At its December Conference, the Zanu PF regime, resolved to cancel the presidential elections due in 2008 and defer them to 2010, ostensibly to harmonise them with the parliamentary elections, purportedly to cut costs. Yet this is the same regime that only six months ago imposed a hugely unpopular and costly senate election on the country! Similarly the regime
has extended Sekesai Makwavarara‘s term as unelected Mayor of Harare for a fifth record term. What is clear is that the regime has been emboldened to do this by a cowardly and weak opposition movement led by the MDC and its hangers on in civic society and the labour movement. As late as November the Tsvangirai MDC, through its de facto shadow prime
minister Eddie Cross, announced that it was convinced that Mugabe was retiring in 2008 and elections due and that it was therefore renouncing mass action or the jambanja route or the “winter of discontent” that Tsvangirai had promised, in favour of mobilisation for the coming presidential elections! In view of such cowardice and in the context of a worsening economic situation with official inflation rates over 1 200% the regime has decided to dispense with any pretences of
democracy rule but go into open dictatorship as it launches, in conjunction with the bosses, a virtual war on the poor, workers, peasants and the middle classes through Gono’s IMF endorsed neo-liberal economic turn-around programme or ESAP 2, to try and survive.
There is no doubt that the Zanu PF dictatorship and the bosses have declared a virtual war on the poor and majority of this country. It started with Reserve Bank Governor Gono in his last Monetary Policy announcing the removal of price controls and all subsidies on goods and services offered by the government, local authorities and parastatals. They
were ordered to charge market rates and survive on their own. Thus ZINWA and ZESA have increased water and electricity charges by over 1000% whilst local councils across the country have massively hiked rates, by as much as 5 000%, and schools allowed school fees to be increased at the inflation rate, i.e. 1,280%!
On its part business has imposed savage unprecedented increases on the prices of basics like food, clothing, education, drugs and health services, farming inputs and transport. Transport by combis has trebled from $300 to $1000 in less than two months. The Poverty Datum Line is now over $360 000 a month for an average working class family, yet workers on average earn not more than $60 000.
Of course the state and parastatal fat cats and bosses are doing well. Gono splashed half a trillion dollars on a
Mercedes Benz – enough to supply 10 000 AIDS patients with ARV drugs for six months. Judges and MPs have been given increments of over 1 000% when teachers, nurses and doctors on less than $60 000 have been given a miserly 300%. The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange was reported amongst the top three performers across Africa in the past year, meaning bosses made huge profits as they give workers peanuts. But the bosses and the state have gone too far, and have provoked a rising anger amongst the masses. The opposition parties seeking to hijack our struggles only in order to sell out to Zanu PF and bosses in the near future.
A democratic united front of activists and social movements under accountable and recallable leadership must be built with a clear anti- ESAP, anti-capitalist, antidictatorship and anti-imperialist programme to push forward the emerging struggles. The social forum provides a powerful platform to start this. On the other hand in unions workers must boot out cowardly and sell–out leaders and replace them with militants and push for action, strikes, leading to general strikes and demonstrations against the bosses and the state, working hand in hand with the social movements. We must seek to build regional and international solidarity from other movements of the poor and oppressed of the world, starting with the World
Social Forum in Nairobi in January.
Jambanja Ndizvo! Smash the Dictatorship! Smash Capitalism!