Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa pledged to open up the country to international capital as he was inaugurated on Friday. It followed mass celebrations at Robert Mugabe’s resignation after 37 years last week.
Mnangagwa said, “Key choices will have to be made to attract foreign direct investment while transforming our economy.
“We are ready and willing for a steady re-engagement with all the nations of the world.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is already circling. Zimbabwe mission chief Gene Leon said, “Immediate action is critical to reduce the deficit to a sustainable level, accelerate structural reforms.”
And former colonial power Britain, seeing an opportunity to reassert its interests, pledged to support the new government.
Zimbabwean capitalism is in deep crisis. The military coup two weeks ago that brought Mnangagwa to power was the result of divisions within the ruling class about how to deal with it.
Mugabe implemented some free market reforms, but didn’t go far enough to satisfy those who ousted him. The Mnangagwa faction’s solution is to go further with free market reforms and normalise relations with Western imperialism.
This will mean more suffering for working class Zimbabweans.
Mnangagwa was vice president until last month when he was sacked to make way for Mugabe’s wife Grace Mugabe. He was one of the Mugabe regime’s key henchman and worked for the repressive security apparatus.
Willet, a Zimbabwean student and socialist, spoke to Socialist Worker from the resignation celebrations last Tuesday. “Mnangagwa represents the deep state, the junta and the army and he’s the mastermind of all of this,” he said. “He is favoured by capital and imperialism.”
He added, “The fundamental question is what happens next, because what we’ve seen is an elite war.
“The ruling system is pursuing a neoliberal agenda and we’re not celebrating that.”
But Mugabe’s resignation has also opened up the possibility of working class people asserting their own demands. Willet said, “We’ve seen the biggest demonstrations and it will have raised the confidence of the working class.
“This is a step forward for the working class—whatever government comes next will face resistance.”