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.
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 »
Amid the economic crisis in Zimbabwe, the agricultural sector continues to struggle. Although the plunge in agricultural output over the last few years has often been commented on in the Western media, little or no attention is paid to the complex factors contributing to that decline. Instead, matters are reduced to a simple generalization. It is rare to be presented with information from someone with direct involvement with the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe. Sam Moyo has over 25 years of research experience in rural development issues, and his organization has conducted studies and analyses and provided policy recommendations on land policy. Highly respected in his profession, Moyo is uniquely positioned to offer an evidence-based overview of the situation.
Amid heightened tension, an all pervading crisis is afflicting Zimbabwe. The economy is close to collapse, the standard of living has plummeted, and the political scene is marred by recent violence. To hear Western leaders tell it, it is Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe who has brought this state of affairs upon his nation through economic mismanagement and repression, and what would have been an otherwise prosperous country is instead on the edge of ruin. The U.S. and Great Britain trade barbs with Zimbabwe, and relations are perhaps at their lowest point, with pressure mounting in the U.S. and Great Britain for harsher measures.
As a founding member of the Pan-African Liberation Organization, Obi Egbuna has devoted his life to the struggle to unify the African continent and the African Diaspora. His activities have led him to split his time between the U.S. and Zimbabwe. I was interested in finding out more about the Pan-African Liberation Organization and its role in the movement, and contacted Mr. Egbuna. This interview took place shortly before his return to Zimbabwe.