ZANU and ZAPU, these former liberation movements fought a protracted war against the white settler regime, because of ZANU military and logistical support from China and ZAPU support from Russia, the insurgence led to fears of a Soviet Union/Communism expansion or encroachment into Southern Africa which forced USA to urge British Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher into talks with the liberation movements. ZANU fears of ZAPU relations with Russia prompted ZANU to get the backing of Britain.
ZANU ascended to power in 1980 after the Lancaster House Agreement which gave preconditions by agreeing first to signing the policies which preserved white capitalist interests mainly in mining and agriculture. These conditions are almost akin to those of Kempton Park Agreements of South Africa, ZANU also agreed to the willing buyer willing seller of land instead of expropriation, that means most of the land remained in the hands of the erstwhile colonisers. It also agreed to a moratorium of ten years before it can start to talk about land, it agree to a number of non-constituent seats to whites in cabinet and parliament to make sure that white interests were safe guarded.
During that period former President Mugabe was a darling of the west and was awarded knighthood and given so much accolades and honorary degrees which they later withdrew at the height of the land revolution. These endearments by the west was a move of trying to create a buffer zone for the Soviet influence, that’s why Zimbabwe had the best social welfare measures in Africa especially on health and conditions. It was a containment measure. Genuine national liberation cannot be achieved by simply achieving formal independence and democratic rights, but only by overthrowing capitalism itself. Capitalist economy has failed to provide decent jobs, houses, education and health care.
The recent events in Zimbabwe whilst it is a bit too early to judge and characterize the new government in power, to us Pan Africanists we say the Land Remains Ours We are also against compensation of white farmers who lost their land through the land revolution, but the President hinted that those who benefited from the land reform it’s irreversible and the land reform was necessary. People are still celebrating the fall of Robert Mugabe and they are euphoric and ecstatic, but the event have just brought some short relief, I foresee the conditions being worse than those under the economic sanctions if we allow imperialism too much free play in our economics. It looks like the new government is conceding to imperialist privatisations, deregulation and dependence on the West, this is what is called neo colonialism.
Already some austerity measures have already been taken under this 2018 budget which are meant to attract capital from investors. Zimbabwe now has a leaner cabinet and some government workers have been terminated. Zimbabwe initiated its fast track land reform, it enacted an indigenous and economic empowerment act which restricted foreign multinational company’s domination including mining. This has never been done nowhere in Africa, it jettisoned the Economic Economic Structural Adjustment Programme to embark on a “socialist” path.
Imperialism was not happy about these moves at all. They started to campaign for regime change in Zimbabwe through a wide array of methods which include media propaganda of misinformation demonizing Zimbabwe and its leadership. After this soft coup the Western capitals toned down the condemning rhetoric. As Pan Africanists we have a genuine concern regarding the lifting of indigenisation and economic empowerment laws which were directed against overseas investors. China is going to to establish an economic foothold in Zimbabwe. The Chinese in Zimbabwe are already exploiting the mineral resources of this country at a song and there are many reports of exploiting and abusing the workers and the trade unions are silent about that and they seem to be getting government protection.
The new administration has appealed to China, US and Britain for re-engagement and to be part of community of nations and end decades of isolation from global lenders and donors. Our fear is imperialist domination, brutal exploitation and the looting of the country’s rich natural resources. To us it is the reemergence of ESAP which brought a lot of suffering during the 1990s and eroded all the social gains which the country had made since 1980.
International financial institutions like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are there to facilitate the plunder and rape of African lands and forced use of their labour. Zimbabwe seeks to be re admitted into the British Commonwealth but common wealth member country people remain impoverished and uneducated, when Zimbabwe chooses to join it must not be based on compromising its sovereignty and revolutionary principles. The economic structural adjustment programs on Africa obligates countries to surrender to foreign trade relations tilted to benefit multinational corporate interests, like privatization of public goods and service, deregulation, wage cuts and all sorts of things which are not in the interest of the masses. If Foreign Direct Investment is coming it must come through our own terms for the benefit of our people.
The newly installed President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa has been invited this week at the prestigious World Economic Forum 48th meeting set for Davos, Switzerland, this is the first time Zimbabwe attends the forum, the message which Zimbabwe is most likely to take there is to tell the imperialist economies that Zimbabwe is ready and open for business. For the past 18 years these imperialist powers have been working for the downfall of Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe because of his anti-imperialist policies, the same forces supported economic sanctions on Zimbabwe which has brought the economy on its knees. Will just wait and see which direction the new government is taking.