Mugabe and his masters to blame for Zimbabwe situation – Thami Hukwe

Comrade Thami Hukwe wrote:
The independence of Zimbabwe was achieved by the struggle of the masses but was negotiated in the Lancaster House agreements with the UK government, which removed from the table any meaningful land reform. Once in power, Mugabe shifted sharply to the right and in the 1990s adopted openly ‘free market’ policies imposed by the IMF.

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These so-called Structural Adjustment Programmes of the IMF included the removal of price controls and wage controls; cuts in government spending; the lifting of state subsidies on basic consumer goods; liberalisation of the foreign currency allocation system; a 40 percent devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar; restructuring of the various state-owned companies, etc. Later, Mugabe fell out with western imperialism, which in turn imposed devastating sanctions on the country, which are haunting the poor Zimbabwean masses to this day.

All these factors have completely dislocated the economy. The cuts in the public sector led to the collapse in the healthcare and education sectors. There was a huge devaluation of the Zimbabwean Dollar, manufacturing and mining production collapsed, unemployment went up dramatically and hyper-inflation eventually led to the collapse of the currency.

The situation is now intolerable in Zimbabwe as a direct result of the mess caused by Western imperialism, the IMF and the Mugabe regime. So long as Mugabe was applying their dictates he was the darling of the West, receiving honorary doctors degrees in the Western capitals. But the devastating effects of these policies on his social base prompted him to demagogically come in conflict with his imperialist masters. He tried to impose price controls but this merely led to a black market, which exacerbated the economic situation. Following this, he demagogically rediscovered the land question and leaned on the landless peasants and war veterans in order to hold on to power.

But the land expropriations eventually led to a situation where the best land is now in the hands of the clique around Mugabe, including many top people in the military and state bureaucracy. In addition, instead of following a policy of collectivisation and maintaining the high level of mechanisation under the control of the farm workers themselves, many farms were simply broken up into smaller plots, leading to the collapse of the agriculture sector: the largest sector of the economy.

This is a serious crisis and could even lead to civil war. Such an outcome would destabilize the whole region but it is clear that at some point the regime could be overthrown. The different factions can no longer solely rely on their base, leading to all kind of intrigues and power-plays in its ranks. It is a sign of the deep crisis if the regime. Neither ZANU-PF nor the opposition MDC (which is itself split into three different factions) can offer any solution out of the crisis for the Zimbabwe masses. All of this has meant that the regime has lost huge support from its social base. At some point the regime runs the risk of being overthrown.

The workers, peasants and the poor in Zimbabwe can trust none of the political factions at the top, but must rediscover the route to independent action based on their own strength.

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