Results of the first Zimbabwean presidential election since the fall of dictator Robert Mugabe were expected this week.
Polls in the run up to Monday’s election showed President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the ruling Zanu PF neck and neck with Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Mnangagwa has ruled the country since ousting his former boss Mugabe in a military coup last November. It came after a faction fight within Zanu PF over how to deal with a spiralling economic crisis. Mnangagwa’s wing of Zanu PF thought that Mugabe had not pushed through enough free market reforms. And he has been trying to normalise relations with former colonial power Britain.
Zimbabweans also voted in parliamentary and local elections on Monday. And the pressure is on from the West and big business for Zanu PF and the MDC to rule as part of a national unity government.
Mnangagwa is the former chief torturer of the Mugabe regime. He now wants to push through a massive assault on working class living standards and cosy up further to Western and Chinese imperialism.
The end of Mnangagwa’s junta and Zanu PF rule would give confidence to working class people. The International Socialist Organisation, the Socialist Workers Party’s sister organisation in Zimbabwe, called on people to vote against Mnangagwa but without illusions in the MDC.
The MDC was set up by trade unions when Mugabe turned to free market policies in the 1990s—but it has since adopted those same free market policies.
It will take a fight from below, independent of both parties, to resist the Zimbabwean ruling class’s coming attacks on workers and the poor.