Zimbabwe: The Fall of Mugabe – Victory for the Masses or for the Military-ZANU-PF Alliance?



Joint Statement of the Africa Secretariat of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) and the Economic Liberation Association (Zambia), 22.11.2017, www.thecommunists.net and www.elazambia.org





1.             Zimbabwe’s weeks-long political turmoil brought about by the military’s siege on political power, and subsequent house-arrest of Zimbabwe’s long-time President Robert Mugabe, finally come to an end yesterday on 21st November 2017. The Zimbabwean Defence Forces (ZDF) led by General Chiwenga has finally forced Mugabe to resign as President of the nation, and abdicate his leadership of the ruling Party ZANU-PF, a party which he founded and led for 37 years after winning Independence from the British backed Ian Smith settler regime in 1980 via a years-long liberation struggle.


2.             Mugabe led Zimbabwe as a dictator, brutally repressing any dissent or opposition against his leadership. His leadership has come to an end, but the repressive regime (ZANU-PF) he built around him remains. The question therefore stands, does the removal of Mugabe from power via a military coup constitute a victory for the working class, peasants and poor and oppressed masses of Zimbabwe, or does it represent a victory and continuation of a faction of the capitalist oppressive ZANU-PF whose preferred successor to Mugabe is Emerson Mnangagwa?


3.             The RCIT and ELA hold the view that while the ousting of Mugabe as a dictator is a relief to the masses from long years of oppression, it does not however entail freedom and progressive change for the masses of the Zimbabwean people. The very fact that Mugabe has been deposed from power via a military coup d’état, and not by a mass popular uprising by the people, is evidence enough that the reactionary regime of ZANU-PF is very much in charge and ready to continue and maintain the status quo under another leader of the military favored faction of the ZANU-PF.


4.             Therefore, what we see is a classic case of the Zimbabwean military and ZANU-PF political elite alliance capturing political power in the name of saving the people from Mugabe’s dictatorship. In reality, the General Chiwenga and Mnangagwa military-political tag-team has usurped the will of the people under the pretext of ‘protecting and advancing the revolution’, whilst in actual fact, they will still maintain a stronghold on political power under a capitalist economic formation, and will continue to serve the political and economic interests of their own class – those of the political, military, bureaucratic and capitalist elites, and all to the exclusion and detriment of the long-suffering ordinary masses of Zimbabwe.


5.             The latest developments are a confirmation of what we said in our last statement of 15th November: “The RCIT states that this military coup represents a power struggle within the ruling elite. Both sides represent different sectors of the capitalist class but none represents the interests of the labouring masses. Likewise, the Mugabe regime is not based on democratic elections or any mass support by the people but hold his power via repression and corruption for years. Therefore socialists in Zimbabwe oppose the coup but neither can they support the thoroughly corrupt Mugabe regime.” Those who cheered the coup as an act of “liberation” were equally wrong as those who sided with Mugabe in the name of “anti-imperialism”.


6.             The RCIT and ELA therefore calls on all the peoples of Zimbabwe, and all Socialist and progressive formations across the world, not to consider the military coup and installation of the military’s choice puppet leader Mnangagwa as a revolution nor victory of the people of Zimbabwe; but rather, to view such a military induced succession as a replacement of one dictator by another! In real terms, there is no change at all because the oppressors have not been overthrown by the people’s insurrection!


7.             We therefore call upon all oppressed people of Zimbabwe to immediately mount a counter- offensive against the military-political alliance if they are to truly liberate themselves. Such liberation must not be led by the bourgeois opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) or any other reactionary political force in Zimbabwe, but must be led by a revolutionary Party with a Socialist program that will deliver the demands of the working masses, peasants, students, women and youths of Zimbabwe. The workers and poor peasants of Zimbabwe must, in a word, take political power back from the generals, and by any means necessary, and wield it in their own hands for the purpose of serving their own political and economic interests! The ZANU-PF is a spent force, and compromised political entity that is of no value to the modern and historical demands of the masses of Zimbabwe, and is therefore, incapable of inspiring a revolutionary change. What the toiling workers, peasants and oppressed masses need for the true emancipation is one united socialist front with a revolutionary program. Most urgently they need their own revolutionary party as a leadership which serves the interest of the popular masses, and not an elite capitalist cabal that has entrenched itself in the decadent ZANU-PF!


8.             The RCIT and ELA repeat to call for the independent organisation and mobilisation of the workers and poor. No support for any faction of ZANU-PF or the MDC! We call the workers and the poor to form action committees in order to independently fight for their demands. Likewise it is urgent to fight for a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly as a democratic body which debates and decides on a new constitution and which is composed of delegates who are controllable by those who elected them and who are open to recall by their constituents.


Down with the military-political coup of the General Chiwenga-Mnangagwa faction!


For a Revolutionary Constituent Assembly!


For the nationalisation of the key industries and banks under workers control! For the expropriation of the foreign corporations!


For the nationalization of the land under the control of the rural poor!


For a public employment program in order to abolish unemployment, etc.!


Down with all imperialist sanctions against Zimbabwe!


All Power to the popular masses of Zimbabwe! For a workers and poor peasants government based on workers and popular councils and militias!


Long live the struggle for Socialism and Liberation of all Africa!




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We refer readers also to our last statement on the military coup in Zimbabwe:


Zimbabwe: Down with the Military Coup! No to the dynastic Mugabe Regime! For Independent Workers’ and Poor Mobilisations! For Action Committees of the Workers, Poor Peasants and Soldiers to Advance the Struggle against All Factions of the Ruling Elite! 15.11.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/against-mugabe-and-military-coup-in-zimbabwe/


For the RCIT’s analysis and perspectives of the liberation struggle in Black Africa, see, among others, the following document: Theses on Capitalism and Class Struggle in Black Africa, 13 April 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/africa-theses/


For more articles on Zimbabwe and Africa in general, we refer readers the section on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/africa-and-middle-east/