Socialist Worker

Zimbabwe: General strike as Mugabe clings on to power

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2097

An indefinite general strike was under way in Zimbabwe as Socialist Worker went to press.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) called it to demand the release of presidential election results, still withheld two weeks after the election.

Most independent observers accept that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai beat president Robert Mugabe who has been in power since independence.

Briggs Bomba of the International Socialist Organisation in Zimbabwe said, 'Mugabe's continued hold on power, after an election he visibly lost, now constitutes a coup.'

Though the economic crisis means that only 20 percent of workers are formally employed, the strike is an opportunity for the opposition to retake the initiative.

Workers have always spearheaded resistance in Zimbabwe. This is an opportunity to provide a more powerful opposition than the MDC has supplied since the election.

The strike will not be easy as demonstrations are banned. MDC secretary general Tendai Biti said, 'If you demonstrate in Zimbabwe, Mugabe will kill you.'

Mugabe looks set to proceed with 'recounts' in parliamentary seats where his Zanu-PF party did badly.

The MDC's indecisiveness has allowed Mugabe's government to take the initiative, and he has launched violent attacks on opposition supporters.

Two MDC activists have reportedly been killed and 200 hospitalised after attacks from Zanu-PF thugs.

The MDC had been hoping to gain international support through other African states in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which includes South Africa.

But South African president Thabo Mbeki said 'the situation in Zimbabwe is manageable'.

Briggs said, 'President Mbeki's unfortunate statements and the deafening silence from other African leaders in SADC and the African Union raises serious problems of accountability with the current crop of African leaders.'

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Tue 15 Apr 2008, 19:24 BST
Issue No. 2097
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