Thursday, April 09, 2020

Zimbabwe (2002)

 Party News from the April 2002 issue of the Socialist Standard

Now that the election is over one is left with the unmistakable impression that Zanu PF bullied its way to power, catapulting its candidate Robert Mugabe to victory, allegedly with 56.2 percent of the vote. This has prompted Zimbabwe's chief opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to reconsider tactics

Just after the announcement of the winner, Tsvangirai refused to concede defeat. He blasted his rival's victory as illegitimate, as an electoral fraud of unprecedented proportions. This former Trade Unionist indicated that he would now seek a proper political solution.
However, such talk has raised fears among many Zimbabweans — fears that this poor country could descend into total chaos should Tsvangirai decide to summon his furious supporters to stage mass protests across the country. In short, there is much uncertainty about the future; there is no way of knowing how it will all pan out.
To compound the problem, even the invited observers are appearing to express differences on whether the 9-11 March presidential elections were substantially free and fair. The local monitors, the opposition and western governments and media in general are fiercely condemning the way in which the elections were handled while, on the other hand, the process is being praised by most African States. The Nigerian leader of the Commonwealth observer group — Abdulsalami Abubakar - is, however, appearing to be somewhat two-faced about this whole matter, thus exacerbating divisions within his delegation.
There is much evidence to suggest that the law enforcement agents were responsible for effectively crippling Tsvangirai's MDC party. They displayed partiality towards the ruling party's thugs and undue firmness against the opposition. There was also the lack of transparency on the part of the authorities, the rampant political violence they fostered, the intimidation and harassment of MDC supporters, the cynical reduction in the number of polling stations in the urban strongholds of the MDC.
However, it is not only the MDC who have been the victims of this systematic political abuse; Mugabe's government is also making it difficult for other opposition parties and pressure groups to organise effectively as well. This is certainly the case with the the local WSM in Zimbabwe which has recently been subject of intimidation and harassment by the authorities — notably, after a series of adverts were placed by us in the local press. Evidently, in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, socialists are not welcome
Notwithstanding that, we are urging our members and supporters to stand firm in the face of such bullying and undemocratic tactics. We resolve to have the courage of our convictions to openly challenge our opponents in political debate. We have nothing to hide; on the contrary, we are proud to declare what we stand for, without equivocation or deceit.
We shall not be deterred by political thugs from democratically and peacefully spreading the case for real socialism. For now has never been a better time for Zimbabwean workers to come together and organise to eradicate the obscenity of global capitalism.

Bigboy Musemwa
(The offending advert which led to one of our members being detained and accused of plotting to overthrow Mugabe read: "Workers! Get free socialist details from WSM-Zimbabwe, PO Box 5120, Harare; E-mail:")

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