The way forward in Zimbabwe after Mugabe
24 November 2017
The resignation of Robert Mugabe as president was celebrated among broad masses, who have seen nothing but hardship due to the catastrophic economic situation facing Zimbabwe and the brutal repression and lack of democratic rights accompanying this social decline.
But those who believe Mugabe’s downfall will bring an improvement in their lives will be cruelly disappointed. The military and the faction of the ruling ZANU-PF led by Emmerson Mnangagwa have used Mugabe’s 37 years as head of state to channel social discontent against him and his wife Grace and the nouveau riche clique that makes up the Generation 40 faction she heads.
However, the promises made by Mnangagwa, sworn in as president today, of “a new and unfolding democracy” and “jobs, jobs” are worthless. His goal is to impose an adrenalized version of the capitalist policies that have already created so much suffering. What is needed is not merely the removal of Mugabe, but a political reckoning with Zimbabwe’s bourgeoisie and its abject failure to end imperialist domination, brutal exploitation and the looting of the country’s rich natural resources.
Mugabe came to power after a 15-year armed struggle against the white settler regime of Southern Rhodesia. He headed the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), which drew its support from the majority Shona people, with its main rival, the Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) led by Joshua Nkomo, based among the Ndebele people.
The insurgency led to fears of the Soviet Union developing a bridgehead in Southern Africa, prompting US-inspired talks with the British Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher. With its close relations to China, ZANU utilised socialist phrases to secure…