By Lovemore Ranga Mataire
SADC security and defence officials are on high alert following intelligence reports of heightened destabilisation activities in countries governed by former liberation movements.
Zimbabwe’s Defence Minister Dr Sydney Sekeramayi this week said the region was alive to covert plans by elements from some Western nations fomenting internal strife to effect regime change.
Although Dr Sekeramayi could not divulge the intricate details of the intelligence reports, it is understood that the same Western nations were pouring funds into the coffers of NGOs, civil society and opposition political parties to foment civil strife ahead of elections in Angola in August this year, Zimbabwe and Mozambique in 2018 and Botswana and South Africa in 2019 respectively.
Former liberation movements have always exchanged notes under the auspices of Former Liberation Movements of Southern Africa (FLMSA) comprising of Zanu-PF (Zimbabwe), ANC (South Africa), Swapo (Namibia), Frelimo (Mozambique), Chama Cha Mapinduzi (Tanzania) and MPLA of Angola.
Just last week, ruling parties of Botswana and South Africa held a meeting in Gaborone to introspect and chart the way forward ahead of general elections. The two neighbouring countries are scheduled to hold general elections in 2019.
Governing parties of the two countries have in recent years suffered a decline in electoral support with Botswana’s BDP declining by 6.56 percent in 2014 compared with its 2009 general election performance. South Africa’s ANC’s support also dropped to 54 percent in last year’s local government elections from 62.2 percent in a national vote two years ago.
Mozambique and Angola’s former liberation movements, Frelimo and MPLA, also met in Maputo last month to exchange notes on how to deal with challenges facing the two countries.
Deputy chairman of MPLA and the party’s candidate for the August elections, Joao Lourenco met Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and later the secretary general of Frelimo, Eliseu Machava.
Lourenco told the media the two political parties’ strengths lay in unity as adversaries of the two political parties were always strategising on ways of overthrowing former liberation movements out of power.
Dr Sekeramayi’s remarks came in the wake of recent developments in South Africa where opposition political parties, non-governmental organisations and civil society groups were advocating for the ouster of President Jacob Zuma for sacking Pravin Gordhan, the former finance minister, and other several ministers and deputies.
“The former colonial powers and the various other groups that were exploiting our resources have never been happy that we are independent. They did and are still doing everything in their power — politically, diplomatically and militarily — to deny us our nationhoods.
“They owned vast tracks of land and the mineral resources underground and so they are not happy with us, they have never been happy with us. They are in a permanent fight to negate what we are trying to do for the benefit of our people and hence the relentless attack on our countries,” said Dr Sekeramayi.
Dr Sekeramayi said former liberation movements must remain focused on the national goals of improving the social and economic lives of citizens so that external nefarious forces would not manipulate discontent over failure to deliver electoral mandates by fomenting strife.
He said given the constant exchange of intelligence and the shared historical bonds, it was virtually impossible for external nefarious forces to succeed in installing pliable regimes in the region.
Dr Sekeramayi urged regional governments to critically evaluate the challenges facing their peoples and come up with enduring interventions to improve their livelihoods.
On allegations that former liberation movements have been weakened by infiltration, Dr Sekeramayi said infiltrators would be exposed and weaned out of revolutionary movements.
“We must always make sure that the machinations by the enemy don’t succeed. There is a lot that unites us and liberation movements must always remain vigilant so that we are able to identity infiltrators and take measures to deal with them. We also need to take a correct diagnosis of what the problem is.
“If you see a little boy with a big stomach, don’t say that he looks like his rich uncle who is a businessman. No, that kid would be suffering from kwashiorkor.
We need corrective treatment and solutions to the challenges we are facing. If we fail to undertake a proper scientific analysis and proper diagnosis, we may not be able to cure the malaises which sometimes affect liberation movements.”
He said while contestation of power was inevitable in democratic political entities, members needed to be guided by constitutional dictates within their political formation instead of pandering to the whims of erstwhile colonial powers.
Dr Sekeramayi said some Western nations were averse to a replication of Zimbabwe’s sweeping economic policies on land and indigenisation across the region. He said the demonstrations against President Zuma in South Africa and the so-called social movements in Zimbabwe must be viewed within the context of covert plans by some Western nations fearful of losing their ill-gotten colonial privileges.
He said former liberation movements possess immense organisational and intellectual capacity in dealing with possible threats seeking to undermine their continued hegemonic hold on power.
Ahead of Zimbabwe’s 2018 harmonised elections, Dr Sekeramayi said Zanu-PF cadres must burry petty personality differences and focus on enunciating the revolutionary party’s policies that have seen the country moving towards owning its own resources.
“It is extremely important that we remain focused on the national goals of making sure that we are able to improve the social economic life of our people,” he said.