Zimbabwe: Zanu-PF and Umkhonto We Sizwe - a Less Than Cosy Relationship


Despite eulogies by Cyril Ramaphosa and Thabo Mbeki after his death, the historical records show Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF even collaborated with the old apartheid government to keep the ANC's military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) out of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF and South Africa's old National Party government were publicly sworn enemies. Privately, their relationship was a bit more complicated.

On 7 and 8 February, 1983, for instance, Emmerson Mnangagwa, then Zimbabwe's minister of state security, and his intelligence officials met secretly with their counterparts in the South African Defence Force (SADF) in Harare. They wanted to discuss a common problem.

Mnangagwa's avowedly Marxist Zanu-PF under its leader, Robert Mugabe, had come to power three years earlier and proclaimed itself as being on the front line of the regional campaign to topple the apartheid government in Pretoria.

Behind closed doors, Harare evidently had a rather different agenda, one which dovetailed with Pretoria's interest in thwarting the ANC's armed struggle.

The SADF notes of that February 1983 meeting, still in the archives of what is now the Department of International Relations and Cooperation in Pretoria, record that the two governments agreed that, "Zimbabwe does not consider political support of the ANC...

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.