Mantashe and Mugabe at Zanu-PF conference

2011-12-09 09:17
Mandy Rossouw
Bulawayo – ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe yesterday pledged the ANC’s support to Zanu-PF for the national elections in Zimbabwe, expected to take place next year.

At the opening of the Zanu-PF’s yearly national conference, Mantashe said the two parties have a common history that cannot be wished away.

“We belong together, we don’t have the luxury of thinking that we don’t,” Mantashe told the conference, which drew thousands of Zanu-PF delegates from across the country.

Zanu-PF and the ANC form part of the frontline states, which pride themselves as being ruled by former liberation movements.

“Our relationship is steeped in blood, the ANC wishes to affirm her commitment as a trust-worthy neighbour,” Mantashe said.

He pledged support for Zanu-PF for the elections, saying it is payback for the support Zanu-PF gave the ANC “when we needed it most”.

“The ANC will wait for Zanu-PF to come to us for advice about elections. Our teams stand ready to share experiences. You must do it now so that there is still time to change things before the elections,” Mantashe said, referring to the ANC’s recent election campaign for the municipal polls in May this year.

“It is important for us that Zanu-PF regains the lost ground and again represent the interests and aspirations of all Zimbabweans. We must fight the imperialist project because if it succeeds here, we are all in trouble.”

Mantashe also urged Zanu-PF to continue talking to “those who don’t agree with us”, referring to the MDC.South Africa is the mediator in the years-long conflict between Zanu-PF and the MDC.

When asked by City Press whether the ANC’s support for Zanu-PF does not complicate that process, Mantashe insisted the two processes are separate.

“That is government. We are liberation movements. The government was appointed by SADC to mediate, and we are liberation movements that have a history,” he said.

President Robert Mugabe called the Global Political Agreement (GPA), signed by Zanu-PF and the MDC, “illegal” and said elections must take place urgently to “restore democracy”.

Mugabe gave a two-and-a-half-hour-long keynote address which took the conference into the night.

He derided “imperialist forces” that want to rule Zimbabwe and took issue with the way Libya was dealt with by the United Nations (UN) and Nato.

Although he claims to be sad at the demise of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, he showed that Gaddafi was not the leader he purported to be.

“When we asked him [Gaddafi] to invest in Africa, he gave camels to some countries. Here in Zimbabwe we received four camels,” Mugabe said with a hint of sarcasm.