The Guardian July 5, 2000


Mugabe's party wins in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party has beaten off a stiff challenge from 
the Western-backed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in parliamentary 
elections. But it was a close-run race.

With all the votes now counted, President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF won 62 
seats while the MDC took 57. Though this leaves ZANU-PF ahead by just five 
seats, the President has the right to appoint another 30 MPs and this would 
easily give his party a working majority.

The MDC now have enough votes in parliament to block future constitutional 
amendments but their failure to topple ZANU-PF has been a clear 
disappointment to the British and US governments. Imperialism made no 
secret of its wish to see Mugabe's party out and a pliant pro-Western 
government in after the polls.

Now they will have to continue to deal with Mugabe  who is still secure 
as president  and a new government largely or perhaps entirely composed 
of his supporters.

Land reform

ZANU-PF has made it clear that it will not back down in its support for the 
demand of the war-vets and landless peasants for the breakup of the vast 
estates of the white planters to give them some land to live on and farm. 
President Mugabe was in a conciliatory mood after the election, at least to 
the opposition, when he went on television to congratulate his party and 
the opposition for their efforts. He said he was ready to work with the new 
parliament "to build a united and prosperous Zimbabwe.

"The results are out and these bind us, winner or loser", Mugabe said. "I 
look forward to working with the new parliament as we grapple with the 
challenges facing the nation."

Four million people voted in the elections which African and some overseas 
monitors agreed was fair and free. The opposition, an alliance of right-
wing politicians, some trade union leaders and the white commercial farmers 
did well in the cities but the ZANU-PF vote held in the poor rural areas. 

British imperialism is starting to throw its weight around Africa again 
particularly in its former colonies. The British government is now trying 
to pressurise Mugabe into accepting a coalition.

Britain's Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said that the time was right for 
"national reconciliation". He added that Britain would still deliver the L6 
million aid-package to fund land reform but only if President Mugabe 
pursued "policies of reform and national reconciliation". What that means 
in imperialist double-talk is reigning in the land-reform movement and 
driving the squatters off the white settlers' estates.

It also means giving the opposition seats in government so that they can 
better argue the case for doing the bidding of the tobacco companies and 
the other Western interests in the country.

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New Worker

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