/ 15 April 2008

ANC: Zimbabwe is in a state of crisis

Zimbabwe is in a state of crisis, the African National Congress (ANC) national working committee (NWC) said on Monday.

”The ANC regards [the ruling] Zanu-PF as an ally. However, it is concerned with the state of crisis that Zimbabwe is in and perceives this as negative for the entire Southern African Development Community [SADC] region,” said spokesperson Jesse Duarte following an NWC meeting in Cape Town.

This is contrary to President Thabo Mbeki’s pronouncement that the stand-off in the Southern African country does not constitute a crisis.

Duarte said the ANC accepts that Mbeki, who has been re-appointed by SADC to mediate between the Zanu-PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions, ”has cause to remain neutral”.

The ANC again called on the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to announce the election results without delay. A run-off suggests a lack of respect for the will of the people of Zimbabwe and would be ”undemocratic”.

”The ANC will contact the Zanu-PF and the MDC separately with a view to hold party-to-party dialogue on the situation in Zimbabwe,” she said.

The NWC also discussed the ANC Youth League’s national conference, which was adjourned last week and indefinitely postponed after being unable to finish its work or confirm the election results of its top five leaders after five days.

The NWC said the ANC endorses the results of the youth league top-five leadership positions announced at the conference, prior to it being postponed.

However, ”the ANC wishes to state categorically that it does not accept the abhorrent and negative behaviour displayed by members of the youth league at the conference”.

”A senior delegation of NWC members will meet the youth league to give guidance and assist in organising a follow-up conference in June to conclude their business,” Duarte said.

The league elected its top five leaders, with Limpopo’s Julius Malema as president, during the five-day congress in Bloemfontein.


Meanwhile, Zimbabwe opposition supporters face the prospect of a heavy crackdown by security forces on Tuesday if they heed a call to launch a general strike to show their disgust at long-delayed election results.

Police have been deployed throughout the country in anticipation of the strike called by Morgan Tsvangirai’s opposition in a bid to pressurise the country’s electoral commission (ZEC) to release presidential election results.

Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has been accused by police of trying to cause mayhem with the strike, launched on the back of a failed court bid to force the release of the March 29 presidential poll.

National police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said police had been deployed throughout the country and ”those who breach the peace will be dealt with severely and firmly”.

”The call by the MDC-Tsvangirai faction is aimed at disturbing peace and will be resisted firmly by the law-enforcement agents, whose responsibility is to maintain law and order in any part of the country,” he said.

The impact of any general strike is likely to be muted as unemployment is already running at more than 80%.

Previous stayaways called by the opposition and its allies in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions have flopped with few of the people still in work wanting to risk a day’s pay. — Sapa, AFP