Socialist Worker

Zimbabwe: resistance from below is the way to challenge Mugabe

by Ken Olende
Issue No. 2108

The most effective challenge to Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s dictatorship is to help the Zimbabweans who have been struggling against the regime for the best part of a decade.

The African Union is dithering. African leaders are wary of siding with the West against Mugabe, who led one of the great African liberation struggles in the 1970s, at a time when Western government's were effectively backing the racist Ian Smith regime.

A military invasion will not help ordinary people. Nor will a “government of national unity” that entrenches leaders in power through undemocratic means.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) emerged from a mass struggle against the neoliberal policies of the World Bank. It came out of an uprising from below that resisted economic hardship imposed by the West.

But soon the MDC’s leaders were courting the support of business, multinationals and Western governments. This has allowed Mugabe to falsely present himself as a friend of the poor.


In the recent election posters hailed Comrade Mugabe and praised his anti-imperialism. His flirtation with neoliberalism and his acceptance of an honorary knighthood from the Queen are forgotten.

The movement from below is weakened, but it is far from crushed. It is because it is a threat that trade union leaders Lovemore Matombo and Wellington Chibebe still face very serious charges.

The International Socialist Organisation (ISO) – Socialist Worker’s sister organisation in Zimbabwe – has been active in opposing neoliberalism and challenging the government.

Women Of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) is a central organisation in building resistance in Zimbabwe. Several of their members have been detained.

A member of ISO Zimbabwe will be giving an eyewitness account of the recent struggles at the Marxism Festival.

To offer support to the ISO send messages to [email protected] and for financial support email [email protected] Donations should be sent to ISO Zim Solidarity, sort code 08-60-01, account number 20136938.

For more on Woza go to » and for the trade union leaders’ defence campaign go to » or »

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Tue 1 Jul 2008, 18:49 BST
Issue No. 2108
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