The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain
Week commencing 24th November 2017

Zimbabwe at the crossroads

ROBERT Mugabe has resigned the presidency of Zimbabwe at the age of 93, under pressure from the most civilised and peaceful coup in modern history, organised by his erstwhile comrades in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Tanks appeared on the streets of Harare last week but no shots were fired. Mugabe himself was treated with great respect but held under house arrest whilst his wife and her supporting faction were removed or arrested. At the weekend Mugabe came out, looking well, to present academic awards to students at Harare University.

The western media has broken into hysterics, proclaiming the overthrow of a tyrant and monster, but those who carried out the coup do not appear to share that view. Their chief concern seems to be ensuring that the successor to the presidency is not Mugabe’s wife nor any of her supporters. The issues appear to be internal matters within the Zanu-PF party, which is still firmly in control of the country and which still has the support of the majority of Zimbabweans.

Nevertheless, the western imperialists are aching to intervene and try to topple the government, which has defied the dictates of Washington and London.

Zanu-PF, led by Mugabe, fought the imperialist powers and won freedom for Zimbabwe in the 1960s and 1970s, after the fall of the racist and brutal apartheid regime of Ian Smith. In 1965 Smith made a Universal Declaration of Independence to try to thwart the “winds of change” shift in British imperialist policies — abandoning direct rule in favour of political independence with no economic independence, so that the newly created black governments in Britain’s former African colonies were hamstrung with huge debts and still indirectly under the control of the big imperialist powers.

As Mugabe came to power the British government promised it would finance compensation for white landowners in Zimbabwe so Mugabe could fulfil his promise to deliver the land to the people who worked it.

This was a vital issue for the Zimbabwean people. There were still people alive in the 1970s who could remember the 1880s and the bloody conquest of their country by the racist genocidal British colonist, Cecil Rhodes, who massacred thousands of African farmers to seize their land.

The white settler farmers ran big plantations that drove both the African people and the natural wildlife of the country into the infertile margins to scrape by in the dust or die.

The British government never did pay up but they kept repeating their promise as pressure built up among the Zimbabweans who wanted their land back. Eventually Mugabe moved in 2000 and the white farmers were thrown out without compensation.

The imperialists were horrified and used this act to paint Mugabe as a terrible tyrant and to impose punitive economic sanctions that kept Zimbabwe’s economy at a very low level for many years. In 2006 the imperialist powers triggered galloping inflation in Zimbabwe’s economy, impoverishing the country.

But within a few years Zimbabwe found a new trading partner, People’s China, willing to invest in rebuilding Zimbabwe’s infrastructure and economy, and the country has largely recovered from the extreme poverty imposed on it by the imperialist powers.

China has been investing heavily throughout Africa, securing supplies of food and raw materials for China but developing these countries’ infrastructures: roads, railways, hospitals, schools and supplying thousands of comparatively well-paid jobs — to the alarm of US and British investors who are more interested in keeping African countries poor and dependent. Poverty in Africa is now retreating and Zimbabwe is now doing quite well. It is far from the broken economic fiasco that our media are telling us. It now has the highest literacy rate in Africa.

Zanu-PF’s and Mugabe’s rule has not been perfect, but instituting changes is the responsibility and sovereign right of the Zimbabwean people not that of Donald Trump or Theresa May.

Our job as friends of the Zimbabwean people is to stay alert and protest here in London over any attempts our government or Washington may make to intervene or re-assert their economic control over Zimbabwe.