Under the guise of the unfolding economic crisis over the last 18 months, bosses have been making massive attacks on ordinary people. School Fees doubled overnight for the second term; bread prices rose 53%; milk prices rose; rice prises rose 50% - all this in the space of 4 weeks. Inflation is expected to reach 2,000% by year end. Bosses are now planning retrenchments.
Yet simultaneously these same bosses were continuing with their lavish lifestyles. Philip Chiyangwa acquired the latest Mercedes Benz with internet. Other bosses continue to enjoy house boating on Kariba.
The main reason that the bosses use for all this is the economic crisis. Yet there is no crisis for the bosses’ living standards. They still use company benefits to pay for their children’s school fees and their trips to Kariba.
The real reason for the attacks on ordinary people is the mess that the bosses themselves created in the first place. The ZANU-PF regime implemented the IMF/World Bank economic reforms. The reforms led to the price rises and planned job losses we see today.
To ensure that their programme succeeds the bosses and international ruling class have gone on an offensive. They want to ensure that the continued implementation of their neo-liberal programme succeeds. In order to do so they have to create the conditions for it.
One of the main ways is to attack the radical elements in the opposition. Currently their biggest target is the NCA’s Lovemore Madhuku. The NCA under Madhuku has led countless protests and is in the forefront of active opposition to the ZANU-PF regime.
Prior to this, the Themba-Nyathis, Ncubes, Stevensons, Mutambaras and Chihwayis attempted to destroy the MDC. But their own project is unravelling with defections and resignations.
As Socialist Worker goes to press a flurry of “diplomatic” activity is taking place. UN boss Koffi Annan is pressurising to “visit the country”. Former and Current Tanzanian bosses Benjamin Nkapa and Jakaya Kikwete are messengers between Mugabe and Britain’s Blair while the British ambassador to Zimbabwe is on a tour of the country talking to “citizens” (bosses) on the way forward. At the same time South Africa’s Mbeki has renewed his “quiet diplomacy” campaign because the economic crisis here is once affecting South African bosses and the Rand.
While all this has been going on, the state and much of the so-called independent media are vilifying Madhuku and the regime has also issued a threat to the leadership of ZCTU under the guise of its so-called forex abuse probe.
As we called for in the last issue of Socialist Worker, we must give unconditional support to the real (Tsvangirai) MDC and ZCTU. In the meantime WOZA has been staging big and successful protests across the country against school fee increases that has seen the arrest of 14 and 17 year-old school children.
Ordinary people will not benefit from any “intervention” or packages that lead to the retirement of Mugabe – whether before, in or after 2008. Neither will we benefit from Tripartite negotiations with the regime that implemented the economic policies that put us in poverty in the first place.
The only way forward is to organise action like WOZA is doing to ensure that whatever happens, we have access to decent and affordable education, health and ARVs and living wages linked to inflation – and an end to oppression.
Phantsi/Pasi/Down With Capitalism – Qina Msebenzi Qina – Shinga Mushandi Shinga
by Rosa Zulu