Zimbabwean professor emphasises need for SA to safeguard its democracy

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Zimbabwean Professor Ibbo Mandaza has emphasised the need for South Africa to safeguard its democracy, the independence of institutions and to ensure that the military conforms to the constitution. Mandaza was speaking at the ANC’s OR Tambo political school on the lessons that South Africa can learn from Zimbabwe’s post-colonial history.

Mandaza outlined the status quo in his country.  “In Zimbabwe sadly the executive is unaccountable and is pervaded by the military.  The legislature is not vibrant at all, it is largely an outcome of rigged elections since 2000, has been a major feature in which the military has been involved in all the elections ever since. You have a judiciary that is hardly independent when it should be the soul of the nation is a captured judiciary the commissions the gender commissions the peace and security commission all these are pervaded by the military, we have a mess in effect. ”

ANC Veteran Pallo Jordan says the ruling party’s recent visit to Zimbabwe should be seen as good neighborliness. Jordan says one of the lessons that should be learnt by the two countries post-democracy is that there are certain matters that should be treated as regional rather than national ones.

He says Zimbabwe’s challenges have been exacerbated by the fact that it was left to its own devices even though it was already in crisis in 1994.

“You don’t have to be asked to help when your neighbour’s house is on fire. Your neighbour may well say no, I can handle this,  no need to come and help me but your neighbour should never interpret the offer for help as an attempt to interfere and I think unfortunately that is the spirit that the comrades have received the interventions on the part of the ANC.  The ANC delegation came to Zimbabwe not to interfere in Zimbabwean affairs but seeing the house on fire.”