Category Archives: Zimbabwe

Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, was a left alternative ever on the cards?

If ever there was a clearer example of why no politician should be allowed to serve more than eight years in office, it is Robert Mugabe, it was clear from his early days that this was a man upon whom power was never going to sit lightly. Never the less most of us on the left welcomed his victory in the election that followed the signing of the Lancaster House Agreement.[LHA] Sadly we were to be bitterly disappointed and watched helplessly as he gradually moved against all progressive opposition forces which had emerged from the national liberation struggle. Although in truth the signs were there from day one when the only other viable pole of political influence within ZANU, General Josiah Tongogara was killed in a mysterious car crash just four days after the LHA had been signed.

At first Mugabe moved against his opponents, real or imagined by either co-opting them into government or out maneuvering them into the political wilderness. However between 1983 and 1985 he ordered the Zimbabwean armies 5th Brigade into Matabeleland and the Midlands regions of Zimbabwe, resulting in the death of over 5000 people belonging to the Ndebele who had supported Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU during the liberation struggle. From that day on the die was cast.

Stephen O’Brien has an interesting article on the opposition forces within Zanu here
whilst it is not perfect as it has some glaring gaps in the narrative it is worth a read.


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Filed under Democracy/Elections/democratic accountability/organized, Zimbabwe

SA dockers refusal to unload Zimbabwe arms shipment, immeasurably more important than than huffing and puffing by world leaders.

We should not underestimate the importance of the action taken by South African dockers against the Chinese vessel the An Yue Jiang, which had docked in the South African port of Durban’s carrying a cargo of seventy seven tonnes of weapons for Robert Mugabe government in Zimbabwe.

Despite the South African president Thabo Mbeki and his African National Congress (ANC) government decaring the seventy seven tonnes of weapons for the Mugabe government aboard the An Yue Jiang were legal cargo and would be transported 1000 miles overland northwards to Zimbabwe. The Durban dockers and port police refused to unload the cargo.

The South African government gave customs clearance for the weapons, which include more than three million rounds of AK-47 rifle ammunition, 1500 rocket-propelled grenades and more than 3000 mortar rounds and launchers. But Randall Howard, general secretary of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), to which the Durban dockers belong, warned: “As far as we are concerned, the containers will not be offloaded. The ship must return to China. If they the Mbeki government bring replacement labour to do the work, our members will not stand and look at them and smile.”

South Africa’s police trade union warned Mbeki, widely seen as sympathetic to Mugabe, against using policemen as “scab” labour.
“The dockers have good reasons for not offloading the ship,” said Benz Soko, spokesman for the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru). “We understand their objection.”

South Africa is seen as the one country that could bring the Mugabe government to its knees and force it to hold truly free and fair elections that could see opposition movements take power. They would be faced with reconstructing a country with 1650% inflation, 82% unemployment and the world’s lowest life expectancy among women – 34 years, against nearly 60 at independence in 1980.*

The An Yue Jiang eventually left the port of Durban with its cargo of arms intact in its hold, its whereabouts is currently not known. The Mozambiquen and Angolian governments followed the example set by the South African dockers and refused the ship entry into their ports. If the An Yue Jiang is unable to find a port in southern Africa to offload its consignment of Chinese weapons and ammunition for onward transport to Zimbabwe it is thought the Chinese government will order it to return home.

The refusal of the SA dockers and police to unload the vessal may yet come to be seen as a turning point in the struggle to bring an end to the 29 year Mugabe regime; and will come to be regarded as immeasurably more important than all the huffing and puffing by so-called world leaders and news media.* 

* Additional information from Tim O.

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Filed under democratic accountability, of capitalism, Organized Rage, South-Africa, unacceptable face of capitalism, Zimbabwe