The rise and fall of Robert Mugabe

Major General Sibusiso Moyo appeared on Wednesday, November 15, 2017 on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation to say that “the situation in our country has reached another level….

“The president and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed…. We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes.

“As soon as we have accomplished our mission we expect that the situation will return to normalcy…this is not a military takeover of government.”

Reuters, a German imperialist press association revealed the power struggle inside ZANU-PF (Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front) in September 2017: “But the intelligence reports, which date from 2009 to this year, say a group of powerful people is already planning to reshape the country in the post-Mugabe era.

“Key aspects of the transition planning described in the documents were corroborated by interviews with political, diplomatic and intelligence sources in Zimbabwe and South Africa.”

Mugabe’s unwillingness to step down split ZANU-PF

President Mugabe at 93, refused to relinquish power. He has fired every potential successor with anti-colonial liberation struggle credentials.

His dismissal on November 6th of Emmerson Mnangagwa as the vice president of Zimbabwe and likely successor upset key elements in the leadership of the Zimbabwe army.

Many saw it as a clear strategic move by Mugabe to position his wife, Grace Mugabe as the future leader of Zimbabwe.

General Constantino Chiwega, the joint chief of Zimbabwe armed forces held a press conference a day before General Moyo announced the coup on TV, saying that the military would not “hesitate to step in” to “protect the revolution” although everyone knows that there is no revolution under Mugabe’s regime.

This was an explicit threat to the G40 faction within ZANU-PF, vying for power to succeed Mugabe and organised around Grace Mugabe.

Jonathan Moyo, Education Minister, and Ignatus Chombo, Finance Minister are two of the G40’s leaders arrested by the coup-plotting Generals.

Mugabe’s rise to power

Mugabe won power in April 1980 following an anti-colonial struggle against white minority settlers.

Mugabe is a product of the African struggle against direct colonialism, or white power.

He attended the December 1958 All African People’s Conference organised by Kwame Nkrumah, which was attended by people like Patrice Lumumba, Franz Fanon and others.

Mugabe lived in Ghana where he taught for two years and married his first wife, Sally Hayfron.

Mugabe was brought to power by the armed anti-colonial struggle that swept Southern Africa during the sixties and seventies, particularly in what was known then as Rhodesia, a white settler colony, which “unilaterally declared independence” (UDI) from Britain in 1965.

Two movements dominated the struggle in Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) led by Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe African People’s Union (ZAPU) led by Joshua Nkomo.

Mugabe helped the Reverend Ndabiningi Sithole to launch ZANU in 1963, after separating from Joshua’s ZAPU. Mugabe was imprisoned by the Rhodesian white settler colonial regime for subversion for 10 years between 1964 and 1974.

Upon his release, he crossed the borders to Mozambique from where he would lead the armed struggle against the illegal minority white settler regime of Ian Smith. In the meantime he was elected as president of ZANU.

Mugabe‘s ZANU organization was supported by China, while ZAPU was one of the so-called “Authentic Six” anti-colonialist organizations (the five others being ANC, MPLA, SWAPO, FRELIMO, PAIGC) in Africa, supported by the then Soviet Union.

ZANU and ZAPU merged later on 1987 to become one organization, ZANU-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

Mugabe’s forces were able to get support from many African countries, particularly from Mozambique, Tanzania, Angola and Zambia.

The African People’s Socialist Party and its chairman, Omali Yeshitela organized the first ZANU solidarity group in the U.S. to advance the revolution in Zimbabwe.

The Party trained ZANU’s comrades on how to do solidarity work throughout the U.S. But once they seized power, we never heard from them again.

You cannot understand the crisis of neocolonialism in Zimbabwe if you do not know the true colonial crimes committed by white power in Zimbabwe.

“Some six thousand white farmers owned 15.5 million hectares of prime land, 39 per cent of the land in the country, while about 4.5 million farmers (a million households) in ‘communal areas’ were left to subsist on 16.4 million hectares of the most arid land, to which they’d been removed or confined by a century of colonial rule.”

This is the land stolen by Cecil Rhodes and imperialist agents at gunpoint, with untold massacres of indigenous African people throughout the country.

But even with the documented genocidal crimes of the white settler Rhodesian regime, its long-time leader Ian Smith was allowed to maintain his wealth and property and participate in the new government as a full partner with veto power.

He was not put on trial for war crimes or crimes against humanity. It was a neocolonial arrangement that provided Mandela and the African National Congress leadership instructions on how to sellout.

Neocolonial solution versus the land question in Zimbabwe 

In the face of success of the African guerrilla fighters, the British rulers first tried to create a puppet government with sellouts Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and Abel Muzorewa as the black faces of new colonialism in Zimbabwe.

In June of 1979 they created what they called Zimbabwe-Rhodesia with Muzorewa as its prime minister, in a so-called internal settlement.

By 1979, it became clear to the British rulers that the 250,000 white settlers were losing the war.

They reached out for a deal with the ZANU and ZAPU. They proposed the Lancaster Agreement to save colonialism in Zimbabwe.

Let’s look at the critical aspects of the Lancaster agreement. “Two of its provisions, one economic and the other political, reflected this short-termism: one called for land transfers on a ‘willing buyer, willing seller’ basis, with the British funding the scheme; the other reserved 20 per cent of seats in the House of Assembly for whites – 3 per cent of the population – giving the settler community an effective veto over any amendment to the Lancaster House terms.”

Subsequently, European settlers were allowed to stay on stolen land and keep the fruits of our labor that they enjoyed at our expense. That is how the status quo was implemented in Zimbabwe.

Margaret Thatcher’s foreign secretary, Lord Carrington, insisted, “Zimbabwe’s new constitution include a 10-year bar on the forcible redistribution of the farms.”

The deal also committed the British government funding of land redistribution to the African majority, but this never materialized.

The Queen rewarded Mugabe for this agreement with a knighthood in 1994 before stripping him of it when Mugabe was under pressure by war veterans over the refusal by Tony Blair’s government to honor the Lancaster agreement to fund the land redistribution to African people.

In 1997, the Labour government refused to fulfill their part of the deal. Clare Short, the minister for International Development, claimed that since neither she nor her colleagues came from the landed class in Britain–‘my own origins are Irish and as you know we were colonised not colonisers,’ she wrote to the Zimbabwean minister of Agriculture and Land–they could not be held responsible for what Britain had done in colonial Rhodesia.”

The veterans forcibly took the land back in the 2000s. Imperialist bourgeois propaganda would want you to believe that the land seizure was a disaster, implying that only white people can manage those confiscated farms.

The truth was that this was the greatest land transfer in Southern Africa from white oppressors to African people. This is not to imply there were no issues with it, there were, but this is not the scope of this article.

Imperialist sanctions against the regime of Mugabe

To change the Lancaster generated constitution, Mugabe had to hold a referendum.

White imperialists mobilized not just white people, but also funded Morgan Tsvangirai, a Trade Unionist leader and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The newly formed MDC defeated Mugabe’s referendum to change the constitution in 2000.

In 1998, Mugabe sent 11,000 troops to defend Laurent Desire Kabila’s regime against Paul Kagame and Yoweri Museveni, the two agents of the U.S. in the war without end in the Congo.

Mugabe finds himself in opposition to U.S. and UK imperialism on the land issue and Congo’s aggression at the same time.

In Congo, Mugabe’s army was dealing with diamonds sales. His army also provides security personnel for Joseph Kabila.

U.S. rulers, with the support of all western countries, imposed sanctions against the regime of Robert Mugabe.

An example of its impact gives us an idea of the suffering they unleashed on the people of Zimbabwe.

Gideon Gono, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, wrote “the country’s foreign exchange reserves had declined from $830 million, representing three months’ import cover in 1996 to less than one month’s cover by 2006.

“Total foreign payments arrears increased from $109 million at the end of 1999 to $2.5 billion at the end of 2006. Foreign direct investment had shrunk from $444.3 million in 1998 to $50 million in 2006.

“Donor support, even to sectors vital to popular welfare, such as health and education, was at an all-time low. Danish support for the health sector, $29.7 million in 2000, was suspended…

“The US issued travel warnings, blocked food aid during the heyday of land reform and opposed Zimbabwe’s application to the Global Fund to Fight Aids.”

They did not limit themselves to sanctions, according to Thabo Mbeki, then the president of South Africa.

Tony Blair’s government asked South Africa to help Britain invade Zimbabwe and topple Robert Mugabe by force (The, 27 Nov 13).

African Internationalists supported Mugabe against white imperialism but united with the people against him and the entire petty bourgeois opportunist leadership.

As of this writing Mugabe has been stripped of his function as president of ZANU-PF and given a dead line to stand down by midday Monday, November 20th.

The central committee has expelled his wife, Grace Mugabe as the head of the ZANU-PF Women’s League.

Mugabe is a popular figure amongst many Africans, particularly amongst Pan-Africanists. His determination to take the land back from white settlers gained him great support.

We African Internationalists always said that we supported Mugabe against white imperialists but united with the people against Mugabe.

The key question in Zimbabwe is how to advance the revolution, how to overturn the imperialist power that sucks our raw materials and labor and how to unite the African nation.

Mugabe has turned his back on Nkrumah and the building of one United African Socialist state

Mugabe is opposed to revolution, he has worked for status quo, and he denies that Zimbabwe is one of the fiercest oppressors and exploiters of African workers.

Mugabe‘s loyalty was to the African Union, an organization that rejects the correct Kwame Nkrumah call for one African union government!

He chose to stay with the Berlin Conference-created neo-colony of Zimbabwe.

This ZANU–PF coup is for ZANU-PF’s benefit. It is the same system without Mugabe. The African petty bourgeoisie is keeping power by getting rid of Mugabe.

We have no faith in General Chiwega, or in Mnangagwa, or in Tsvangirai or Grace Mugabe. And we certainly have no confidence in the bourgeoisie electoral process that has us voting for one neocolonialist candidate or the other.

The future of the people of Zimbabwe is in completing the African revolution that has been blocked by ZANU-PF and the MDC. This rotten imperialist social system, born at our expense must go.

Organize for the Worldwide African Revolution!

Smash Neocolonialism in Zimbabwe!

Build the African Socialist International!



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