Zanu-PF sweeps parliamentary election on platform of land and freedom
By Dave Schneider, via FightBack! News
Although official vote totals in the 31 July election are still coming in, the people of Zimbabwe voted overwhelmingly to reelect President Robert Mugabe to another five-year term. Mugabe’s party, the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), also won the parliamentary election in a landslide, making gains and solidifying their majority.
Despite claims by Mugabe’s opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), that the elections were rigged, monitors from the African Union called the elections “peaceful, orderly, free and fair”.
Mugabe’s victory is a mandate for the Zanu-PF manifesto, which calls for over $1.8tr in idle mining assets and $7.3bn in foreign-owned assets to be turned over to Zimbabweans. Voters similarly favour the Zanu-PF plan for “education for all”, “housing for all”, and gender equality “through laws, empowerment programmes and promotion of women in sectors and positions previously held by men only”, according to the Zanu-PF 2013 election manifesto.
This is the third and latest defeat of MDC candidate Tsvangirai, who ran against Mugabe for President in 2002 and 2008. Although Tsvangirai led the 2008 presidential election, he failed to garner a majority vote and lost decisively in the runoff to Mugabe.
WikiLeaks cables from 2010 revealed collaboration between Tsvangirai with his MDC party and the US. Tsvangirai called on the western countries to toughen the economic sanctions on his own country and people after he lost the election. Since that time, more and more Zimbabweans disapprove of the MDC in opinion polls.
In February 2013, Zimbabweans approved a new constitution, ending a power-sharing deal between Zanu-PF and the MDC. A decisive election victory for Zanu-PF provides a mandate and curbs outsider meddling in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe.
Indigenisation programme central to election
Zimbabwe’s election comes at a time of profound revolutionary changes in the nation. In May 2012, Zanu-PF announced the implementation of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Programme, to transfer ownership of the major national industries to Zimbabweans and workers.
According to the Zanu-PF’s election manifesto, called Taking Back the Economy, the indigenisation “seeks to enforce the transfer to local entities of at least 51 percent controlling equity in all existing foreign owned businesses”. The aim is to “create dignified employment especially for the youth, distribute wealth amongst citizens more equitably, cause a general improvement in the quality of life of every Zimbabwean and bring about sustainable national development which is homegrown”.
Zanu-PF’s campaign focused on strengthening the nation’s land reform – which redistributed more than 7 million hectares of land, mostly to African peasants and farmworkers – and deepening the indigenisation policies. In a preface to the manifesto, Robert Mugabe and his wife, Grace, write: “The essence of Zanu-PF’s ideology is to economically empower the indigenous people of Zimbabwe by enabling them to fully own their country’s God-given natural resources and the means of production to unlock or create value from those resources.”
Indigenisation policies already distributed more than 120 mining companies to black Zimbabweans, organised into employee ownership trusts. These trusts allow working people in Zimbabwe to share in their nation’s resources, rather than western companies taking profits out of Zimbabwe.
Zanu-PF also aims to transition the current stock exchange into an indigenised market owned by Zimbabweans called the Harare Stock Exchange. They claim that shares will be distributed to at least 500,000 people in the first year, with the greatest beneficiaries being women, youth, and disabled people.
Zimbabwe’s struggle against colonialism and imperialism
Zanu-PF’s victory demonstrates the continued importance of Zimbabwe’s revolutionary history. British imperialists, led by infamous mass murderer Cecil Rhodes and his British South Africa Company, invaded and colonised Zimbabwe around 1880. Rhodes named the country after himself as white colonists seized the best land.
With most of the land and the government in white hands, the whites ruled the country despite never being more than 4.3 percent of the population. In 1966, Zimbabweans waged a 13-year liberation war against white minority rule that ended the racist Ian Smith regime in 1980.
Mugabe’s continued popularity and re-election as President comes from his leadership during the liberation war, called the ‘Second Chimurenga’ by Zimbabweans. Influenced by the Chinese communist revolutionary Mao Zedong, Mugabe founded Zanu along with other black revolutionaries in Zimbabwe. Ian Smith imprisoned Mugabe for more than a decade, and then he was elected President of Zanu in 1974 shortly before his release.
After winning majority rule, most black Zimbabweans remained dispossessed and poor while white colonisers kept the best farmland. After a series of austerity measures forced upon Zimbabwe by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the people of Zimbabwe began occupying large farms and taking control of their own resources in 2000.
Almost 75 percent of the beneficiaries of the land reform were poor peasants, former farmworkers and urban workers – many of whom were women – making it one of the most progressive land reforms in the history of Africa.
By stripping wealthy whites of their land and political power, Zimbabwe angered the US and Britain, who responded with economic sanctions that sent Zimbabwe down a destructive path of hyperinflation and economic turmoil. However, with new investment from socialist countries like the People’s Republic of China, Zimbabwe’s economy began to recover, with their gross domestic product growing by 11 percent in 2011 alone.
Unemployment remains a persistent struggle in Zimbabwe, caused by the continued sanctions placed on Zimbabwe by the US and Britain. However, Zanu-PF designed the indigenisation programme to create dignified jobs for Zimbabwean workers and allow them greater ownership of the nation’s resources.
At 89, Mugabe is the oldest African head of state, and constitutionally this will be his final term as president. Zanu-PF spent the past five years, after the 2008 election, holding party cadre schools to train activists to continue the revolution. With a new victory on the horizon, the days ahead shine bright for Zimbabweans.
More about Zimbabwe
Who is Mugabe? Who are Zanu-PF?
Black propaganda: imperialist lies about Zimbabwe (Proletarian, August 2008)
Zimbabwe will never be a colony again (Lalkar, November 2004)
Chimurenga! The Liberation Struggle in Zimbabwe by Harpal Brar
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has stressed the importance of Cuba in the training of human resources in Zimbabwe in fields like education and health, among others.
In a meeting Thursday with the Cuban ambassador to Zimbabwe, Cosme Torres Espinosa, President Mugabe said he appreciated the presence of a medical brigade of 134 health experts from the island, who are currently working in a cooperation project under the Comprehensive Health Program of his country.
The president recalled his last visit to Cuba in 2007 and expressed his admiration for Cuban programmes such as the Latin American Medical School and Operation “Miracle”, which has restored the vision to thousands of peoples around the world.
He conveyed his greetings to Comrade Fidel Castro and thanked President Raul Castro for his message on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of the independence of Zimbabwe.
At President Mugabe’s request, the Cuban ambassador briefed him on the present state of the Cuban economy, the progress achieved after the island was hit by three devastating hurricanes last year and the state of Cuba’s relations with Latin America, the Caribbean and the United States.
Via Pan African News blog.
An Open Letter To The People Of Zimbabwe: West Must Lift Sanctions Now!
Sign the letter (International Action Center)
First, let us begin by saying thank you. Thank you for demonstrating to and for African people and the world the courage and conviction that must be had to be self-determining in the face of insurmountable odds. Odds that would have crushed others with any less will to be free.
The road you chose for national liberation, which was carved through your first and second Chimurengas (armed liberation wars), cut an enduring path for us all to follow.
At this moment in time, when all the enemies of Africa have attempted to circle their wagons around you and crush your right to land and sovereignty, your leadership and the veterans of your struggle have rallied you to unite.
The words of one of Africa’s greatest patriots are so fitting to your struggle at this time:
“No brutality, mistreatment, or torture has ever forced me to ask for grace, for I prefer to die with my head high, my faith steadfast, and my confidence profound in the destiny of my country, rather than to live in submission and scorn of sacred principles. History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations will teach, but that which they will teach in the countries emancipated from colonialism and its puppets. Africa will write its own history, and it will be, to the north and to the south of the Sahara, a history of glory and dignity.”
–Patrice Lumumba’s last letter, December 1960
Lift the Sanctions Now!
As anti-war, community, political, youth, trade union activists and Pan Africanists along with other people of good conscience of all nationalities inside the U.S. and worldwide, we are declaring our full solidarity with the heroic struggle in Zimbabwe to defend the right to full independence and sovereignty. At the heart of this struggle is the ongoing fight for the control of African land, illegally and brutally stolen beginning in the late 19th century by racist British colonizers led by Cecil Rhodes.
The Lancaster House Agreement–signed by the representatives of the ZANU-ZAPU guerrilla movements and the British government in 1980–promised to legally transfer ownership of the millions of acres of arable land from a handful of very privileged white farmers back to the Zimbabwean people. The British government reneged on this promise while the people of Zimbabwe patiently waited for reparations in the form of land reform to happen. When their patience ran out after waiting 20 years for legal justice, the people had no other recourse but to expropriate the land themselves by any means necessary.
As a result of taking back what is rightfully their birthright: the land, the people of Zimbabwe have had to bear the full brunt of unmitigated ire and disdain on the part of the U.S. and British governments and more recently, the European Union governments. This disdain is reflected in the political demonizing of government leaders, notably President Robert Mugabe, who has defended the Zimbabwean people’s right to the land.
Defending the people’s right to the land, the fruits of their labor and the country’s resources means recognizing the right to self-determination and sovereignty without any imperialist interference. This is President Mugabe’s “crime” in the eyes of the imperialist governments and their media. Behind this demonizing of President Mugabe lies the real crime–the economic sanctions imposed by the U.S., Britain and other Western countries that have resulted in the collective punishment of the Zimbabwean people.
These cruel sanctions for almost a decade have caused massive unemployment, malnourishment, hyperinflation, deeper poverty, lack of health care and fuel, the deterioration of the infrastructure and much more. A recent cholera epidemic that has claimed the lives of thousands could have been prevented if water purification chemicals had not been banned under the sanctions.
These genocidal attacks on the human rights of the people of Zimbabwe are very reminiscent of the sanctions imposed on the Palestinian population in Gaza by the U.S.-backed Zionist state of Israel. Let’s be clear–President Mugabe is not to blame for the economic crisis in Zimbabwe; it is the sanctions.
These economic sanctions along with other austerity measures imposed by the IMF and the World Bank are acts of aggression against the people of Zimbabwe with a goal of igniting political instability and regime change. We unequivocally denounce these sanctions as war crimes and the officials who initiated them as war criminals. Even as a national unity government has been implemented, the sanctions remain in place.
The people of Zimbabwe, like the people of Gaza, Iraq, Somalia and elsewhere, are inspiring examples of resisting all forms of imperialist war and occupation. Millions of people around the world are facing an unprecedented economic crisis, including the U.S., where foreclosures, evictions, layoffs, utility shut-offs, lack of health care, tuition hikes and much more are skyrocketing at an alarming rate.
We face the same enemies at home as do the people of Zimbabwe–the worldwide clique of bankers and bosses who put their greed for profits before meeting people’s needs. Our solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe is not just moral in character but also material in character. Their victory is also our victory.
It is in this spirit of international solidarity that we will continue to work hand in hand with our sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe to demand from the U.S., British and other imperialist governments:
End the Economic Sanctions Now!
Full Land Reform for the Indigenous Zimbabweans!
Respect the Democratically Elected Leadership!
Stop the Demonizing!
Hands Off Zimbabwe!
Sign the Open Letter at http://www.iacenter.org/africa/zimbabweopenletter
Africans Helping Africans
December 12th Movement
Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST)
Friends of Zimbabwe
International Action Center (IAC)
Peoples Video Network
Dr. Molefi Asante, Pan-Africanist professor and author
Abayomi Azikiwe, editor, Pan-African News Wire
Amiri Baraka, playwright & poet
Sharon Black, All-Peoples Congress, Baltimore
Omowale Clay, December 12th Movement
Hillel Cohen, Doctor of Public Health, NY
Heather Cottin, Long Island Troops Out Now Coalition, NY
Chaka Cousins, All African People’s Revolutionary Party
Susan E. Davis, National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981*
Ellie Dorritie, ret., APWU*, WNY
Rachel Duell, prof., NJ
Andrea Egypt, organizer, Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice (MECAWI)*
Sharon Eolis, nurse-practitioner, ret., NY
Leslie Feinberg, Co-founder, Rainbow Flags for Mumia, NY
Sherry Finkelman, UFT L. 2*, NY
Sara Flounders, co-director, IAC
Julie Fry, V-P., Assn. of Legal Aid Attorneys*, NY
Michael Gimbel, del., NYC Central Labor Council*
Jerome D. Goldberg, attorney, Detroit, MI
Fred Goldstein, author, “Colossus Feet with Clay: Low Wage Capitalism”
Deirdre Griswold, editor, Workers World
Teresa Gutierrez, coordinator, May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights*, NYC
Dr. Sue Harris, co-director, Peoples Video Network
Imani Henry, Playwright/Performer
Larry Holmes, national organizer, Bail Out the People Movement*
Debbie Johnson, co-founder, Detroit Action Network For Reproductive Rights*
Prof. Dr. Leonard Jefferies, City College CUNY
Stevan Kirschbaum, chair, Grievance Comm., USW L. 8751*, MA
Michael Kramer, I.D.F. veteran, Veterans for Peace, Chap. 021*, NJ
Donna Lazarus, UFT*, NJ
Janet Mayes, Ph.D., NY
Dr. James McIntosh, Committee to Eliminate Media Offensive to African People
Monica Moorehead, Millions For Mumia; editor, “Marxism, Reparations and the Black Freedom Struggle”
Milt Neidenberg, ret., Teamsters L. 840*, NJ
Frank Neisser, CWA L. 1701, ret.*, MA
John Parker, coordinator, IAC, Los Angeles
Viola Plummer, December 12th Movement
Susan Schnur, Transit Union L. 268*, OH
Atty. Malik Zulu Shabazz, New Black Panther Party
David Sole, Pres., UAW L. 2334*, MI
Paul Teitelbaum, IAC, AZ
Jill White, EdD, IL
From Venezuela’s US embassy, via Stephen Gowans
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela - Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs - Statement
Emergency Health Situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe
The government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, on behalf of the Venezuelan people, expresses its solidarity with the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe during this public health crisis caused by a cholera epidemic that is hitting this brother country in southern Africa. Likewise, the government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela manifests its firm rejection of the use of this emergency situation by outside factors to politically destabilize Zimbabwe, its government, and the twisting of national dialogue and regional mediation taking place in this Republic for a Zimbabwean agreement.
The people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, upset over the 1,111 victims of cholera and nearly 20,000 cases of infected people, offer their condolences to affected families, and expresses their solidarity during this difficult time.
President Hugo Chávez, on behalf of the Venezuelan people, calls upon the international community to contribute medicine and doctors to control the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe. He also manifests his solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe, hopes this difficult situation will be overcome, and expresses his support for the independent government of Zimbabwe in its efforts for stability and peace in this brother country of Africa.
Ministry of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs, Unofficial translation by the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Press Office / December 19, 2008