WHILE President Jacob Zuma gave Youth League president Julius Malema the thumbs-up for his rock-star-like visit to Zimbabwe, the ANC is divided over it.
Officials at Luthuli House are concerned at the timing of the trip, which comes in the middle of Zuma’s latest bid to broker a political settlement in Harare.
Malema was asked to postpone his trip but was adamant that the league is a separate entity.
“President Zuma has no problem with my trip. When I left the meeting (he met the president on Wednesday) he asked me to pass his greetings to his comrade, President Mugabe,” Malema told City Press.
Malema visited Heroes’ Acre outside Harare yesterday and an ANC house “bombed by the boers”, he told us, adding that he was enjoying his visit to the country.
At a mass rally in Mbare, a township south of Harare, Malema basked in the limelight wearing a shirt emblazoned with Mugabe’s image. His delegation all wore the praise shirts which are an important political symbol for Mugabe.
Today he is visiting farms confiscated from white land-owners and mines which have been nationalised. Tomorrow he will meet with Mugabe at Zimbabwe House, the venue reserved for important state visits.
The youth league delegation will not meet the opposition Movement for Democratic Change because it was not a liberation movement, said Malema. “Who is the MDC? They enjoy the comfort of South Africa and from their luxurious, air-conditioned offices in Sandton they insult us.”
An MDC official said that Zanu-PF would make political capital out of the visit and use it to block ANC pressure on Mugabe; to marginalise the opposition on the continent; and to focus on nationalisation and sanctions against Zimbabwe’s ruling elite.
He warned: “When Malema comes back from Harare, expect him to speak like a younger Mugabe. Expect the push on nationalisation and land redistribution to intensify.”