thabo mbeki emmerson mnangagwa zimbabwe

Photo: ZBC Online / TW

Thabo Mbeki urges SADC to back Zimbabwe: ‘Their challenges are ours’

Former president Thabo Mbeki believes Zimbabwe is on track for a 180-degree change with Emmerson Mnangagwa’s policies.

thabo mbeki emmerson mnangagwa zimbabwe

Photo: ZBC Online / TW

Mbeki has resumed his active duties and paid Zimbabwe a visit on Sunday. The premise of the trip was centred around addressing challenges faced by the neighbouring country and assessing how South Africa can assist in fast-tracking change.

Thabo Mbeki pressures SADC to follow its promises

This was Mbeki’s first working visit to Zimbabwe during Mnangagwa’s reign as president. He told reporters after a two-hour meeting with Mnangagwa at the Zimbabwe State House, that “there was a lot of ground to cover”.

As reported by the Chronicle, Mbeki also took some time to hold a meeting with MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa and pay his respects to the late Robert Mugabe’s widow, Grace Mugabe.

The former president has been involved in the complex politics of Zimbabwe for a long time. In 2009, he was instrumental in the deal brokered by Zanu-PF and the MDC to form the Inclusive Government of Zimbabwe.

A decade later, at the start of the Mnangagwa era that has been widely criticised as counter-progressive and no different to that of former president Mugabe, Mbeki, however, still has some hope for rapid change in the country.

However, it will require the assistance of the whole Souther Africa region, he said.

“We all have a responsibility to help one another to the extent that we can do anything we can to assist brethren, the government and the country. I am very glad indeed with what the president and the country are doing to respond to the challenges, and I think it’s very important that the region comes behind the president and the country because the challenges of Zimbabwe are our challenges,” Mbeki said.

He also urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to fast-track its engagements with Western countries on the state of Zimbabwe’s sanctions, as it was promised in a resolution passed by the region’s committee on 25 October 2019.

“It’s an important decision and of course the region should make a follow up with countries like the United States so that we act on this issue. So this is part of what we were reflecting about,” he added.

‘Four SA presidents have been here, what else would you want?’

Mnangagwa chimed in on the visit from Mbeki, who was South Africa’s second democratic president. However, his reflection of the meeting held little sentiment. Taking on a defensive tone, the president of Zimbabwe said:

“Yes, of course, you know Zimbabwe and South Africa are very close friends. Former president [Kgalema] Motlanthe came to see us, visit us. President [Jacob] Zuma did come, President Cyril Ramaphosa came. So it was only former president Mbeki who had not come – so the four have been here, what else would you want?”

Emmerson Mnangagwa