Patrick Bond on Mugabe’s Repressive Neo-Colonial Regime in Zimbabwe

Will Zimbabwe again regress?

A mid-2011 election announced by Mugabe promises a return to outright violence and poll thievery.

“There was a ZANU-PF that we were part of, the liberation movement, and then there was Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, which is very different. Mugabe is essentially right wing, notwithstanding the anti-imperialist rhetoric.”

Patrick Bond, Bulawayo

November 12, 2010 –  If leaders of a small African country stand up with confidence to imperialist aggression, especially from the US and Britain, it would ordinarily strike any fair observer as extremely compelling. Especially when the nightmare of racist colonialism in that country is still be to exorcised, whites hold a disproportionate share of economic power and state’s rulers appear serious about changing those factors.

But that country needs a second glance. What may seem to some a progressive and brave government is upon closer examination a tyranny whose leader repeatedly acts against grassroots and shop-floor social solidarity, and notwithstanding rhetoric about land redistribution, is ultimately very hostile to its own society’s poor and working people, women, youth, elderly and ill.

“Progress in Zimbabwe” was the title of a four-day conference in Bulawayo last week, gathering mainly academics but also leading civil society strategists. It was organised by University of Johannesburg political economist David Moore and by Showers Mawowa of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) School of Development Studies and the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development.

Said Moore, “For many analysts, the end of progress is signified in the political projects of Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe African Nation Union-Patriotic Front [ZANU-PF] – not to mention the Government of National Unity.” It has been two years since South Africa’s then-president Thabo Mbeki negotiated dysfunctional power-sharing between Mugabe’s junta and Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Continue reading