Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Zimbabwe Consistent in Supporting Saharawi Cause
27 MAR, 2019 - 00:03
Zimbabwe Herald

AFRICAN SOLIDARITY . . . President Mnangagwa is greeted by his Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic counterpart President Brahim Ghali, while SADC chairman and Namibian President Hage Geingob (left) and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (second from left) chat on the sidelines of the SADC Solidarity Conference with the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic in South Africa yesterday. — (Picture by Presidential Photographer Joseph Nyadzayo)

Nduduzo Tshuma
PRETORIA, South Africa

ZIMBABWE has since Independence supported the cause of the people of the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in their quest for self-determination and decolonisation from Morocco, which annexed the country in 1975. After the withdrawal of Spain from SADR, Morocco and Mauritania annexed the country before Mauritania withdrew in 1979.

For 16 years, Morocco and the Polisario Front were engaged in violent conflict until a ceasefire was brokered by the United Nations in 1991.

In April 2018, in its resolution 2414, the United Nations Security Council reaffirmed its full support for the intention of the Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy to relaunch the negotiating process with a new dynamic and a new spirit with the aim of reaching a mutually acceptable political solution, which will provide for the self-determination of the people of Western Sahara in the context of arrangements consistent with the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations

In his condolence message following the death of President Abdel Aziz who was also the secretary general of the Polisario Front in 2016, President Mnangagwa, then vice president, said the two countries had established diplomatic ties after Zimbabwe attained its independence.

He said President Abdel Aziz dedicated his life to the just struggle for the liberation of Saharawi people with exemplary commitment. He said as president, Cde Abdel Aziz led the Saharawi people for 34 years in their quest for emancipation.

“Throughout the last 36 years we have worked together. He was a revolutionary comrade who had towed the correct African line.”

After the death of President Aziz, Zimbabwe continued diplomatic relations with SADR which saw his successor Mr Brahim Ghali visiting the country last year on a two day state visit where the two countries discussed a number of issues including strengthening bilateral relations.

The African Union re admitted Morocco in 2017 in what many felt was a betrayal to the SADR people and as a move by the bloc to limit its role in solving the SADR conflict.

It was also seen as the reversal of the AU’s agreement that called for “joint AU and UN-facilitated talks for a free and fair referendum for the people of Western Sahara”.

Morocco had left the then Organisation for African Unity in 1984 protesting the bloc’s acceptance of SADR’s membership to the body.

It is mostly Sadc nations in particular Zimbabwe, South Africa, Angola and Namibia that have firmly supported the quest of the SADR for self determination.

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