Wednesday, 2 September 2020

SOUTH AFRICANS WILL NOT SOLVE OUR PROBLEMS, SAYS CHARAMBA


THE government reiterated yesterday that only Zimbabweans could resolve the country’s myriad challenges, warning that it was futile for anyone to expect outsiders to lift the nation out of its current difficulties. 

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba said it was disconcerting to see that some Zimbabweans expected the country’s problems to be resolved by outsiders. 

He also confirmed that Mnangagwa and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa had recently discussed and agreed that Pretoria’s special envoys to Harare would return to Zimbabwe — in addition to the country hosting a delegation of African National Congress (ANC) bigwigs. 

This comes as more and more people are urging Mnangagwa to hold much-needed national dialogue that includes the opposition, churches and civil society groups to help end Zimbabwe’s deepening crises.

“Zimbabweans must stop thinking that there is a messiah who is going to come from across the Limpopo or across the seas or from Mars to conquer the country’s problems. 

“There is no messiah who is going to come from anywhere. It is only us who can solve our problems through national structures that have been put in place to facilitate such activities.

 “South Africa is reacting as a friend and neighbour and not as the chair of the African Union (AU). In terms of diplomacy, there is what we call the principle of subsidiarity,” Charamba told the Daily News.
  
“This means that any emerging issues must be resolved at a regional level, that is Sadc, before being escalated to the AU (African Union) — otherwise what would be the role of sub-regional bodies? 

“We all know where the chair of Sadc is. It is in Botswana. So, let it be known that Ramaphosa’s response is coming from a brother, an ally and neighbour not the chair of the AU,” he said further. 

Charamba also said it was futile to expect South Africa to end Zimbabwe’s problems when the neighbouring country was also facing its own myriad challenges.

“I don’t know where this perception that South Africa is bigger than Zimbabwe is coming from when in actual fact it is the youngest nation in the region. 

“South Africa is not a donor state. South Africa has no capacity to save any government in the region.  They are grappling with the effects of being subjected to prolonged apartheid. They have their own issues to deal with,” Charamba further told the Daily News. 

“We can’t deal with politics of diversion from neighbours who have their own issues to resolve. Why are we burdening a state which is grappling with effects of prolonged apartheid? 

“The issue of special envoys was agreed by both presidents as part of a bilateral government-to-government interaction, as well as party-to-party engagements and they are not founded on falsehoods being peddled by western embassies or opposition parties. 

“The special envoys will come, fact-find and leave to give their analysis to Ramaphosa. But what must remain clear is that the solution to the country’s problems will only come from Zimbabweans. 

“This is already happening in terms of the restructuring of agriculture, through the management of Covid-19 and exchange rate and price stability. 

“It is quite disgusting that some individuals or members of the opposition have put their faith in neighbours. 

“Why would you look at neighbours and think that they have the capacity to solve your own issues, while ignoring national structures meant for you to raise such issues?” Charamba said. 

“Already we are seeing attempts by the opposition to cleanse its name before the envoys come into the country.

“If they are confident that the alleged abductions were not stage-managed by the opposition itself, why are they investigating their Bulawayo chairlady?

“The alleged abductions are actually pointing to the opposition and it is quite clear that they are being stage-managed by the very same opposition and then they expect South African envoys to come and find otherwise,” Charamba further told the Daily News. 

“They are going to be disappointed,” he added, referring to an internal MDC Alliance probe of its Bulawayo province women’s assembly chairlady Tendai Masotsha who was fingered in an alleged abduction of a journalism student ahead of the foiled July 31 protests. 

This comes as Ramaphosa has appointed special envoys — former South Africa vice president Baleka Mbete and ex-ministers Sydney Mufamadi and Ngoako Ramatlhodi — to try and end Zimbabwe’s decades-long political and economic crises. 

The emissaries have since held talks with Mnangagwa.  The appointment of the envoys came after authorities were accused of gross human rights violations, following the government’s heavy deployment of police and soldiers ahead of the foiled July 31 mass protests. 

Rights groups have claimed that dozens of opposition figures and activists have been tortured and assaulted in a retributive exercise by suspected security agents. 

On its part, the government has refuted the allegations — claiming instead that the opposition is allegedly working with foreigners to destabilise the country. 

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 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.
Both Mnangagwa and MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa have previously said that they were interested in dialogue, although nothing concrete has happened — primarily because of differences over the form and platform on which the talks should take place. 

On his part, Mnangagwa has been consistent that any talks with Chamisa should be held under the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) — where he regularly holds meetings with fringe opposition leaders.

 Chamisa himself has ruled out joining Polad — demanding instead direct dialogue with Mnangagwa. 

Yesterday, Charamba reiterated that Polad would remain the only platform for national dialogue and that Mnangagwa was happy to hold talks using that channel only.

“There is this notion that the coming of South African envoys will dismantle and illegitimise existing national communication structures such as Polad. 

“That line of thinking is misguided and has been adopted by individuals who have put their faith in foreigners for assistance. There is a craving to be run by a neighbour, a younger state for that matter. 

“President Mnangagwa’s door is always open for dialogue and this can only be done through the national structures that have been put in place,” Charamba said.


“Those who want to engage outside Polad will not be tolerated because in every nation there are structures, proper channels and protocols that have to be followed.


“Self-respecting Zimbabweans must know that we have national institutions for engaging each other,” he added. Daily News

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