At the same time, political analysts said yesterday that the differences had nothing to do with national interest, but the “politics of survival” on the part of some Zanu-PF bigwigs who were allegedly opposed to national dialogue.
This comes as President Emmerson Mnangagwa has once again reached out to the opposition, as he bids to find solutions to Zimbabwe’s deepening political and economic crises.
Zanu-PF insiders who spoke to the Daily News yesterday said it was clear that there were significant differences in the ruling party over President Cyril Ramaphosa’s and the ANC’s attempts to mediate in Zimbabwe’s crises. “It’s clear that we are not speaking with one voice, and this is confusing both party members and our friends outside the country.
“What is more concerning is that the differences are playing out in the open, needlessly so – with some comrades resisting the coming in of the South Africans, while others have welcomed them.
“I do hope ED (Mnangagwa) gets on top of this soon, as this can quickly become a big problem,” one of the sources, a senior Zanu-PF official, told the Daily News.
On Friday, the former liberation movement’s secretary for external affairs, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi – who is also a former Cabinet minister – pooh-poohed the ANC’s mediation efforts, adding that it had no mandate to meet the opposition and civil society organisations.
However, Zanu-PF’s secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu, told the Daily News on Sunday at the weekend that the ruling party was happy for the ANC to meet the opposition in future, as this was in line with their principles post the 2017 military coup which ousted the late former president Robert Mugabe from power.
But Mumbengegwi told the media that there was no need for the ANC to act as a mediator, because there was “no crisis” in the country.
“The question of a sister party coming to the country of another sister party to establish bilateral relations with the opposition party is unheard of (as) that can only happen in the context of mediation, and mediation can only occur with the consent of the conflicting parties.
“But where there is no crisis, there is no real need for mediation and, therefore, no purpose will be served by trying to play a mediatory role.
“It is common knowledge that some individuals in our sister party, the ANC, had been made to believe that there was a crisis in Zimbabwe.
“We are not sure how they became convinced with that. But some of them came here with that notion. However, in our meeting, the notion of a crisis in Zimbabwe was quickly dismissed,” Mumbengegwi said on Friday.
On his part, Mpofu, told the Daily News on Sunday that the ruling party was happy to engage with the opposition.
“Thank you for allowing me … to discuss the Zimbabwean question, whose major pivot of contestations of power have been both positively and maliciously fore-grounded, either in the interest of promoting genuine national development, or an artificial political crisis narrative.
“To this end, and in pursuit of our widened democratic space, courtesy of the values of the Second Republic, we welcome the proposal by the ANC to engage with other actors within the equation matrix of the said ‘Zimbabwean crisis’.
“You will recall that in 2008 we enabled dialogue to take place between ourselves and the opposition,” Mpofu told the Daily News On Sunday.
“This was a ground-breaking precedent to the future of political dialogue in our country.
“Therefore, beyond the ANC’s proposal to engage opposition parties and some civil society organisations working in the service of the regime change agenda is a continuity to the principle of engagement and re-engagement which we have been able to domesticate as part of the post-November 2017 transitional political culture,” Mpofu said further.
This comes after ANC bigwigs visited Harare last week for bilateral talks with Zanu-PF, which gave them the green light to meet with local opposition groups and other key stakeholders in future. The two former liberation movements were described as having been very candid and robust with each other in their heart-to-heart dialogue, which was held at the Zanu-PF headquarters in Harare.
Briefing the media, ANC secretary general Ace Magashule said the meeting with their Zanu-PF counterparts had gone well as the parties were “frank with each other”.
Meanwhile, respected University of Zimbabwe politics expert, Eldred Masunungure, told the Daily News yesterday that the apparent divisions in Zanu-PF over Pretoria’s and the ANC’s interventions had nothing to do with the ruling party’s ideology or principles.
“It’s a reflection of internal contradictions. They are divided on how to deal with the opposition and civil society.
“Some … know that a government of national unity (GNU), or anything which brings in opposition parties will block their chances of going back into Cabinet.
“These are power struggles, struggles to eat. They (some of the bigwigs) were removed from the feeding trough. I don’t think it’s about genuine ideological differences,” Masunungure said.
At the end of its visit last week, the ANC implored both Zanu-PF and the opposition to work together in the interest of the country, and to end Zimbabwe’s myriad challenges.
“We had very frank, open and robust discussions and we committed ourselves to introspection and renewal of our values. “We have agreed that as the ANC, we came here to engage with Zanu-PF and yes we have agreed that we will come back to meet other stakeholders or whoever you refer to … so that we understand and comprehend the challenges.
“We have received requests from Transform Zimbabwe political party, the United States ambassador, Simba Makoni, Zapu and the MDC Alliance … we agreed with Zanu-PF that it was important that we meet them.
“So we are going to arrange for our coming back to meet them,” Magashule said.
The meeting came as the calls for Mnangagwa to hold national talks with all key local stakeholders have now reached a crescendo – in the wake of Zimbabwe’s deepening political and economic crises.
South Africa and its leaders – including former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma – have in the past successfully mediated Zimbabwe’s political crises.
A decade ago, both Mbeki and Zuma helped to broker the stability-inducing 2008 government of national unity between former opposition giant Morgan Tsvangirai and former president Robert Mugabe – who are both late – following the hotly disputed 2008 presidential election.
Zuma also assisted in minimising Zimbabwe’s chaotic approach to the equally disputed 2013 national elections.