Tensions rise in South Africa over Zanu PF involvement in ANC election campaign




Obert Mpofu
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In a controversial move that has sparked outcry from opposition parties, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has extended an invitation to Zimbabwe’s Zanu PF to participate in its last-minute campaign rallies leading up to the May 29 elections.

Reports emerged last week quoting Zanu PF secretary-general Obert Mpofu confirming the ruling party’s participation in the ANC’s electioneering efforts.

Earlier this year, Zanu PF, ANC, and other liberation movements in the southern African region convened in Victoria Falls to strategize on maintaining power.

The news of Zanu PF’s involvement in mobilizing votes for the ANC has triggered anger among opposition parties in South Africa, who fear the potential for election rigging.

“The ANC is bringing Zimbabwe’s Zanu PF to interfere with South Africa’s elections,” read a statement from the Democratic Alliance (DA), a prominent opposition party.

“In its desperate attempt to cling to power, the ANC has invited Zanu PF to join its election campaign. Zanu PF has a history of rigging Zimbabwe’s elections, and its interference in South Africa will jeopardize our nation’s future. The DA is taking action to stop this.”

Zanu PF, which has held power in Zimbabwe since 1980, has faced accusations of electoral fraud, allegations the party vehemently denies. Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa has consistently contested the results of last year’s disputed elections, alleging they were rigged in favor of Zanu PF.

In a letter addressed to South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) dated May 10, the opposition African Transformation Movement (ATM) expressed strong opposition to Zanu PF’s involvement in South Africa’s electoral processes.

ATM President Vuyo Zungula highlighted Zanu PF’s history of electoral malpractices and voter fraud, emphasizing the risk it poses to the legitimacy and credibility of South Africa’s electoral system.

The Build One South Africa leader, Mmusi Maimane, also voiced objections to plans involving Zanu PF in electoral campaigns.

When reached for comment, Zanu PF secretary-general Obert Mpofu referred inquiries to party spokesperson Christopher Mutsvangwa and information director Farai Marapira. However, attempts to obtain a response from Mutsvangwa and Marapira were unsuccessful as they are reportedly out of the country.

Political analysts have supported the concerns raised by South African opposition parties, emphasizing Zanu PF’s record of undermining free and fair elections.

Maxwell Saungweme noted, “Zanu PF does not believe in free and fair elections, neither does it believe in free and fair monitoring and observation of elections.”

Kudakweshe Munemo echoed similar sentiments, emphasizing the need for objective engagement in ensuring free, fair, and credible elections, rather than allowing the interests of political parties to undermine democratic processes.

The controversy surrounding Zanu PF’s involvement in South Africa’s elections highlights broader challenges facing electoral integrity and democratic governance in the region.