The new secretary general of the African National Congress (ANC), Fikile Mbalula, has declared that his party will not support regime change in Zimbabwe and will never stop supporting the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).
The outspoken Mbalula, who formerly held the position of police minister, declared that the ANC would not be persuaded to move against its revolutionary ally, Zanu-PF. “As the ANC, we will not, on an ideological level, allow regime change to happen in Zimbabwe.”
The statement has angered many Zimbabweans at home and abroad, who have expressed their disappointment on social media, stating that Mbalula should shut up and stop interfering with Zimbabwe’s internal affairs. Most Zimbabweans feel that the current regime led by Emmerson Mnangagwa has caused enormous suffering to the people of Zimbabwe. Some went on to say that South Africans should not complain about Zimbabweans flocking into their country looking for opportunities.
Political commentators have argued that, in fact, South African politicians are happy with the current economic situation in Zimbabwe. Poverty and lack of productivity in Zimbabwe mean that South African companies will keep exporting their goods to Zimbabwe and will keep getting cheap labor from across the border.
During his media briefing in Johannesburg, Mbalula stated that “something is wrong in their own country, and if we help, there won’t be any Zimbabweans here when that country returns to its former self.” Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of Africa, and Zimbabweans did not migrate to other countries in large numbers because the economy was thriving, and people were employed.
Mbalula has urged the Americans and the British to reflect carefully on their sanctions on Zimbabwe. Economic sanctions from Western countries have deepened the suffering and poverty in Zimbabwe. He stated that “the British are aware of the Lancaster agreements.” They must adhere to that and contribute to Zimbabwe’s compensation for the land redistribution scheme.
The newly elected secretary general has the difficult task of preparing Luthuli House, led by newly re-elected party President Cyril Ramaphosa, to run in the general elections in 2024. On the other hand, in Zimbabwe, where President Emmerson Mnangagwa leads Zanu-PF, Nelson Chamisa’s Citizens’ Coalition for Change (CCC) is preparing to confront Zanu-PF in the 2023 presidential elections.
Both ZANU-PF and the ANC have been rocked by a number of scandals and corruption cases in the past 15 years. Young people in both countries now believe that these two sister parties are no longer good enough to take their southern African neighbors to the next level. Young people do acknowledge the important role played by these revolutionary parties in bringing independence; however, they now feel that new people with fresh ideas are needed to take both countries forward.
The ANC is still shaken by the farm gate scandal involving the newly reelected party president, Cyril Ramaphosa. The scandal divided the party, and it will take some time to stabilize the ruling party. In Zimbabwe, since the removal of Mugabe, the ZANU-PF party has not been the same. The party narrowly won the disputed elections.
Weak opposition political parties have been blamed for the continuation of these two revolutionary parties that have destroyed the gains of independence for the two southern African countries. It remains to be seen how both parties will fare in the upcoming elections, but both are expected to win.