Since Alex La Guma passed away in 1985, his name has generally faded from public memory, at least in the Western world. Yet during his lifetime, La Guma was a well-regarded novelist, short-story writer, and South African anti-apartheid activist.
Interview with Freedom Mazwi and Gregory Elich, on WPFW’s Voices with Vision program
As Zimbabwe’s economy continues its descent since a military coup installed Emmerson Mnangagwa as the nation’s ruler in November 2017, his government’s response has been to double down on its ruinous neoliberal reform program.
With the defeat of the court challenge by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the election has cemented in place the results of last year’s coup. The men who unleashed the military against the nation to install themselves in power, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Constantino Chiwenga, remain firmly ensconced in the positions they seized, as president and vice-president.
Gregory Elich interviewed by Netfa Freeman, on the Voices with Vision Program
Long-roiling factional conflict within Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF political party exploded last week in a military coup that quickly seized control of the government and state media. The coup was led by Commander of Zimbabwe Defense Forces Constantino Chiwenga, who is closely aligned with former vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.
In Egypt, a people’s uprising has succeeded in removing Hosni Mubarak from power. The main battle, however, lies ahead. Will there be a substantive transformation of Egyptian society, or will the economic and political system remain essentially unchanged, with only a new face occupying the presidential office? There are powerful forces that are determined to steer events in the latter direction.
For years, Western journalists have castigated Zimbabwe’s land reform program. From afar, they pronounced land reform a failure for having brought about the total collapse of agriculture and plunging the nation into chronic food insecurity. Redistributed land, we are continually told, went to cronies with political connections, while ordinary people were almost entirely excluded from the process. Farmland went to ruin because of the incompetence of the new owners. These were simple messages, drilled into the minds of the Western public through repetition. For Western reporters, certain that they owned the truth, emotion substituted for evidence. Those of a more curious frame of mind, however, were left to wonder what conditions were like in the field, where no reporter bothered to venture.
So often we are told that the free market is the path to economic prosperity. All an impoverished nation needs to do is privatize, deregulate, reduce the size and role of government, cut tariff protections and open its economy to foreign investors, and it too can become a developed model economy. This gospel is preached by the U.S. and Western European nations and enforced through international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Trade Organization (WTO). The neoliberal economic model, it is claimed, is beneficial for all nations and in all circumstances. But is it true? These assertions never acknowledge the actual experience of developing nations that implement these policies. To do so would dispel such notions. The effect of free trade on agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa provides a characteristic example.Read More »