South Africans pledge solidarity with Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party held a widely condemned election on June 29 in which the opposition dropped out because of widespread violence and intimidation. The African Union on June 30 joined the international chorus in rejecting the outcome. South African President Thabo Mbeki is mediating a “power-sharing deal between ZANU-PF and the opposition Movement for a Democratic Change.

The South African Communist Party issued a statement, excerpted below, just before the election, pledging solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe:

The SACP is extremely disturbed by the latest developments in Zimbabwe, including the increase in violence directed at opposition members and supporters, the arbitrary arrest of opposition leaders, trade unionists and other sections of civil society, now culminating in the withdrawal of the MDC from the presidential run-off.

The SACP strongly condemns the decision by the Zimbabwean government to proceed with the elections. Such a decision can only create further chaos and instability and it is not in the interests of the Zimbabwean people.

It is for these reasons that the SACP pledges its continued solidarity with the struggles of ordinary Zimbabwean workers and the poor for democracy and the reconstruction of the economy of that country. It is not for us to choose which party must rule Zimbabwe, but we are in solidarity with the struggle for conditions to be created for the people of Zimbabwe to freely exercise their choice.

The SACP has consistently warned of the deteriorating situation in the country, and called for the Southern African Development Community to intervene and insist on the strict observance of its own protocols on free, fair and democratic elections.

At the heart of the crisis in Zimbabwe has been a degenerating ZANU-PF characterized by use of the state as a means [of wealth] accumulation by elites, gross mismanagement of the economy, leading to a growing gulf between the government and the people. This has led to the alienation of key former constituencies of ZANU-PF from this once heroic liberation movement, culminating in the loss of elections by ZANU-PF on March 29. Much as imperialism will always try to undermine all progressive revolutions in order to establish neo-colonial regimes in its former colonies, it is disingenuous for ZANU-PF to blame all of its problems on imperialism. How come that in the 1960s and 1970s imperialism failed to win the majority of the Zimbabwean people onto its side, but now, according to ZANU-PF, the people are being successfully “manipulated” by these imperialist forces? Any revolution that begins to turn its guns on the people is surely a revolution in deep trouble, and requires serious self-reflection by the liberation movement itself.

During the mid-1990s the ZANU-PF government itself colluded with the imperialist structural adjustment programs imposed on the people, with sections of the elite benefitting handsomely in the privatization and outsourcing of state services. This was the beginning of the seeds of the destruction of the Zimbabwean revolution.

The SACP will intensify our solidarity work, in collaboration with all progressive forces, in our quest to find lasting solutions for the crisis of Zimbabwe.

A copy of the full statement can be found at http://groups.google.com.