The Government of Zimbabwe on Friday attacked South Africa’s opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema for openly declaring his support for protestors in Zimbabwe who ground the country to a halt last week.
“Never be governed by fear,” Malema said to the people of Zimbabwe, adding “We are on the side of the people of Zimbabwe, never be governed by fear. The people always win like you did in the 80s. Victory is certain,” said Malema.
The remarks have not gone down well in Zimbabwe with Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Christopher Mushohwe saying Malema’s “laughable attempt at turning himself into a trans-border politician on behalf of reactionary forces in the region and beyond”, exposed his agenda and ignorance of regional politics.
“Zimbabweans cannot understand how a politician who purports to support land restitution in his own country, South Africa, and in other countries in the region affected by settler colonialism, can suddenly turn around to support and celebrate politics and political activities which white activists of erstwhile settler landowners in Zimbabwe represented by Ben Freeth find hospitable.
“Zimbabweans, too, cannot understand how a politician pretending to be on the side of the still disinherited Southern African peoples can be at one with politics that win the active support of ambassadors of countries whose role in the history of colonisation and raping of the continent of Africa is a matter of poignant, painful record,” he said.
“Mush worse, Zimbabweans who cherish peace and reject politics of violent and destructive demonstrations as shown by their rejection of the failed lockdown called for this week, cannot understand, let alone appreciate, how a politician masquerading as an economic freedom fighter sides with fringe political upstarts bent on reversing the gains of the liberation struggle.”
“A politician who cannot appreciate that Zimbabwe has been under crippling illegal Western sanctions for more than a decade and half, simply for recovering stolen land from its people, cannot be expected to be an ally of the Zimbabwean people.
“Nor can he be expected to understand the dynamics that shape the politics of our country, let alone to be counted upon as a useful voice in the continuing struggle we are bound to win,” Dr Mushohwe said.
Malema visited Mugabe in 2010 while he was still president of the ANC Youth League. He at time lashed out at Zimbabwean opposition party MDC, then led by Morgan Tsvangirai, saying “I am visiting my friends”. At that time he also made it very clear that he was impressed by the way that Mugabe had taken land from white farmers.
Meanwhile the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COASTU) on Wednesday broke ranks with the African National Congress on the protests in Zimbabwe, by also expressing its support for the protesters.
“Cosatu urges the people of Zimbabwe to continue with the struggle and not to watch idly while the government tramples upon the rights of workers and ordinary citizens,” Cosatu international relations secretary Bongani Masuku said.
Zimbabweans had tolerated their government’s violation of their rights for too long, he said. “Such co-ordinated mass action is the only language that unresponsive regimes understand,” Masuku said. Nehanda Radio