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ANC’s Fikile Mbalula dismisses talk of fresh poll in Zimbabwe and blocks OR Tambo school lecture

ANC’s Fikile Mbalula dismisses talk of fresh poll in Zimbabwe and blocks OR Tambo school lecture
ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula with a Zanu PF delegation led by Secretary-General Obert Mpofu. (Photo: X / @MbalulaFikile)

The African National Congress has stepped into Zimbabwe’s political landscape following the country’s disputed general elections on 23 August, declaring that there will not be fresh elections, as demanded by the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change. The ANC's Fikile Mbalula has also blocked a public lecture in Johannesburg to discuss the elections that was to be led top Zimbabwean academic Ibbo Mandaza.

ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula — who remained in Harare after President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s low-key inauguration on Monday — says it’s extremely unlikely there will be fresh polls in Zimbabwe following the 80-year-old’s controversial re-election last month.

After meeting Obert Mpofu, his Zanu-PF counterpart at the ruling party’s headquarters on Tuesday, 5 September, Mbalula said the probability of fresh polls being held in Zimbabwe was next to nothing despite the diplomatic offensive embarked on by the main opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party led by Nelson Chamisa.

Chamisa disputed the presidential election results announced by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, declaring Mnangagwa the winner with 52.6% against Chamisa’s 44%.

zim election

While regional and international monitors who observed Zimbabwe’s elections, including from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Union, European Union, the US’s Carter Center and the Commonwealth, among other bodies, discredited the polls in their preliminary reports, Mbalula said Zimbabwe was a sovereign state that determined its destiny.

“International observers have no mandate to cause the invalidation of polls, but whatever they would have raised will be used to perfect future elections,” Mbalula said.

Following Mnangagwa’s inauguration, Mpofu said the Mnangagwa administration was now getting down to work and was thankful for the ANC’s support.

The inauguration was snubbed by several African leaders, including SADC chairperson, Angolan President João Lourenço, and the regional bloc’s chairperson of the Troika Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, after Chamisa abandoned the legal route — citing judicial capture — to stop the inauguration of the Zanu-PF leader.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Nelson Chamisa’s CCC abandons legal challenge of Zimbabwe poll results

“We appreciate the support that is coming from the ANC. These are our all-time friends. As Zanu-PF, we take it that elections are over and we are now focused on developing our country,” Mpofu said.

CCC to continue diplomatic efforts

Mbalula and Mpofu’s remarks flew in the face of claims from Chamisa, who has dispatched envoys to regional leaders to seek diplomatic support for his call for fresh elections after describing the 23 August polls as a “gigantic fraud”.

CCC spokesperson Promise Mkwananzi said his party, after abandoning plans to mount a legal challenge, would continue on its diplomatic offensive in its quest to set aside Mnangagwa’s re-election. 

“We will continue to pile political and diplomatic pressure until our vote counts,” Mkwananzi said.

Meanwhile, prominent Zimbabwean lawyer Chris Mhike says fresh polls are practically and constitutionally possible should the opposition’s diplomatic offensive yield the desired results. 

“The circumstances envisaged for early elections under our Constitution include resignation or removal from office, in the case of the office of the president. A vote of no confidence in government by the Senate and National Assembly under section 109 of the Constitution, could also usher in fresh elections before the expiry of the five-year stretch.”

Mhike said although the chances of reversing the outcome of Zimbabwe’s polls through international pressure were doubtful following Mnangagwa’s inauguration, there was certainly some value in the opposition’s investment of energy and effort in diplomatic channels.

“The desire by progressive elements within government, for local as well as global legitimacy, could sway the executive arm of the state towards a restart through a fresh general election in the near future,” he said.

ANC in ‘delicate engagements’

In another development this week, the ANC, whose president, Cyril Ramaphosa, stands accused by Zimbabwe’s opposition and activists of prematurely endorsing Mnangagwa’s victory, has blocked a public lecture to discuss the elections that was set to be led by a top Zimbabwean academic, Ibbo Mandaza, in Johannesburg on Thursday.

In a letter written by Mbalula to the principal of the OR Tambo School of Leadership, the ANC said it was involved in “delicate engagements” over the political situation in Zimbabwe following the disputed polls.

“At the moment the leadership of the ANC is engaged in a number of delicate engagements regarding the situation in Zimbabwe. In this context, a public lecture, at this time, on what is clearly an ANC platform, would complicate these initiatives.

“It is in this context that we have requested that the lecture should not proceed on Thursday 7 September 2023. We invite you to engage with us further on the detail of these matters, and the possibility of the lecture being held in future, in a different format, and on a different platform,”  Mbalula wrote.

Immediately after receiving Mbalula’s letter, the OR School of Leadership announced that the public lecture had been postponed due to “unforeseen circumstances”.

Mandaza said: “It is unfortunate that Fikile Mbalula has decided to take this route, which is not supported by many in the ANC. He knows that what he is doing is wrong and not backed by reason or logic. I have a long relationship with David, and Mbalula knows this. I have done a lot of work with the OR Tambo School of Leadership, in fact the people within the ANC know me and my true position better than Mbalula. 

“The problem is that Mbalula thinks he can control academia. It’s bad. It’s unfortunate. Elections in Zimbabwe were not done properly and everyone knows that, and it’s only Fikile who wants to think otherwise. He thinks he can block the world from knowing that Zanu-PF stole the elections.
“They can’t stomach the fact that the SADC issued a report critical of the elections.  They have been trying to force [Nevers] Mumba to change the SADC report, but they have failed.
“This is not what the ANC is known for. It seems as if this is Mbalula’s thinking. He is doing the bidding for some in Zanu-PF. The truth is that Zanu-PF has to face the reality that the past elections were a farce.” DM

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    Well, Mbalula would say that, wouldn’t he? Wonder how much it cost to buy Nelson Chamisa’s silence.

  • Brad cupido says:

    History will judge the ANC harshly not only for Zimbabwe, Ukraine and their selective silence on Palestine but most condemningly for the way they ruined South Africa and its people.

    • Pall Catt says:

      Whenever there is a choice between good or bad, these clowns choose bad. Not just most of the time, EVERY time.

    • Kelsey Boyce says:

      But the thing is they just don’t care. They don’t care about a legacy, they don’t care about how they will be perceived in the future, and they certainly don’t care how people view them now. There is no moral compass, no shame, no embarrassment. Just greed. They are the worst of the worst.

  • Hilary Morris says:

    What an asset to our country Fikile Mbalula is, really the guiding light of the ANC. It is so comforting to know that whatever he says or does is the absolute polar opposite of what he should be saying or doing. A true cadre to the core of his being. Mr Fokol indeed.

  • Hermann Funk says:

    One SA gangster receiving many Zim gangsters.

  • Graeme de Villiers says:

    How does a lecture in a leadership school become labelled as ‘on what is clearly an ANC platform’?
    Does the ANC own the school? If that was the case, I seriously doubt a lecture on Zimbabwe’s election would even have been approved at the management level.
    Or am I missing something?

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Dumb and dumber 3?

  • Jaqueline Perkes says:

    WTF. Another snout in the trough.

  • Paul T says:

    Moonshot coalition please relieve SA of this virus, it is killing us.

  • Pet Bug says:

    Why hasn’t Wits offered a lecture hall to host the lecture tomorrow?
    Sounds very interesting.

  • Bob Kuhn says:

    So min fearfokol now speaks for other counties as well as South Africa as a foreign affairs guru?….another attempt for this marxist thug and incompetent twit to be relevant.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    Hmm. Banning public meetings that discuss issues that you don’t agree with? Sounds awfully familiar.

  • Brian Cotter says:

    Fikile – “He knows that what he is doing is wrong and not backed by reason or logic.”
    This applies to everything Fikile says or does and he has been given the title of ANC Clown

  • Pieter van de Venter says:

    Frikkie stayed behind to get tips on how to steal an election. He knows the ANC may need to do some vote rigging themselves next year.

  • James Webster says:

    Zimbabwean criminals surrounded by fools such as Fixfokal Mbalula and his obviously complicit wife I assume, ( talk about putting lipstick on the bulldog ), one suspects that if one had to wake up next to her every morning one would also be as twisted as Mbalula. One wonders how long it will be before Africa comes to realise how badly morally bankrupt criminals like Mbalula, Mantashe, Ramaphosa, Mugabe and Mnangagwa have brutalised the continent and its peoples. It’s unfortunate that in the future thugs like these can’t be hanged retroactively rather than just having their names dragged into disrepute because by any yardstick they are all guilty of murder.

  • Sihle Sigwebela says:

    Sometimes I wonder whether Mbalula ever thinks about what he’s about to say

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