Comrade R G Mugabe resigned the office of President of Zimbabwe amid much jubilation on the part of imperialism and its flunkeys – inside and outside of Zimbabwe. Much venomous abuse has been poured on him by the imperialist media, which have mindlessly described him as a brutal dictator who ruled over Zimbabwe through coercion, bringing nothing but misery, poverty and destitution to his people.
The truth is just the opposite. Robert Mugabe devoted his whole life to serving his people. He did a long term of imprisonment in the dungeons of the white minority racist rulers during the early years of the war of liberation, without the freedom-loving ideologues of imperialism and its paid hacks coming to his, or his fellow liberation fighters’ defence.
“The struggle against imperialism must be fought and fought – and fought in the intersts of the masses of Zimbabwe”
On coming out of prison, he guided the armed liberation struggle in Zimbabwe with skill and astuteness, forcing the British government at long last to arrange the Lancaster House Conference which led to Zimbabwe’s independence. At this Conference, the sticking point was the land question. Both the United States and Britain had agreed to fund the purchase of land from the white farmers, who had stolen this land at gunpoint from its lawful owners following the colonisation of the country by Cecil Rhodes’ armed hordes. This was a promise to be honoured in the breach rather than in the observance.
To the shock of its enemies, and a pleasant surprise to its friends, ZANU(PF) led by Robert Mugabe won an absolute and decisive victory in the elections held under the Lancaster House arrangement.
Robert Mugabe went on to form the government of new Zimbabwe. He and his Party did not have to share governmental power with any other party, let alone the representatives of the white minority, who had been allotted, quite unfairly, a disproportionate share of parliamentary seats.
All the same, forgetting all past differences and the cruelty inflicted by erstwhile white minority regime on the people of Zimbabwe, on the liberation fighters, and on him personally, Mugabe appointed two white members to his government as well as appointing his long-term opponent Joshua Nkomo as the Minister for Home Affairs.
Not being happy with that dispensation, Nkomo staged a rebellion in Matabeleland, which was rightly crushed by the government. Instead of blaming Mugabe for the resultant bloodshed, as the imperialist media and statesmen alike have done, the blame should be firmly placed on the shoulders of those who staged that provocation. Notwithstanding even that, Nkomo was subsequently invited to be part of the government, which he accepted.
When Nkomo died, Robert Mugabe paid an eloquent tribute to him, and he is honoured by being buried in the Heroes’ Acre, a cemetery close to Harare devoted to the patriots and freedom fighters of Zimbabwe.
Eventually, failing to get Britain and the US to honour their promise to fund the purchase of land from the white farmers, Mugabe’s government adopted the only course open to it, namely, confiscation of white farmers’ land and its redistribution among black Zimbabweans, mostly poor farmers. Had it not done so, the government would have stood rightly accused of betraying the people of Zimbabwe who had suffered and shed blood in the fight for liberation to be able to settle this historical injustice.
Mugabe’s government was by no means the first government to confiscate land. It had been done during the great French Revolution by the victorious bourgeoisie. And it has been done by socialist governments from the Soviet Union, through China, to the DPRK and several other countries.
What was remarkable was that Robert Mugabe’s government was the first non-communist government since the French Revolution to have redistributed land to the tiller. In doing so it set a very infectious example to other countries, especially neighbouring South Africa. It is for this reason, more than any other, that imperialism has poured its vitriol on Robert Mugabe.
Suddenly, from being a “perfect African gentleman” (in the words of Mrs Thatcher), he was transformed into a demon and a monster, and his government subjected to draconian economic and political sanctions and military threats.
His government was able to manage through a very difficult period thanks to the distribution of land which brought a modicum of prosperity to the countryside and the close relationship that the country had cultivated over the years with the People’s Republic of China.
During Mugabe’s period as President, life expectancy nearly doubled, education was made widely available with the result that Zimbabwe has one of the most literate populations in Africa. Health and other social programmes were put in place. Zimbabwe was even able to intervene militarily in the Democratic Republic of Congo to support a fellow African state threatened by mercenaries unleashed by imperialism. It cut off its ties with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which were bringing nothing but misery and starvation to the people of Zimbabwe.
These are the real reasons that imperialism made a special target of Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF government, and did its best to destabilise Zimbabwe and overthrow that government by every means, including draconian economic sanctions – that modern weapon of mass destruction so freely wielded by imperialism, giving the lie to its alleged tender concern for ‘human rights’ – diplomatic and political intervention, notably lavishing multi-million pound and dollar funding and media promotion of the pro-imperialist ‘opposition’ MDC.
If all the efforts of imperialism to overthrow Robert Mugabe failed, dissensions within the ruling ZANU-PF have obliged Mugabe to resign. We do not know at the moment the direction the course of events will take. It is our hope that ZANU-PF will defend and safeguard the achievements made by the people of Zimbabwe during the long course of Robert Mugabe’s stewardship.
For our part, we honour his record and achievements which undoubtedly will go down in history as nothing short of remarkable. He has been an iconic figure, deserving of respect, love and admiration of all who love freedom and justice. Our admiration for his long record of service to the Zimbabwean people is tinged by sadness at the manner of his departure. We would have wished him four or five years ago to have made way for his successor and to have retired as an elder statesman at the height of his glory.
Imperialism sees opportunity in every crisis, and US & British agencies will be energetically seeking to influence the course of events to find pliable leadership that will pave the way for the return of their profitable exploitation of Zimbabwe’s people. Without power to influence the course of events, the workers of Britain and the CPGB-ML can only look on and advise the Zimbabwean people to be vigilant.
The course of struggle is long, convoluted and difficult to traverse, and not everyone has the steadfastness and courage for the fight. But at this time of transition, we would all do well to remember the words of another great comrade:
“The capitalists are our implacable enemies: their wealth is built upon our poverty; their joy upon our misery“