Analysts rule out crisis if Mugabe stays
Posted on December 28, 2011 by admin under
The ANC’s backing for Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe’s elections next year is a demonstration that former liberation parties that waged guerrilla wars do not want to see other liberation movements losing power, but analysts do not believe there will be an economic meltdown if President Robert Mugabe has another term in office.
This is the view of political economist Steven Friedman, who said the ANC did not feel comfortable with former guerrilla movements like the MPLA in Angola, Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe, Frelimo in Mozambique and Swapo in Namibia losing political ground, but Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said propping up Mugabe to power for another term would be disastrous for workers.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe committed his party to support Zanu-PF at its annual national conference in Bulawayo last week. He was reported as saying the ANC and Zanu-PF belonged together, and Zanu-PF should regain its lost ground with the ANC’s help.
Craven said Cosatu stuck by its existing position on Zimbabwe. “We do not support Zanu-PF or Robert Mugabe.” While the ANC had historically supported Zanu-PF “and clearly they have not changed their policy… we will have to disagree with them on that, they have the right to adopt a different policy”.
This support was “unfortunate”, Craven said, given the policies at play in Zimbabwe “particularly towards workers and farm workers… who have suffered particularly under the Mugabe government”.
It would be unfortunate if the period of Zanu-PF rule was prolonged, delaying the transition to “a genuinely democratic government”, Craven said.
Friedman said he suspected that the ANC wanted the Zanu-PF/Movement for Democratic Change unity government to remain in place or better still, for Zanu-PF to win outright.
Friedman said South Africa’s foreign policy was largely supportive of the status quo: “There is a simple reason for this: the idea of a former liberation movement losing an election to an opposition party is not something with which the ANC is very comfortable.”
The consequence of propping up the Mugabe government actually meant that the police and army generals were propped up.
But Friedman believed “there won’t be a meltdown” with a surge of Zimbabweans fleeing to South Africa. Even if this were to occur, they tended to be the more entrepreneurial people who created work and opportunities in South Africa.
Brait economist Colen Garrow said the end of Mugabe’s rule would unleash an economic boom, with the construction industry, in particular, being boosted with repairs to unmaintained infrastructure commencing.
Backing Mugabe was a classic case of liberation politics. “Isn’t that what politics is about… it doesn’t make sense at times,” Garrow said.
Dennis Dykes, Nedbank’s chief economist, said Mantashe’s stance was “not particularly a new position” on Zimbabwe, but he would have liked to see a pledge in support of democracy “rather than a particular government”
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