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By Munyaradzi Gwisai
August 6, 2013 -- For a good part of his 33 years in power, Robert Mugabe has presided over a ruthless dictatorship. From the thousands killed in the 1980s Gukurahundi massacres and misery for millions under ESAP [structural adjustment plan], Operation Murambatsvina and hyper-inflation of 2008.
Yet in the July 31 general election, endorsed by Southern African Development Community and African Union, the 89-year -old ruler annihilated the hitherto iconic working-class leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), who beat him in March 2008.
Mugabe got 61% to Tsvangirai’s 34%. The Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) won a 76% parliamentary majority, enough to re-write the new constitution and doing better than it did in 1980.
Zimbabwe ISO on ‘yes’ vote for new constitution: ‘Build on the seeds sown, working-class radicals must not demobilise!’
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe votes yes to the new constitution.
By the International Socialist Organisation Zimbabwe
March 24, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal
1. Despite the boasting of the “Yes” group that at 93% or 3,079,966 votes they scored a landslide victory [in the March 16-17, 2013, constitution referendum], the 5.4% or 179,489 scored by “No” is a very significant minority. In most urban areas the no vote was over 7% of the vote, scoring more than 1000 votes in constituencies. The voter turn-out, at 3.3 million or 55% of registered voters or slightly less than 50% if one considers all eligible voters, was not overwhelming.
2. Although we had aimed for a better performance, the 5.4% of the no vote is still commendable for several reasons, including that the referendum was not free and fair:
South African troops in the Central African Republic.
By Patrick Bond and Khadija Sharife, Durban
March 27, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The reach of the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (BRICS) leaders far into the African continent was palpable this week, not just here in Durban where they are gathering to plan investments and infrastructure, but everywhere up-continent where extraction does extreme damage.
March 2013 -- The people of Zimbabwe go to the polls on March 16, 2013, to endorse or reject a draft constitution. The latest edition of the International Socialist Organisation Zimbabwe's (ISOZ) newspaper, Socialist Worker, is almost entirely devoted to arguments against adoption of what it describes as a deeply flawed "elitist peace pact by the three parliamentary political parties (ZANU-PF, MDC-T, MDC) and their Western backers”.
“The people have demanded a constitution written by themselves in a democratic, participatory and gender-youth-disability balanced way. A constitution that ends the imperial executive presidency and guarantees democratic and accountable political governance and bread and butter socio economic rights”, said ISOZ leader Munyaradzi Gwisai. “But in an era where 85-year-old Pope Benedict XVI resigns citing advanced age, the draft allows an 89-year-old President Robert Mugabe to potentially rule for another 10 years, until he is 99! It (also) fails to address fundamental issues of severe poverty, gender and social inequality, economic democratisation and full political democracy.”
Poor peasants are to blame?
By Ian Angus and Simon Butler
March 10, 2013 -- Climate and Capitalism, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- This article responds to an article that appeared in Dissident Voice on February 17, 2013. We submitted our reply on February 24, but the editors have not acknowledged our submission, or even had the courtesy to answer a follow-up email we sent a week later.
Since they have since published articles that we know were written long after ours, we can only conclude that DV does not wish to publish criticism of one of their regular writers.
We would think that a publication that says it is devoted to “challenging the distortions and lies of the corporate press”, would welcome a challenge to the distortions they publish themselves. Apparently not
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Part 1: The liberation war years.
Part 2: The Mugabe years.
Produced by Afropop Worldwide and Banning Eyre
Aired January 24 and February 7, 2013 --There above radio documentaries, produced by the US world music station Afropop Worldwide, explore the legendary career of Thomas Mapfumo, a singer, composer and bandleader whose 1970s music set the stage for the birth of a new nation, Zimbabwe. Using rare, unreleased recordings and recollections by Mapfumo, key band members and prominent Zimbabweans who lived through the liberation struggle against the racist white regime of Ian Smith, this program traces the development of “chimurenga” (liberation) music.
constitution is a negotiated and elitist peace charter by the three
parliamentary political parties and their Western backers. Above the MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai and ZANU-PF's Robert Mugabe at a meeting to discuss the draft constitution.
Statement by the International Socialist Organisation (Zimbabwe)
Corporate cash continues to feed Mugabe's rule.
Patrick Bond, Zimbabwe
August 15, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Zimbabwe’s political-economic crisis continues because dislodging decades of malgovernance has not been achieved by the Government of National Unity that began in early 2009, civil society activism or international pressure, including this week’s Maputo summit of the main body charged with sorting out democratisation, the Southern African Development Community (SADC). With a new draft constitution nearly ready for a referendum vote, followed by presidential and parliamentary elections by next April, the period immediately ahead is critical.
Many examples of chaos appeared over the last week (much of which I spent in a rural area northwest of the capital of Harare). On Monday, for example, 44 activists were arrested in the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe office at a project launching documentation of the repeated violations of their human rights. Though released, it reminded the society of the power of dictatorship mixed with homophobic social values.
Ronnie Kasrils speaks out against Israel's apartheid policies, March 5, 2009.
By Patrick Bond, Durban
March 26, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- ‘I don’t have the stomach or the taste to serve any more at this level,’ said the normally ebullient minister of intelligence Ronnie Kasrils, as he quit after 14 years of service to the South African government. It was late September 2008, just after Thabo Mbeki was replaced in palace coup.
Kasrils’ intelligence service was by then an international laughing stock, with spy-versus-spy intrigue spilling out wide across the political landscape. His own troops were locked in unending, ungovernable, internecine battles against each other’s factions, using hoax emails, other disinformation and extraordinary political contortions unknown in even the ugliest Stalinist traditions of the African National Congress (ANC). Recall that Mbeki’s police chief Jackie Selebi was also the head of Interpol, and to have the mafia penetrate such high levels made South African security farcical at best.
Johannesburg protest in support of the "Zimbabwe 6", March 20, 2012.
By Lisa Macdonald
March 22, 2012 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/Green Left Weekly -- Six Zimbabwean activists who were convicted for watching a video of the Arab Spring in February 2011 won a partial victory on March 21 when they were given suspended jail sentences of two years, ordered to each do 420 hours of community service and pay a fine of US$500 each.
The six activists were convicted in the Harare Magistrates Court on March 19 of trumped-up charges of “conspiracy to commit public violence”. They had faced up to 10 years’ imprisonment, a sentence demanded by the state prosecutor, Edmore Nyazamba.
Munyaradzi Gwisai, a political activist and former member of parliament, left court in Harare on March 19 after being convicted of plotting to overthrow the government. Photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/Associated Press.
STOP PRESS: March 21, 2012 -- The final verdict is two years' jail, suspended for five years (on condition that no similar "offence" is committed), 420 hours of community service (about six weeks Mon.-Fri.) and an US$500 fine each. The sentence is designed to be a chain on their ankles, but clearly the state does not feel confident to smash them. That is certainly a victory for the mass showings at the courts in Harare, and the international solidarity campaign that included the sending of protests messages from around the world and the holding of pickets and demonstrations. Viva, viva comrades there for resisting the intimidation, and also for the many forms of international solidarity. Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal would like to thank its many readers for their participation in the campaign.
* * *
By Ashley Fataar
Supporters of the activists facing unlawful imprisonment.
The following statement was issued by the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU). Readers of Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal are urged to phone, email or send protest messages demanding the release of the six Zimbabwe activists to the Zimbabwe embassy or consulate in their countries. Solidarity actions are being organised in South Africa. Please send copies of protest messages sent to email@example.com (copy to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com).
Text messages can be sent to:
Home affairs (police) minister Kembo Mohadi: +263 712 605 424 (mobile)
State security (C.I.O.) minister Didymus Mutasa: +263 0712 200 532 (mobile)
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena +263 712 801 172
Action is support of the charged Zimbabwean activists, Fremantle, Western Australia. Six Zimbabwean socialists are charged with “inciting public violence” (which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years’ imprisonment). Munyaradzi Gwisai, director of the Labor Law Centre, Tafadzwa Choto and Tatenda Mombeyarara, trade unionist Edison Chakuma, debt rights activist Hopewell Gumbo and student leader Welcome Zimuto were arrested on February 19 while meeting to watch video footage of democracy protests in Egypt and Tunisia (David Mpatsi, one of the 45 activists originally charged with treason for attending the film screening, died following a rapid deterioration in his health while he was imprisoned and denied medical treatment). The following letter explains the latest developments. For more background to the case, click HERE.
February 16, 2012 -- Yesterday Magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini dismissed the defendants' application for the discharge of charges of conspiring to commit public violence. Their lawyer, Alex Muchadehama had applied for discharge at the close of the state's case on the basis that the state had failed to produce sufficient evidence to require the defendants to put up a defence.
August 14, 2011 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The following petition is being circulated in Australia. Please feel free to adapt the text for use in your country (e.g. insert details of your local Zimbabwe embassy and your own government's foreign ministry. For more detail on the case, see http://links.org.au/taxonomy/term/171. You can download a postcard version to send direct to Zimbabwe HERE.
International solidarity activities in February and March condemning the arrests were an important contribution to having the original charges of "treason" dropped and the comrades released on bail. But the campaign isn't over and the comrades are asking for any solidarity that can be extended to them on or before August 22.
* * *
To: Her Excellency Ms Jacqueline
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary for Zimbabwe
7 Timbarra Crescent,
Fax: (02) 6290 1680
CC: Minister for Foreign
PO Box 6022, Parliament House,
Canberra 2600, Australia
Fax: (02) 6273 4112
Action in solidarity with the Zimbabwe socialists, July 18, 2011.
By the National Coordinating Committee, International Socialist Organisation Zimbabwe
June 7, 2011 -- The Zimbabwean state has dropped the most serious charges against six activists who faced the death penalty for treason. (Click here for background articles.) They now face the lesser charge of “subverting a constitutional government”—but this still carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. Their trial begins on 18 July.
Their bail conditions have also been relaxed—they have to report to the police once a month instead of three times a week.
The six, including former MP Munyaradzi Gwisai, were among more than 40 people arrested on February 19 for watching a video about the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.
Keep up the international pressure and solidarity to get all of the charges dropped.
(Updated March 19) Zimbabwe: Prisoners released on bail! International day of solidarity with political prisoners on March 21
Prisoners now released on bail! March 21 demonstrations remain urgent
March 18, 2011 -- Solidarity with Zimbabwean Political prisoners -- Thanks in part to donations from supporters abroad, friends and family raised the $12,000 US needed to get the six prisoners released on bail on March 17. They are now back with their loved ones -- but will be in court on March 21, standing trial for treason.
The international day of action in solidarity with the Zimbabwean activists remains as urgent as ever. Now the demand is even simpler: Drop all charges now!
Updates on Twitter from Shantha Bloeman -- wife of Munyaradzi Gwasai, one of the prisoners -- give supporters outside Zimbabwe a glimpse of this week's developments from the inside. A few entries:
Zimbabwe: International solidarity still urgent for six jailed activists; 39 released due to protests
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By Ashley Fataar
By Patrick Bond
February 27, 2011 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The late South African anti-apartheid poet-activist Dennis Brutus occasionally used “Seattle”, the name of a city in the northwestern United States, as a verb. We should “seattle Copenhagen”, he said in late 2009, to prevent the global North from doing a climate deal in their interests, against Africa’s.
(Updated March 4) Zimbabwe: Socialists and Egypt solidarity activists charged with treason! Protest urgently needed!
46 arrested activists charged with treason, tortured
February 25, 2011 -- It has now been confirmed that detained labour movement activist and leading member of the International Socialist Organization Zimbabwe Munyaradzi Gwisai (pictured) and 45 other activists detained by the Zimbabwe state on February 19 have been charged with treason. If found guilty of treason, the activists risk a sentence of death or life imprisonment. They are being tortured to extract bogus confessions. The arrests followed a raid on a closed meeting that was discussing the implications of the revolutions in the Arab world. Gwisai is director of the Labor Law Centre and former Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) MP.