ANC SG Mbalula under-fire for endorsing disputed elections in Zimbabwe
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula is under-fire from observers around the region for endorsing disputed elections in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe last week conducted arguably one of the worst elections in its history, marred by massive irregularities amid reports that the electorate was coerced to vote for Zanu-PF while ballot papers were submitted late in opposition strongholds.
Almost all international observers including the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the European Union contended that the plebiscite was not free and fair.
But Zanu-PF leader Emmerson Mnangagwa emerged as a winner in the process and entered his second term as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
He won with 52,6% against opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa’s 44%.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was yet to congratulate Mnangagwa, but Mbalula was quick to do so in a move that invited much criticism against him especially from Zanu-PF critics.
He started by urging the international community to allow Zimbabwe to settle her own disputes.
“Let Zimbabweans settle their own disputes through their constitutional mechanisms,” he said.
“Zanu-PF is supported by Zimbabweans. It is a fact they pulled big rallies in that country ,The only rallies we were shown is CCC.
“I support democracy. We need to support the democratic outcome and stop meddling in Zimbabwe’s affairs by way of seeking to subvert democratic outcomes. Lift sanctions so that Zimbabwe economy can flourish and Zimbabweans go and work in their country.”
Responding to Mbalula, youthful Namibian MP Inna Hengari asked: “Imagine if we all thought like this in SADC during apartheid.”
Hengari further slammed Namibian President Hage Geingob for endorsing Zimbabwe’s elections by congratulating Mnangagwa.
“…… we shouldn’t take lightly the President’s endorsement of Zimbabwe’s elections. @hagegeingob should have issued that statement in his capacity as Swapo President, not as Head of State. The rest of us firmly stand by the SADC EOM’s statement,” she said.
Prominent Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono said Mbalula’s sentiments were evidence enough that Zimbabweans should not expect help from the ANC.
“Zimbabweans should never expect help from South Africa’s ruling party, ANC because it has declared its full support for Zanu-PF and its corrupt rule.
“South Africans should also understand that reality when they start seeing millions of Zimbabweans coming to South Africa in a new wave starting from today.
“Our hospitals don’t work, our economy is dead, we have 95% unemployment and we have the highest inflation in the world.
“Your ruling party ANC supports the rot and corruption in our country. Naturally human beings will go where they get a chance to survive, and the nearest point is South Africa.
“When you have issues with illegal Zimbabweans, remember that it is the ANC responsible for it as articulated here regularly by its Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula,” he said.
South African opposition Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema acknowledged that Zimbabwe’s elections were peaceful but not free and fair.
“The EFF notes the election results of Zimbabwe, which were won by the Zanu-PF. The EFF is of the firm belief that the elections were not free and fair, but welcomes the fact that there was an absence of violence as an improvement, as elections in Zimbabwe are ordinarily characterised by violence,” Malema said.
Meanwhile, Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu has issued her congratulatory message to Mnangagwa saying:
“On behalf of the Government and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, on being re-elected as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.
“I am looking forward to continuing working together in fostering the historic, economic and diplomatic relations between Tanzania and Zimbabwe.”