Elias “Ace” Magashule, who is the secretary-general of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC), has characterised Zimbabwe as a “province” that has to be stabilised as it has just emerged from a contested election.
Magashule was speaking to South African media on Thursday morning soon after returning from Harare where he and his delegation met other senior ZANU PF officials on Wednesday. He said:
They will arrange a meeting. The meeting is not arranged by Zanu PF. So, those other political parties, we are going to meet them so that we are able to bring together the people of Zimbabwe recognising that they are coming from recent elections and we need peace and stability in that province.
Magashule said the ANC would make a follow-up meeting with opposition political parties and other stakeholders in Zimbabwe in the next two to three weeks.
He said ZANU PF did not object to the ANC’s desire to meet with other political parties and other stakeholders in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has been in crisis after crisis for over two decades and the situation was worsened by the November 2017 military coup and the July 30, 2018, disputed election.
The Zimbabwean government has used violence against protestors including the shooting of civilians by armed forces (in August 2018 and January 2019), alleged abductions, arrests and denial of bail for imprisoned activists.
The government, however, insists that there is no crisis the country, blaming social media users for allegedly peddling falsehood and waging “cyber attacks” against the State which “borders on subversion”.