Zimbabwe: ANC shoots down Tsvangirai call
Posted: Saturday, April 19, 2008
Sunday News Reporter
April 20, 2008
The ruling African National Congress in South Africa has shot down Movement for Democratic Change faction leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai's call that President Thabo Mbeki quits as mediator in Zimbabwe because he has allegedly failed to resolve the political situation in the country.
ANC spokesperson Ms Jessie Duarte said on Friday the ANC backed President Mbeki's efforts to broker a lasting solution in Zimbabwe.
Ms Duarte said the ANC had agreed that Mr Mbeki take charge of the mediation role after the Southern African Development Community (SADC) appointed him.
"The ANC supports President Mbeki on mediation. It was a SADC decision. The ANC is party to that SADC decision and we would not wish that to change," she told the South African media yesterday.
On Thursday Mr Tsvangirai, speaking to reporters in Johannesburg, said President Mbeki should step down as mediator.
"The reasons are obvious. The crisis in Zimbabwe has been going on endlessly. People are dying in Zimbabwe as we speak," Mr Tsvangirai was quoted as saying.
He said Mr Mbeki and SADC had a "moral responsibility" to take extraordinary steps to get the country out of the "political quagmire”.
But the ANC said in its latest online newsletter, ANC Today on Friday that it was totally behind President Mbeki in his mediation efforts in Zimbabwe and there were no divergent views between the party and the Government.
"A number of commentators have claimed a shift in the ANC's approach to the resolution of the problems in Zimbabwe, and suggested a divergence between the ANC position and the position of the South African government.
"Among the matters that have been seized upon to illustrate this, is the question of whether there is a crisis in Zimbabwe. President Mbeki was reported in Sunday newspapers to have said there was no crisis. The ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe was quoted the next day as saying there was indeed a crisis.
"Speaking to journalists at the United Nations on Wednesday, President Mbeki said his comments had been made in response to a specific question about whether there was a crisis in the electoral process. "The story that I said there is no crisis, I do not have the slightest clue of where it comes from. The question was about the elections - it was not about the socio-economic conditions in Zimbabwe or anything like that," he said.
"While the debate on whether or not there is a crisis rages on in the media, a look at the substantive issues reveals that the ANC's approach to Zimbabwe is consistent, and is reflected in the positions of the South African government.
"The ANC has consistently maintained that the people and leaders of Zimbabwe would need to resolve the challenges facing the country. South Africa and other countries in the region should offer whatever assistance they could to facilitate dialogue. For this reason, the ANC and its government have resisted calls to make pronouncements that would undermine its ability to engage meaningfully with all the parties,” it said.
The ANC said it regarded Zanu-PF as an ally and called on all parties in Zimbabwe to refrain from agitating for violence.
"All parties, including state institutions, should therefore desist from any actions that could heighten tension or lead to instability. Any complaints that any of the parties may have should be pursued through the available legal channels.
"The NWC (National Working Committee) made the point that its position on the elections in Zimbabwe should not be seen as favouring one party over another. The ANC regards ZANU-PF as a fraternal liberation movement, an ally in the effort to improve the lives of the people of Southern Africa,” it said.