During a recent two-week trip to China, Robert Mugabe, the anti-imperialist president of Zimbabwe, addressed a seminar in Beijing where various African diplomats were present, taking the opportunity to challenge Caucasians in South Africa, suggesting that they are responsible for placing the country in a compromising position. He advocated for South Africa to take a more self-determining stance, while Sierra Leone Ambassador Victor Bockarie Foh and Liberia’s McKinley Thomas backed him up.

“We would love to see South Africa taking the lead,” Mugabe indicated, “but the country’s economy is still controlled by the [Caucasian] community, making it difficult [for Blacks] to take charge.”

African National Congress Secretary General Gwede Mantashe responded via Voice of America’s Studio 7 a few days afterwards, saying that South Africa would not “drive [Caucasians] into the sea” in a manner that would look like Zimbabwe’s hectic Black empowerment program. Adding that South Africa would not draw inspiration from Zimbabwe in redistributing national resources.

Analysts say that Mugabe’s hard-line land reform program was an effort to self-empower his country and was a direct stab at the colonizing Europeans, who, he contends, were previously exploiting the African land for its valuable resources. He urged other countries of the African Union take similar action.

“South Africa and Nigeria supported the Anglo-American, Saudis ‘humanitarian’ attack on Africa, which led to the degrading and destruction of much of Africa. Both also voted against the Union Government of Africa or United States of Africa plan in 2007. Additionally, they led a campaign to control the AU in 2012, which severely weakened the already compromised AU from the ‘terror’ war on Africa. Since then, the AU has become more divided and weaker and so much more vulnerable to imperialism as the global forces press into Africa to control more resources in the ongoing scramble for Africa,” stated Minister P.D. Menelik of the World African Diaspora Union.

Mugabe says South Africa is failing to lead the economic development of countries in the AU because its economy has been run by the Caucasian minority. Since taking over as chair of the Southern African Development Community earlier this month, he has pushed for South Africa to help other African countries, especially those in the region, instead of using them as a “dumping ground” for surplus products.

He told journalists at the end of the Southern African Development Community summit, “We also appeal to South Africa, which is highly industrialized, to lead us in this, and to work with us and cooperate with us and not just to regard the rest of our countries as open markets for products from South Africa.”

Before this address, Mugabe had been let down by South Africa, which, with Namibia, had refused to sign the Protocol on Trade in Services. The protocol outlines general expectations for all state parties regarding the treatment of services and service suppliers from other countries. It does not contain liberalization obligations, but provides for a mandate to progressively negotiate the removal of barriers to the free movement of services.