‘ANC’s Support for Mnangagwa reflects geopolitical realities in Southern Africa’

The endorsement of Zimbabwe’s disputed election and support for Emmerson Mnangagwa’s victory by the African National Congress (ANC) should be viewed through the lens of geopolitical governance strategies, according to Dr Gorden Moyo.

Dr Moyo, the Director of Zimbabwe’s Public Policy and Research Institute (PPRIZ) and also a former Cabinet Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals in Zimbabwe,  conveyed this viewpoint to journalists last Friday at the Bulawayo Media Centre during a discussion on “Zimbabwe’s disputed elections – what role can the media play in the post-election era?”

His remarks come after questions were raised about why the Zimbabwean government, as well as other African governments, questioned the ‘glaring’ election report compiled by the SADC Election Observer Mission (SEOM) on Zimbabwe’s August 23 election, which fell short of local, regional and international standards.

Dr Moyo stated the Zimbabwe election was part of a larger picture in protecting the south African country’s alliance with countries in the Global East.

“The bigger issue was that stakes were so high. The election in Zimbabwe was an election that is part of the world’s geopolitics, geoeconomics, and geostrategies,” claimed the former minister, adding that those who fund the ruling Zanu PF party have vested interests in making sure Zimbabwe remains within their sphere of influence at all costs.

“These same people funding or financing the ruling party in (Zimbabwe) are the same people that are financing ANC and the other liberation movements. So those liberation movements have this obligation, by virtue of their boss who is financing them, to support their colleague to remain within the orbit.”

Dr Moyo acknowledged that endorsing a disputed election was “a real shocker” for South Africa, which is supposed to be a paragon of virtue and democracy in Africa since Nelson Mandela’s time, indicating the influence of geopolitics.

“South Africa’s economy is 10 times larger than the economy of the whole 16 SADC countries. In fact, it has been the largest economy in Africa until two to three years ago, when Nigeria decided to rebase its GDP and calculated everything to become larger than South Africa, but otherwise, South Africa in terms of infrastructure, economy, trade investment, has been large and South Africa is supposed to be the leader of SADC,” said the researcher.

“When you say SADC has gone to a country, in reality it is South Africa, which is sending SADC because that is what the law of economic international relations and politically international relations say. So then when South Africa is against its own report, you know that the stakes are high. This is somebody else who is behind it.”

Dr Moyo said a look into South Africa’s endorsement of Mnangagwa may not have been a decision taken by its president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Ramaphosa is part of the large BRICS and there we have Beijing and the Kremlin (China and Russia’s capital cities respectively) who are positioning themselves to make sure the world becomes a multipolar system, where they are part of the global powers,” he said, explaining that China and Russia would want every vote at the United Nations General Assembly.

BRICS is a group of major emerging economies led by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

“They want Zimbabwe to be lining up behind them. China and Russia want South Africa, if South Africa cannot lie behind them, it must stand aside and say, ‘I am neutral or something else’ and in diplomatic language, once you say that it means taking the position of that which is being attacked,” Dr Moyo said, presenting a critical analysis of South Africa’s alignment with Zimbabwe.

“South Africa was aligning itself with BRICS, particularly with Beijing, which has invested in Lithium in Zimbabwe. By the way, Zimbabwe is the largest producer of lithium in Africa and the fifth producer of lithium all over the world.”

Because lithium is used to produce batteries, the former minister stated that it is a crucial resource in smart energies, where everyone with lithium has control over the future. 

“So China has got this and has Zimbabwe on its side and South Africa must play the ball,” said Dr Moyo, noting that Zambia, which is current SADC Chair of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, was not part of that BRICS league and consequently facing criticism.

“Zambia is also trying to restructure its debt with the rest of the multilateral and bilateral institutions plus other international creditors. That is why Zambia will stand there and say, “Ok, we are not part of this, we have some other ideas.” They are not part of that league so geopolitics and geoeconomics are behind this criticism against the SEOM report,” he said.

“It’s beyond South Africa but there were geoeconomic governance issues around it. I hope I’ve made some sense here.” 

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