Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Zimbabwe: Army takes over, says Mugabe is safe – Socialist Worker Warns of Neoliberal Western Take-over.

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Mugabe, “never fully accepted the neoliberal agenda” says Socialist Worker. 

The BBC reports.

The military has taken control in Zimbabwe but said President Robert Mugabe, in power since 1980, was safe.

After seizing state TV, an army spokesman announced it was targeting people close to Mr Mugabe.

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma later said he had spoken to Mr Mugabewho had indicated that he “was confined to his home but said that he was fine”.

The move may be a bid to replace Mr Mugabe with his sacked deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, BBC correspondents say.

The dismissal of Mr Mnangagwa last week had left Mr Mugabe’s wife Grace as the president’s likely successor.

Heavy gun and artillery fire could be heard in northern parts of the capital Harare early on Wednesday.

A statement read out by a general on air denied it was a coup. There was no immediate word from the president himself.


The military in Zimbabwe says it has temporarily taken control of the country to “target criminals” around the president, Robert Mugabe, amid high tension and reports of explosions in Harare.

Soldiers have sealed access to parliament, government offices and courts in the capital, residents said. Access to the president’s official residence was also blocked by troops.

Moyo said the army was targeting “criminals around” Mugabe, who were “committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in order to bring them to justice”.

The takeover comes amid a bitter battle over who will succeed 93-year-old Mugabe.

Socialist Worker  says,”Mugabe never fully accepted the neoliberal agenda.

Zimbabwean socialist Munya told Socialist Worker,

The faction around Mnangagwa and the military that could be ascending to power wants full-blooded free market reforms. They also want to open Zimbabwe up to Western imperialist powers—including former colonial rulers Britain.

Munya explained, “Mugabe never fully accepted the neoliberal agenda. The Mnangagwa faction includes the former finance minister who worked closely with the International Monetary Fund.”

It’s likely that large sections of the ruling class and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will rally around the new set up. Munya said, “The MDC elites are likely to be supportive of it because they also want more neoliberalism and a restoration of relations with the West.”

He added, “There’s a potential that the Mnangagwa, MDC elites and the military could be part of a national unity government. Ultimately they are also scared of the working class, because austerity could lead to revolts.”

The British government gloated about the potential downfall of Mugabe as news of the coup came in. Britain’s rulers have never been able to accept that the national liberation movement led by Mugabe gave British imperialism’s interests a kicking.

The International Socialist Organisation (ISO), the Socialist Workers Party’s sister organisation in Zimbabwe, has condemned the military. “The leaders of the military had no problem with Mugabe’s dictatorial regime until it began to affect their interests,” it said.

“This is not about resorting democracy and human rights, it is about swapping one section of the dictatorial regime for another.

“It is a ‘palace coup’ in the real sense of the phrase”.

The working class will have to assert its own demands, not go along with different ruling factions. Munya said, “It’s unlikely that the working class will act independently because it has suffered defeats and the trade union bureaucracy is tied to the MDC elites.

 “Mugabe’ wife was so unpopular so there is likely to be some support for what’s going on at least initially.”

But he warned, “This exposes the depths of the crisis in the economy, neoliberalism and austerity that the elite supports and it could see revolts. This is only the beginning.”

 The SWP’s leading theoretician, Alex Callinicos was educated at St George’s College, Salisbury (now Harare).


I suppose the Arab regimes described by Gilbert Acbar as “patrimonial dictatorships”  were not neo-liberal either…

Human Rights Watch,

The government of President Robert Mugabe continues to violate human rights without regard to protections in the country’s 2013 constitution. It has intensified repression against thousands of people who peacefully protest human rights violations and the deteriorating economic situation. Police use excessive force to crush dissent, and violate the basic rights of civil society activists, human rights defenders, journalists, and government opponents. Widespread impunity for abuses by the police and state security agents remains. President Mugabe has undermined the independence of the judiciary and of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) through verbal assaults on the two institutions.

2016 (World Report 2017)

During 2016, the government of President Robert Mugabe intensified repression against thousands of people who peacefully protested human rights violations and the deteriorating economic situation. It disregarded the rights provisions in the country’s 2013 constitution, and implemented no meaningful human rights reforms.

Police abuse increased, and there was excessive use of force to crush dissent. Human rights defenders, civil society activists, journalists, and government opponents, were harassed, threatened or faced arbitrary arrest by police. Widespread impunity continues for abuses by police and state security agents.

The president publicly attacked judges for “reckless” rulings that allowed public protests against his rule, further eroding judicial independence. He also undermined the independence of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), established as an independent commission under the constitution, when he verbally attacked the institution.

Attacks on Human Rights DefendersIn June 2016, police began a campaign of politically motivated abuses against activists engaged in countrywide protests against poverty, corruption, rights abuses, and lack of electoral reform. Police resorted to heavy-handed tactics, indiscriminately using water cannons, teargas, and batons to violently crush largely peaceful protests.At various times since June 2016, hundreds of protesters, including student activists, human rights activists, and opposition supporters were arrested, detained, and later released on bail without charge.For instance, on July 6, police assaulted and arbitrarily arrested, and charged with public violence, hundreds of protesters across the country, including 86 people in Bulawayo, 105 people in Harare, and 16 people in Victoria Falls. The government blocked internet access and WhatsApp text messaging for several hours to obstruct people protesting under the #Tajamuka/Sesijikile campaign led by Promise Mkwananzi and the #ThisFlag campaign led by Pastor Evan Mawarire. In August, Mawarire and his family fled to the United States after suspected state security agents threatened to kill them.On August 24 and 26, police arbitrarily arrested over 140 people in Harare on false public violence charges. According to their lawyers, most of those arrested, including security guards, vendors, college students taken from class, did not participate in the protests. Those arrested were later freed on bail after several days in detention.On September 24, police in Mutare arrested and detained 17 members of the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) on charges of allegedly gathering in contravention of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA). After three nights in detention, the Magistrate’s Court freed 15 of the 17 ZINASU members and declared their arrest unlawful. At time of writing, two student leaders remain in custody.

Freedom of Expression and Media

Zimbabwe’s Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and media, but journalists are subject to arbitrary arrest, harassment, and intimidation when reporting on protests. Reports by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA, Zimbabwe) show that from January 2016, police assaulted, harassed, arrested, or detained at least 31 journalists reporting on protests. They include Garikai Chaunza, Edgar Gweshe, Chris Mahove, James Jemwa, and Khumbulani Zamchiya—whom police arrested in June while they reported on a protest in Harare, detaining them for six hours before releasing them without charge.

On July 6, police briefly detained journalists Elias Mambo, Tafadzwa Ufumeli, Richard Chidza, and Godwin Mangudya at Marimba Station, who were covering protests in Mufakose. Police ordered the journalists to delete from their cameras and mobile phones all pictures and video footage of the protests before releasing them without charge.

On August 3, police used batons to beat up journalists Lawrence Chimunhu, Haru Mutasa, Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, Christopher Mahove, Tendai Musiyazviriyo, Bridget Mananavire, and Imelda Mhetu who were covering a protest in Harare. On August 24, a member of the anti-riot police in Harare harassed and beat journalist Lucy Yasin with a baton as she covered a protest. On the same day the police arrested journalist Tendai Mandimika and detained him for three weeks on false public violence charges before releasing him on bail.

On August 25, the police briefly detained journalists Obey Manayiti and Robert Tapfumaneyi. The following day, police arrested photojournalist James Jemwa while covering protests in Harare. He spent a week in detention on public violence charges before being released on bail.

Somebody’s opinion people will listen to,


Written by Andrew Coates

November 15, 2017 at 12:43 pm

6 Responses

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  1. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the quotes of various ” socialist” that appear in the pages of Socialist Worker. The SWP has always been very inventive when when it comes to the actualite. One of its most creative members was Dave Renton who’s ” When we Touched the Sky” purportedly the history of the Anti Nazi League is largely fiction, certainly the bits on East London are.

    The so called liberation movements of southern Africa were only ever tribal movements with some Marxist trappings. All of them have descended into tribal and family kleptocracies with Zimbabwe one of the most blatant.

    Dave Roberts

    November 16, 2017 at 3:00 am

  2. The term “patrimonial states” does not apply to all of them, however bad, Angola, Mozambique, but Zimbabwe, we were reminded on Newsnight yesterday, has been particularly terrible.


    Andrew Coates

    November 16, 2017 at 1:39 pm

  3. The Morning Star is the usual Stalinist we got it all wrong crap.

    Dave Roberts

    November 16, 2017 at 2:56 pm

  4. Is the worst Equatorial Guniea?

    Dave Roberts

    November 16, 2017 at 2:58 pm

  5. Genocide watch

    Countries at risk many in Africa- heart-rending to say the least..

    Recent Alerts
    Genocide Emergency: Syria
    Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Emergency alert for the continuing crisis in Syria. Both the Syrian state and at least three other groups are committing genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes daily. All four entities must be defeated militarily and their leaders should be tried for their crimes. The four warring forces include: the al-Assad regime and its allied militias; the Free Syrian Army; Jabhat al-Nusra; and ISIS, sometimes called the Islamic State.

    Genocide Emergency: Sudan
    Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Emergency for the regions of South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur in the Republic of Sudan. Similar to Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile have suffered from long-term political and economic marginalization.Genocide and other atrocities in these regions are the result of the Sudan regime’s policy to transform Sudan into an Islamic Arab State. The conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile is between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) The conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile have left 1.2 million people internally displaced since June 2011, and another 246,500 have taken refuge in South Sudan and Ethiopia. The most recent genocide in Darfur began in 2003, when the Sudanese government and Arab militias (Janjaweed) destroyed over 400 villages, allegedly in response to two opposition groups: the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The genocide in Darfur has killed at least 450,000 people since 2003.

    Genocide Emergency: Iraq
    Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Emergency for Iraq. IS fighters, who have already driven out Christians from their ancestral homes in northern Iraq – including Zumar — have been especially targeting the Yazidis. The United Nations has called the situation in Shingal and other parts of Nineveh province “a humanitarian disaster.” The Yazidis are the latest victims of the brutal advance by the Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, whose Sunni Muslim fighters have been targeting Iraq’s Christians and other minority groups, as well as Shiite Muslims. ISIS has captured the primarily Yazidi towns of Sinjar and Zumar, killing nearly 2,000 and forcing 200,000 to flee into the nearby mountains without food and water. More than 50 children have died from dehydration since August and hundreds more children and elderly are at risk. Other atrocities include beheadings, rapes, and being sold into slavery, according to a member of Iraq’s Parliament, lawmaker Vian Dakhil.

    Genocide Emergency: Somalia
    Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Emergency for Somalia. Complex civil conflicts, along with devastating periods of drought over the past two decades have left the Republic of Somalia a failed state. The UNDP deems Somalia the world’s “worst humanitarian disaster.” Somalia’s instability has led to mass atrocities and human rights violations against the civilian population, being committed by all major parties involved in the conflict, especially by Al-Shabaab insurgents, Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces, and intervening Ethiopian military forces. Therefore, Genocide Watch places Somalia at Stage 9 on the 10 Stages of Genocide and issues a Genocide and Mass Atrocities Alert.

    Genocide Emergency: Central African Republic
    Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Emergency for the Central African Republic. Continuing violence between Christian majority (anti-Balaka) and Muslim minority (Seleka) militias, has been genocidal because victims are targeted for their religious identity. Seleka militias that began the killing when Michael Djotodia seized power have now been driven back by French and African Union forces. Djotodia has fled. Muslims are escaping to Chad, but are being pulled from vehicles by Christian anti-Balaka gangs. Hundreds of thousands of people have been driven from their homes. The shortage of adequate food, water, and shelter has created a humanitarian crisis. Peacekeeping forces must remain in the country until people can return to their homes, with security provided by a transitional government.
    Genocide Emergency: Myanmar: Rakhine
    The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority of one million people that has lived in Rakhine state for centuries, but they face systematic religious and ethnic discrimination there. The Rohingya are not a recognized ethnic minority and are, therefore, robbed of the rights inherent in citizenship. During 2012, violence increased against Rohingya and other Muslims in the Rakhine State, and the Pullitzer Center on Crisis Reporting said the Rohingyas have become one of the most oppressed ethnic groups in the world.

    Genocide Watch has issued an updated Genocide Emergency for the Rakhine State of Myanmar.
    Genocide Emergency: Myanmar: Kachin
    Fighting in Myanmar’s Kachin state pits the Kachin Independence Army and its majority Christian population against the Burmese Buddhist government. Ethnic Shan in Kachin State have also been displaced. In June 2011, a 17 year peace agreement was shattered and fighting between the KIA and Burmese government has been non-stop since. Human Rights Watch estimates that since the fighting began again, over 75,000 Kachin have been displaced, and attacks include raids on villages, rapes, and murders. A January 19, 2013 ceasefire agreement was broken by the government, and February 2013 peace talks were also unsuccessful at ending the violence. Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Emergency for the Kachin State of Myanmar.

    Genocide Emergency:
 Nigeria: Boko Haram, Borno State
    Boko Haram (literally translated as “Western Education is a Sin”) is a genocidal criminal movement led by an Islamist extremist, Abubakar Shekau, who has vowed to destroy every Christian school in Nigeria, and to carry out terrorist attacks on Nigerian government police and government officials. It kidnapped over 200 girls from a Christian school in April 2014 and despite the Nigerian government’s efforts, none have been found. Last year, Boko Haram killed an estimated 2,000 people in its jihad to expand its self-declared Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria, an area with a heavy Muslim population. On January 7th 2015, it killed 2,000 Nigerian civilians by burning down the town of Baga in the north-eastern state of Borno. While Boko Haram, which has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State, are actively learning from the tactics of it, allowing them their scope and level of brutality, it is now believed that Boko Haram controls up to six times more territory than the Islamic State. In addition, Boko Haram has spread the rule into a part of Cameroon, Niger, and Chad recently.

    Genocide Watch: Burundi
    Since its independence from Belgium in 1962, there have been sporadic bursts of ethnic violence between the Hutu majority and Tutsi minority in Burundi. Civil unrest erupted in Burundi this year, following the 26th of April announcement by the ruling party Conseil National Pour la Défense de la Démocratie – Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (CNDD-FDD) that President Pierre Nkurunziza would run for a third term in the 2015 elections. Opposition parties in Burundi claim that this is a direct violation of the 2000 Arusha Peace Agreement and Burundi Constitution, which limits presidents to two terms in office. While the current conflict is primarily political in nature, there is risk of it reigniting pre-existing ethnic cleavages.


    Andrew Coates

    November 16, 2017 at 5:24 pm

  6. Nothing in Europe then?

    Dave Roberts

    November 16, 2017 at 7:04 pm

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