Eyewitness in Zimbabwe

This morning WASP member Goodenough Chimurenga was able to send us an eyewitness report of the mass movement that rocked Zimbabwe last week.

Good morning comrades. I’m sorry that I have not been a reliable correspondent on the events obtaining here. My useless phone and the internet blockade have not helped matters at all. I shall try to give you a picture of what’s taking place.

It has been quite difficult to judge the accuracy of certain social media reports all across the country mostly because of the complete media blackout imposed by the regime and it’s complete control of the internal press.

But I think it is safe to characterize last week’s events as overwhelmingly historical, particularly the first three days where we saw what can be easily be described as a total, all-be-it momentary, seizure of power by the masses through the shutdown/general strike organised by ZCTU [Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions]. The state was rendered functionless and redundant by the total withdrawal of labour by workers both in the public and private sectors, informal workers, which I think was mostly made possible by the taxi drivers who were angered by the fuel hike.

Even riot police could not report for duty under the circumstances. Remember the ZRP [Zimbabwe Republic Police] often the chief instrument of state repression has basically been demoted after Mugabe’s ouster. They seem to be holding some sort of a grudge against the Mnangagwa regime.

The wave of protests ignited by the fuel hike took place in the townships as opposed to the city centres where they usually take place. The angry masses in Harare and Bulawayo went after every symbol of the state they could get hold of – from the Choppies Supermarket chain where Mnangagwa holds a stake, to the police stations, and every car that seemed to be disobeying the shutdown.

Some rank-and-file military personnel in uniform in Harare were seen participating in the looting of Choppies as well as enforcing the shutdown by blocking and beating people who disobeyed it, at least for the first 3 days of last week.

Of course the regime reacted violently and brutally by unleashing the military on innocent civilians and activists in the townships but with much less confidence in it’s own capacity this time and a little too late than usual.

Opposition parties remain oblivious to the revolutionary moment before them and completely incapable of providing the leadership the angry masses so desperately need.

For more detail on the current crisis please click here. For historical background and analysis of the struggle of the Zimbabwean working class and poor, please click here.