Mnangagwa not worried about Ramaphosa speech in Tanzania

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (L) and his Zimbabwean counterpart Emmerson Mnangagwa (2-L) during the third session of the Zimbabwe-South Africa Bi-National Commission Summit in Harare, Zimbabwe, 12 March 2019. EPA-EFE/AARON UFUMELI
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The president of South Africa Mr C Ramaphosa paid tribute to the countries he said helped and fought with ANC to remove Apartheid in South Africa. Mr Ramaphosa thanked Tanzania for being the centre and the engine of revolutions in many countries. Of great concern he mentions the countries he said sacrificed for South Africa to gain its independence.

His Excellency the president of South Africa did not mention Zimbabwe in his speech. He mentions all the frontline states but deliberately left Zimbabwe out. His omission of Zimbabwe has been interpreted to mean that Zimbabwe did not help in anyway. This while not really a point to worry it has become a point to just revisit as the opposition are singing high and low saying that Mnangagwa has been humiliated.  The president of Zimbabwe was not moved or upset by such an omission. The people of Zimbabwe do not need their country to be mentioned at a funeral  to prove their sacrifice for South Africa. As a nation we can not be worried by such an omission. Shame on those who think that you need to be mentioned to show that you have done something good. As a nation we take pride in the fact that we have done the best we could and we are satisfied with the results.

It should be made clear that South Africa-Zimbabwe relations have been generally cordial since the end of apartheid.  South Africa has a mission in Harare. Zimbabwe has an embassy in Pretoria and a consulate general in Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The Government of Zimbabwe took a particular interest in the search for independence for Namibia (South-West Africa) from South Africa. In addition, as chairman of the Frontline States in southern Africa, Zimbabwe spoke out vigorously against the policies of apartheid in South Africa and frequently called for the imposition of economic sanctions against the  South African government. However, whilst supporting democratic change in South Africa, Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe did not support the idea of Zimbabwe being used as a base for anti-South African guerillas. The victory over apartheid was a collective effort. Help from other African countries was decisive in the struggle. From bases in Angola to military help in Zambia, they all played a role.

The Frontline States, as they were known, where countries close to South Africa and included its neighbours, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland and Lesotho as well as those further north: Angola, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. They played a vital role in supporting the African National Congress (ANC) when it was banned, as well as the many members and other political activists who were forced into exile. Many ANC activists stayed in Zimbabwe and launched their resistance from the warm borders of Zimbabwe.

Professor Padraig O’Malley wrote “It became crucial to cultivate and maintain overseas sanctuary, support and funding,But it was equally crucial to have the co-operation of independent African states closer to home. These could provide sites for military training; they could also become launching pads from which to infiltrate South Africa and impose other pressures on the apartheid government.”

In case president Ramaphosa has forgotten that After going into exile in 1961, ANC president Oliver Tambo established anti-apartheid missions across the continent, basing the movement in Tanzania, Zambia, and other nations a move which was a critical transit point for South Africans on their way to Tanzania to be trained as Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) soldiers. They travelled on the “Freedom Ferry” from Botswana across the Zambezi River.

After Zimbabwe’s independence Zimbabwe became a very important and strategic partner against apartheid.  Zimbabwe shares more than a border with South Africa: It must be remembered that we too struggled against white minority rule and in our young years we continued helping South Africa outing the whole country in a harm’s way.

In a case of parallels, the apartheid South African government supported the Rhodesian Front led by Ian Smith. “Given that racial discrimination and the denial of political rights to the black majority were common elements in South Africa and Southern Rhodesia [as the country was initially known], the ANC and Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (Zapu) had a strong sense that they were fighting a common enemy,”

Zapu helped MK recruits to cross the border to reach their camps further north, in Tanzania and Zambia. Military co-operation between Zapu and the ANC became so enmeshed, a joint High Command was formed. Still all this was Zimbabwe’s attributes to the fight against apartheid.

The truth presents a very different picture of relations between Zanu-PF and the ANC from the one projected by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his eulogies after Magufuli’s death in Tanzania b
Ramaphosa told the crowd in the Tanzania a list of countries which helped South Africa fight apartheid but did not mention Zimbabwe. Again that omission was not bother us as a nation but comments by many in the opposition corners made this response imperative.

Again during the late Mugabe’s funeral in at Mugabe’s official memorial service Ramaphosa said,, “Mugabe was a friend of the ANC, a friend of the people of South Africa, who stood by us during our darkest hour and was unwavering [in] support when our people were suffering under the yoke of apartheid.”
And at a later memorial service for Mugabe in Pietermaritzburg he said Mugabe had been prepared to sacrifice much for the freedom of South Africa.

“He was prepared to risk the fortunes and infrastructure of their own country so we in South Africa could be free. He was prepared to give free passage to Umkhonto we Sizwe soldiers to come through Zimbabwe and launch operations in South Africa knowing well he would risk reprisals from the apartheid government.

“Did he flinch or hesitate? Not Mugabe, he was prepared to support us to the end. He was an African patriot, [he] believed [in the] right of self-determination of African people.”

As a result of  Zimbabwe’s support for ANC in 1987 South African apartheid soldiers infiltrated into Zimbabwe and bombed a flat they believed ANC cadres were hiding. As a result  Tsitsi Marechera died in that bomb blast in Avondale. President Robert Mugabe, Ministers Enoch Skala, Maurice Nyagumbo and Emmerson Mnangagwa consoled Dambudzo Marechera at the site of the bomb blast that killed his sister Tsitsi in May 1987 at Earl’s Court, Harare.

This was not only the attacks we got from South Africa. As reported by the Herald “This morning, hours after South African commandos descended on this capital, glass and rubble littered Angwa Street in the downtown business district. All of it was from the shattered white cement building that had housed an office of the African National Congress”

Again  “Away from the heart of the capital, in the Ashdown Park suburb of Harare, a house belonging to the African National Congress had been reduced to rubble, with only part of a side wall left standing.” The press reported the incident

“Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, who denounced the raids and called for mandatory economic sanctions against South Africa, visited the sites of the destruction this afternoon.

Mr. Mugabe said four suspects had been arrested in connection with the attacks and that explosives, communications equipment and vehicles had been captured from the raiders. No A.N.C. Casualties Reported”

In 1985  South Africa threatened to send its troops into Zimbabwe in pursuit of South African guerrillas. This marked a major increase in tension between the two countries. South Africa’s warning, issued followed a series of five land-mine explosions near the northern town of Messina close to the Zimbabwe border. South Africa has accused Zimbabwe of harboring guerrillas of the African National Congress and allowing them to cross the Limpopo River into South Africa, where the ANC was outlawed.

[The ANC claimed responsibility
The then Zimbabwe’s Cabinet minister for security cde Emerson Mnangagwa said that the nation will defend itself against any attack by South Africa. Zimbabwe put its liberty it’s peace online in defence of ANC.
Because of the aggression Zimbabwe arrested South African spies Kevin Woods, Michael Smith and Philip Conjwayo these were arrested in Zimbabwe in connection with the bombing that killed the driver of the car transporting the bomb and injured several ANC members. Woods, Smith and Conjwayo were sentenced to death and their sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment by the Supreme Court.

The three were recruited by the South African intelligence service after 1980 to carry out destabilisation activities in Zimbabwe. In the 1980s Zimbabwe became an important area of operation for the ANC particularly for meetings. The South African government and its surrogates began attacking ANC houses and people in Zimbabwe.

For instance in May 1987 Tsitsi Chiliza  Marechera a Zimbabwean citizen married to an ANC member was killed by a booby trapped television set intended for Jacob Zuma. The ANC office in Harare was hit by a rocket and in January 1988 a car bomb injured three ANC members in Bulawayo. On 21 April 1994 Woods, Smith and Conjwayo were granted South African citizenship by the apartheid government just before the fall of apartheid. After the fall of apartheid their release became a source of contention between the South African government and the Zimbabwean government. Nelson Mandela failed to persuade the Zimbabwean government to release them on a state visit in 1997 and on other subsequent appeals. Thabo Mbeki who succeeded Mandela as the president of South Africa also failed to secure their release. In 2006 all three were released by the Zimbabwean government on humanitarian grounds. Smith returned to South Africa while Conjwayo chose to stay in Zimbabwe.

Again it should be mentioned that Zimbabwe delayed its land redistribution programs because it did not want to disturb the freedom of South Africa. The role Zimbabwe played in South Africa’s freedom is immeasurable  and cannot be rubbed off by a none mention at a funeral.

It is petty and childish to take that comment or lack of it as a sign of ungratefulness.
Human rights advocate Archbishop Desmond Tutu recognised the collective effort it took to end apartheid. “In South Africa, we could not have achieved our freedom and just peace without the help of people around the world,” he wrote on Huffington Post, the American news site, “who through the use of non-violent means, such as boycotts and divestment, encouraged their governments and other corporate actors to reverse decades-long support for the apartheid regime.”

The late President Robert Mugabe once said “Zimbabwe will not be deterred from rendering assistance to the liberation movements of South Africa in the form of political, material and moral support.”

“In order to guarantee peace and security in the region, the international community should take immediate steps to isolate the South African regime by imposing comprehensive, mandatory sanctions.”

Pertaining to the attack in Harare then Security officials declined to indicate how or when the South African raiders infiltrated the Zimbabwean capital, which is 330 miles from the South African border. Mr. Mugabe said the four suspects who had been captured “are now helping the police with the investigation.”

The relationship between ZANU PF and ANC is not questionable. The relationship between Zimbabwe and South Africa cannot be measured by a presidential omission. President Ramaphosa did not cause a diplomatic gaffe Zimbabwe understood that it was a mere omission and not a deliberate way of showing ingratitude.

Shame on those who wanted to create a stunt and a scene out of nothing. The thinking of those celebrating the nine mention of Zimbabwe is destructive and they are not patriotic.
Our President did not see anything wrong in the omission   Cde Ramaphosa remains a good friend of Zimbabwe. Again our help was not with strings attached. It was our own conviction and serious revulsion to apartheid.

Source – Dr Masimba Mavaza