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Discord In ANC Over Zim Crisis

DISAGREEMENT has emerged between South African President Thabo Mbeki and his governing African National Congress (ANC) on the political crisis in Zimbabwe heightened by the failure by electoral authorities to release results of last month’s presidential poll.

Mbeki on Saturday claimed there was no crisis in Zimbabwe and urged people to remain patient until the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission announced the outcome of the election which opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai claims to have won.

ANC president Jacob Zuma and secretary-general Gwede Mantashe yesterday contradicted Mbeki’s position and expressed apprehension at the post-election impasse in Zimbabwe.

Zuma told South Africa’s Chambers of Commerce that the region could not afford Zimbabwe’s deepening crisis, adding that the situation was more worrying “given the reported violence” that erupted in the country.

“We once again register our apprehension about the situation in Zimbabwe. The delay in the verification process and the release of results increases anxiety each day,” Zuma was quoted by the international press as saying.

Zuma ousted Mbeki as the president of ANC last December and has moved gradually to increase his influence.

Mantashe in an interview with a South African radio station bemoaned the delay in the release of the presidential election results, but insisted that there was no difference between how the ANC and Mbeki view the situation in Zimbabwe.

“I’m not sure what the difference is in the stance,” Mantashe said. “What we are expressing as the ANC is that it is unfair to sit on the presidential election results for so long, and it is becoming even worse when you begin to talk of a rerun because the basis for a rerun should be the results, and therefore the results should be released so that any decisions taken are actually based on the factual situation on the ground.”

He said delaying to release the results was tantamount to undermining the will of the electorate.

“And as the African National Congress we are not mediators, we are a political party, a liberation movement which has an interest in ensuring that liberation movements are never projected as not respecting democracy once they ascend to power.”

Mantashe said the ANC was seeking a meeting with Zanu PF and opposition parties to try and resolve the political deadlock.

Mbeki was appointed by Sadc in March last year to facilitate dialogue between Zanu PF and the
MDC to ensure that last month’s elections would not be disputed. — Staff Writer.

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