By Nomalanga Moyo
A senior official has indicated that the Zimbabwe government could intervene in neighbouring Mozambique following reports of a renewed RENAMO insurgency, which has already claimed the lives of at least 58 people.
International press last week quoted Foreign Affairs deputy minister Christopher Mutsvangwa as saying that Zimbabwe could intervene in Mozambique.
Mutsvangwa is reported as having told the British Broadcasting Corporation that “it will be misguided for RENAMO to bring instability and expect Zimbabwe to watch.”
Tensions are said to be rising between the Mozambican government troops and the rebels, leading to speculation that this could escalate into a crisis that could suck in neighbouring countries.
Following Mutsvangwa’s remarks, MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai told the NewsDay newspaper that Zimbabwe could not afford to intervene in the Mozambican crisis and suggested that the two parties should talk instead.
“We do not have the capacity to launch another military intervention in Mozambique,” Tsvangirai reportedly said before adding: “I think the Mozambican issue is an internal matter which should be resolved through dialogue.”
The former prime minister has already been criticised for his remarks by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who felt that the latter did not have the mandate to speak about what the country could or couldn’t do.
Political commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said he did not think Zimbabwe was seriously considering any military intervention in Mozambique. Ngwenya said firstly, he did not believe that the RENAMO rebels had the capacity to sustain their insurgency.
“The only problem I see arising is when ZANU PF then uses this insurgence as an excuse to re-invest in more military hardware on the pretext that they are defending the borders with Mozambique,” Ngwenya said.
Ngwenya added that if there was any intervention in Mozambique, it can only be done through either the African Union or the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
“Any intervention would have to be as part of a resolution by these two bodies, it’s not a question of ZANU PF and the Mozambican government phoning each other to arrange an intervention. It doesn’t work like that.
“Our parliament will have to also debate the costs involved. We need water, electricity and food here in Zimbabwe and we don’t need to intervene on matters that really do not require our intervention, Mozambique can manage without us,” Ngwenya added.
RENAMO was formed in the 1970s and encouraged by the then white-ruled Rhodesia’s intelligence service, which recruited Mozambicans opposed to liberation movement FRELIMO.
When white rule ended in Zimbabwe in 1980, RENAMO was adopted by South Africa’s apartheid military to try to thwart black nationalism on borders from Angola to Mozambique. SW Radio Africa