observed recently that African countries had become targets of smear campaigns to defile them by neo-imperial forces working in cahoots with puppet opposition parties.

This emerged after Zanu PF Secretary for Administration, Obert Mpofu held a virtual meeting with his ANC counterpart, Ace Magashule, to set the record straight following reports of ongoing economic turmoil under the President Mnangagwa’s administration.

Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association secretary-general Victor Matemadanda also criticised the interference of EFF leader Julius Malema and former Botswana leader Ian Khama.

Meanwhile, speaking in Gweru yesterday, Mr Mangwana said Government was worried by the toxic environment that has seen some journalists turning into activists who attack Government to soil its image.

“We have a problem in the way our media industry operates in the country and beyond. We all have a role to play in the development of our country.

“We are seized with the matter of the polarisation of our industry and we are doing all we can to ensure that we solve the problems on the ground,” he said.

Mr Mangwana said there was need for people to appreciate the Government’s commitment to better people’s lives in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Yes, we are facing challenges, but we have real issues on the ground. We have to remember our heroes otherwise they would have died in vain. Let’s stay alive and protect ourselves and above all, stay focused and alive to our vision 2030 goals,” he said.