BY SILAS NKALA
Civic society groups and political parties from Matabeleland have urged former South African president Thabo Mbeki to push for dialogue that will benefit Zimbabweans, instead of protecting the interests of Zanu PF.
Mbeki was in the country last week to explore the possibility of talks between Zanu PF and its opponents to resolve the intractable political and economic crisis in the country.
He promised to return to Zimbabwe before the end of the year to push for the dialogue.
Effie Ncube, a Bulawayo based civil society activist, said any efforts to find solutions to the myriad of problems facing Zimbabwe were welcome as long as they benefited the country, not sectional interests.
“Each attempt should be judged on its own merits and the experiences of the past. Zanu PF desperately needs to be rescued,” he said.
“ It plays brave but it is panicking in fear as the economy tumbles without a solution.
“Former president Mbeki’ s intervention should not seek to rescue Zanu PF but the people of Zimbabwe from Zanu PF.
“The current state of affairs is not sustainable. Zanu PF knows it. Mbeki knows it. All Zimbabweans know it.”
Abigaile Mupambi, the leader of This Constitution, said the talks must benefit ordinary Zimbabweans.
“Ordinary Zimbabweans are victims of all these tensions,” she said.
“To that end Mbeki’s efforts are welcome with anticipation that the dialogue focuses on rescuing the people of Zimbabwe, who are now trapped in between a hard surface and a big rock,” Mupambi said.
“Politicians are, therefore, urged to put aside their selfish egos and position the people’s interests first.”
However, Mthwakazi Republic Party leader Mqondisi Moyo said Mbeki’s intervention would not be effective because he was only focusing on Zanu PF and the MDC.
“Actually how can Mbeki be obsessed about Zanu PF and MDC yet he cannot fix the Matabeleland problem, which is the major reason why Zimbabwe is cursed as a nation,” Moyo said.
“This is the same Mbeki who mediated between two formations of MDC and Zanu PF in 2008 and his mediation did not bring lasting solutions to the country.”
He said the 2008 mediation led by Mbeki did not solve Zimbabwe’s problems as it only strengthened Zanu PF’s hold on power.
“He only came up with piecemeal arrangements and he failed to convince Zanu PF to implement electoral reforms, media reforms and security sector reforms,” he said.
“I view him as someone who is in the country to strengthen his relationship with Zanu PF this time through Mnangagwa, probably to get new business ventures.”
Moyo said the MRP was unhappy that leaders like Mbeki were not alive to the problems facing Matabeleland.
“Our disappointment emanates from the fact that ANC with its military wing Umkhonto WeSizwe (UMK) operated with Zapu and it’s military wing ZPRA, whereas Zanu PF worked with PAC to derail the independence of South Africa yet the same ANC government and Mbeki today regard Zanu PF as bedfellows,” he added.
“It is known that many UMK fighters were killed by the Zanu PF government soon after independence in Zimbabwe and some of them were incarcerated by the same Zanu PF government, people like (President Emmerson) Mnangagwa being the architects of the fall of Zapu and ANC working in cahoots with the West and the apartheid government in South Africa.”
Mbeki was the mediator in the talks that led to the formation of an inclusive government with late president Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.