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African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula has been slammed for his rhetorical utterances following ZANU-PF’s election victory in Zimbabwe’s “chaotic” election. Ringisai Chicohomero, a political analyst with The Institute for Security Studies (ISS), who was in Zimbabwe for the election, tells BizNews that Mbalula’s celebratory statements are deflecting from the real issues. And he warned that it is “very much likely” than many more illegal and legal migrants will be flocking to South Africa, to Botswana, to Zambia and other Southern African Development Country (SADC) countries. He says South Africa cannot be trusted to be an independent or neutral arbiter as the Southern African region sits with the “headache” of deciding how to respond to the South African Development Community (SADC) denouncement of the electoral process. “…most of the Southern African countries, like any country, have shortcomings when it comes to elections. So this is a direct implication on the next round of elections. So whatever they do now can be precedent-setting. So they have to be treading very carefully.” – Chris Steyn
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Relevant timestamps from the interview
- 00:09 – Introductions
- 00:22 – Ringisai Chicohomero on voting in the Zimbabwe and what he experienced
- 04:16 – If the election results are a done deal and if anything can be done
- 06:57 – The Interpretation of President Ramaphosa’s attendance at the inauguration
- 09:11 – What’s next?
- 11:54 – Any hope that the pre-election talk of reform and transformation will be translated into action under this Government over the next five years
- 14:38 – Conclusions
Highlights from the Interview
African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula has been slammed for his rhetorical utterances following ZANU-PF’s election victory in Zimbabwe.
Ringisai Chicohomero, a political analyst with The Institute for Security Studies (ISS), who was in Zimbabwe for the election, tells BizNews Mbalula’s celebratory statements are deflecting from the real issues.
And he warned that it is “very much likely” that many more illegal and legal migrants will be flocking to South Africa, to Botswana, to Zambia and other surrounding Southern African Development Country (SADC) countries.
“…what is concerning is the kind of utterances…that we have seen from President (Cyril) Ramaphosa, the utterances that we have seen mostly from the Secretary General of the ANC, Fikile Mbalula, who has really gone all out…I would say crying more than the bereaved or celebrating more than the betrothed in the way that they are declaring that ZANU-PF is the legitimate winner, that there is no space for puppets, that there is an anti-imperial drive. You know, all the kind of rhetoric in the narrative that really does not deal with substantive issues. Actually, they deflect on the real issues…and move on to this hyperbole and hacked and overused narratives around neo-imperialism and the West against the liberation movement and stuff.
“So for me that is what is worrying because then you cannot trust South Africa to be an independent or neutral arbiter in the process, even when the (SADC) report is being discussed, then you already know the lens that South Africa is bringing to the table when they’re going to be talking about that report. This is not a neutral lens, this is a very tainted lens with a clear bias to why it’s supporting the status quo and ZANU-PF.”
Chicohomero also describes the “chaos and unpreparedness” he encountered during the election. “Now, this is quite unprecedented, especially for a country and an institution that prides itself for being very efficient to quote the chief electoral officer, they are meticulous. This was out of character.
“When we read the SADC report, it’s really nothing that was thumbsucked. It’s what we came across…I still feel that there was some method to the madness, that this was calculated…
“So, all this really created an atmosphere of, I would say, unfairness towards the electorate who might rightfully feel disenfranchised by this process.”
Nevertheless, Chicohomero says, the outcome of the election is now “a done deal” because Nelson Chamisa’s Citizens Coalition For Change (CCC) has abandoned plans to legally challenge the poll results.
“And I think the region itself finds itself in a bind of sorts where they have to figure out what happened. I think the problem here is the SADC report is unprecedented in the way that it described…the processes in Zimbabwe and coming short of actually declaring the election unfree and unfair and not credible.
“I think the troika is sitting with a headache to say how do we proceed now? Do we call for an extraordinary summit? Do we, you know, how do we sanction Zimbabwe? And…, bearing in mind that most of the Southern African countries, like any country, have shortcomings when it comes to elections. So this is a direct implication on the next round of elections. So whatever they do now can be precedent-setting. So they have to be treading very carefully.
“But what is really open to the Triple C is the political options…trying to go on a regional offensive to try and build up and drum up support around some form of dialogue. The present moment is difficult to see the form and shape that this dialogue will take. But I think that is where the space is now. Only some political conversations and political pressure.”
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