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Zimbabwe: Media tears for Cecil the Lion; Itai Dzamara and missing activists ignored

By Wonder Guchu

August 11, 2015 -- The Namibian, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The world today knows more about the Zimbabwean lion Cecil, killed by North American dentist Walter Palmer, than they do about the Zimbabwean journalist and human rights activist Itai Dzamara, who has been missing since March 9 this year.

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe on August 10 criticised the killing of Cecil, saying the animal was a key part of the country's heritage. Our wildlife, all our animals, belong to us. They should not be shot with a gun or with an arrow", Mugabe told thousands who gathered at a shrine on the outskirts of the capital Harare to commemorate Heroes' Day. "Even Cecil the lion is yours. He is dead. He was yours to protect and he [was] there to protect you."

Cecil was lured from the Hwange National Park and then shot with a bow before he was finished off with a gun. His head was cut off and skin taken away as trophies. Cecil left 13 cubs and a brother Jericho. 

Zimbabwe: Why Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC 'lost' the election

[Click HERE for more on Zimbabwe.]

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.

What happened?

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.

[For more on Zimbabwe, click HERE. For more on the ISOZ, click HERE.]

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:

Zimbabwe socialists: 15 reasons to vote ‘No’ to the draft constitution

The COPAC 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)

Zimbabwe: Corporate collaboration lets Mugabe continue abuses

Corporate cash continues to feed Mugabe's rule.

By 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.

Crisis in Zimbabwe -- a long walk to freedom! Latest issue of ISO Zimbabwe's `Socialist Worker'

Robert Mugabe (centre) and GNU partners Morgan Tsvangirai (left) and Arthur Mutambara.

[The following article appears in the December 2010 edition of the International Socialist Organisation of Zimbabwe's magazine Socialist Worker. You can download the latest edition of Socialist Worker (PDF)  HERE or read it on screen below the article.]

By T. Sando

November 30, 2010 -- Socialist Worker (Zimbabwe) -- Several significant events in the political and constitutional framework of Zimbabwe have occurred in recent months. First, are the controversies surrounding the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) outreach exercise carried out from June 2010 to date. Second is the crisis in the Government of National Unity (GNU) following various unilateral state executive appointments by President Robert Gabriel Mugabe.

Will Zimbabwe again regress?

A mid-2011 election announced by Mugabe promises a return to outright violence and poll thievery.

[You can listen to talks presented to the "Progress in Zimbabwe" conference, and read summaries of the presentations, at the conference website here.]

By Patrick Bond, Bulawayo

November 12, 2010 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – If leaders of a small African country stand up with confidence to imperialist aggression, especially from the US and Britain, it would ordinarily strike any fair observer as extremely compelling. Especially when the nightmare of racist colonialism in that country is still be to exorcised, whites hold a disproportionate share of economic power and state’s rulers appear serious about changing those factors.

Zimbabwe: Liberation nationalism, old and born again

Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai. "The [government of national unity] increasingly appears to have been most efficient in serving the instrumental needs of the ZANU-PF elite."

[The following article first appeared in AfricaFile's At Issue Ezine, vol. 12 (May-October 2010), edited by John S. Saul, which examines the development of the southern African liberation movement-led countries. It has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission.]

By Richard Saunders

Zimbabwe: Struggle, dictatorship and the response of the social movements

"The MDC roots were in the popular challenge to ZANU-PF in the late 1990s and the social movements on which it rested."

By Leo Zeilig

June 28, 2010 – Zimbabwe’s economy has been in free fall. Between 2000 and 2005, the economy contracted by more than 40 per cent. Today GDP per capita is estimated to be the same as it was in 1953. Before the replacement of the Zimbabwe dollar with the US dollar and the South African rand in 2009, the country had the highest inflation rate in the world, soaring to 165,000 per cent in February 2008.

Zimbabwe: Despite Mugabe's opportunism, radical land reform is necessary

``What is often forgotten is that millions of Africans were disenfranchised by a system of state-managed repression, segregation and violence. These masses sacrificed their lives and livelihoods to liberate the country and have the moral right to claim back their land. This legitimate need to right the historical wrongs should never be confused with ZANU-PF’s attempts to manipulate history for its own selfish interests.''

By Grasian Mkodzongi

March 11, 2010 -- Pambazuka News -- Zimbabwe’s land issue has generated unprecedented debates both within and outside the country. The debates, which followed the dramatic occupations of white farms by rural peasants in the late 1990s, are generally polarised between those who support radical land reform and those who support market-orientated reforms. The former stand accused of supporting Mugabe’s regime while the latter are generally maligned as neo-colonialists running a smear campaign against the ruling Zimbabwe AFrican National Union-Patriotic Frent (ZANU-PF).

Zimbabwe: The struggle enters a new stage

Munyaradzi Gwisai of the ISOZ at the World at a Crossroads conference. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.

By Munyaradzi Gwisai

[Read or download the May 2009 issue of the ISOZ's newspaper, Socialist Worker, at the end of this article.]

May 6, 2009 -- The formation of the government of national unity (GNU) in Zimbabwe between the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in February 2009 was the logical outcome of the agreement made between them in the middle of last year. The final negotiations had stalled as Mugabe tried to manipulate the details to exact maximum concessions from the MDC.

Concerned African Scholars: Reflections on Mahmood Mamdani’s ‘Lessons of Zimbabwe’

[Below is the introduction to a special issue of the Concerned African Scholars debating prominent African intellectual Mahmood Mamdani's views on the regime of Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe. The introduction has been posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the permission of Concerned African Scholars. It contains links to the various contributions and to the table of contents. Interested readers are encouraged to explore the linked articles thoroughly. Links also examined the views of Mamdani HERE. For Links' full coverage of Zimbabwe, click HERE.]

By Sean Jacobs

Zimbabwe socialists: Fight for fresh elections under a new people-driven constitution!

February 6, 2009 -- The International Socialist Organisation Zimbabwe (ISOZ) has consistently argued for the last few years that the poor and working people would pay dearly if they naively followed the false calls for “change” championed by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and its imperialist-supported civic society allies, and subordinated their organisations to the same.

We called for the urgent establishment of a radical and anti-neoliberal united front of working people's organisations, to spearhead the struggle even when the opposition leadership eventually sold out. We argued that the MDC was preparing for a sell-out deal with Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) as a junior partner and that Mugabe was now ready to accept this. Three years ago, we wrote:

Zimbabwe: How Morgan Tsvangirai saved the Mugabe regime

Tsvangirai and Mugabe at the signing ceremony for the unity government in September 2008.

By Tendai Dumbutshena

February 2, 2009 -- After the June 27, 2008, putsch by Zimbabwe ruler Robert Mugabe signs were always there that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was headed for surrender. It officially happened on January 30, 2009, when the party hoisted a white flag on top of its Harvest House headquarters. What followed was a pathetic attempt by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai to portray this decision to join the unity government without any of the MDC's conditions being met as some sort of victory.[Tsvangirai was sworn in as prime minister on February 11, 2009.]

Equally pathetic was a plea to Mugabe to be treated as an equal partner. There is a fat chance of that happening. The old tyrant must have chuckled when he heard this.

Lessons of Zimbabwe: An exchange between Patrick Bond and Mahmood Mamdani

Aftermath of Mugabe's 2005 Operation Murambatsvina.

By Patrick Bond

December 2008 -- Mahmood Mamdani is an inspiring intellectual and political writer, one of Africa's greatest ever. But I think there are a few points raised in his recent London Review of Books article, ``Lessons of Zimbabwe'' (see full text in the appendix at the end of this article; quotes from Mamdani's article are in indented italics) that are worth debating.

... [Mugabe's] policies have helped lay waste the country's economy, though sanctions have played no small part.

A deeper capitalist malaise engulfed Zimbabwe since around 1974, the year that per capita wealth began to decline, based on overaccumulation of capital and, by the time of structural adjustment in the early 1990s, a turn to the speculative/parasitical mode of not only capital accumulation but also state management. These are not Mugabe's ``policies'', but problems all state managers have faced, nearly everywhere in the world.

Zimbabwe: Elite deal does not resolve underlying crisis -- Aluta continua!

By Munyaradzi Gwisai, International Socialist Organisation of Zimbabwe

September 23, 2008 -- In our last update, in the July issue of Socialist Worker, we reaffirmed our long-held position of the likelihood“ of an elite political settlement between the ruling party and opposition around a Western-supported full neoliberal economic program”, given the domination of all the political parties by bourgeois elites who are fearful of political implosions from the collapsing economy and the rank opportunism of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leadership. The deal signed by the leaderships of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the MDC in September substantially confirmed our fears. We look at the deal and what it means for working people.

 


South African and Zimbabwe politicos join global financiers in self-destruction

By Patrick Bond

September 21, 2008 -- The past week has been a wild roller-coaster ride in and out of Southern African ruling-party politics, down the troughs of world capitalism, and up the peaks of radical social activism. Glancing around the region and the world from those peaks, we can see quite a way further than usual.

Looking first to South Africa, September 20's dumping of state president Thabo Mbeki by Jacob Zuma -- president of the African National Congress (ANC) -- and his temporary replacement (until next April 2009's election) by ANC deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe, was an excellent reflection of ruling elite fragility in neoliberal regimes. Some of Mbeki's main supporters, including Mbhazima Shilowa, the former trade union leader and now premier of Gauteng province, in the economic heartland of Johannesburg -- are apparently considering the launch of a competing party.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions: Power-sharing deal `a far cry' from expectations

By Wellington Chibebe

September 20, 2008 -- The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions' General Council today met in Harare to deliberate on the recent signing of the power-sharing deal between the Zimbabwe African Nation Union-Patroitic Front (ZANU-PF) and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which was held on September 15, 2008.

After deliberating on the issue and taking a closer look at the deal, the General Council noted that the deal is a far cry from the ZCTU's expectations and that it is an outcome of a flawed process.

Instead, the General Council noted, the deal is all about power-sharing between ZANU-PF and MDC, leaving out primary causes of the dispute which has created the current political and economic impasse currently prevailing in the country.

It also noted that the process used in coming up with the deal was not all-inclusive as the civic society was not given an opportunity to participate.

The exclusion of such critical sectors as labour, the General Council noted, and the secretive manner in which issues were discussed, do not give credence to the outcome of the deal.

Zimbabwe: A `power-sharing' deal for whom?

By Shawn Hattingh

Negotiations between the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) over the political future of Zimbabwe have reached a zenith in the past few weeks. It now seems almost inevitable that some sort of deal will be attained by the political masters of the MDC and ZANU-PF and that power sharing will become a reality. The mediator in the negotiation process, the South African government, has claimed that the outcome of the negotiations between these parties will lead to a new dawn in Zimbabwe. As part of this, we are assured that the corner has been turned and that democracy and freedom will be a reality in the beleaguered country in the near future.

Zimbabwe socialists: `Mobilise against the Mugabe regime!'

By the International Socialist Organisation of Zimbabwe

On June 29, 2008, Robert Mugabe was announced the winner of the presidential runoff ``election” with a vote of 2.1 million as opposed to 233,000 for Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai and 131,481 spoilt ballots. The regime claimed a sweeping victory, “winning” in all constituencies even in areas where it did not win a single seat in the March parliamentary elections.

As the ISOZ had warned, these elections were not going to bring real democratic change. Rather the regime of Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) would ensure its victory by hook or crook and then seek a government of national unity with the MDC as a junior partner to deal with the imploding economic crisis.

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