Samuel Kariuki and Lucien van der Walt, 2000, “The Politics of Land – ZANU vs the MDC,” Southern Africa Report, volume 15, number 4, pp. 11-15.
A fifth Zimbabwean piece. Samuel Kariuki and I argued that unless the (then-) union-backed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) developed an effective progressive programme (including pro-worker land reform), the land issue would be captured by the dictatorial Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) regime.
Instead the MDC placed its hopes in neo-liberal solutions, British aid, and quick fixes. It was consistently outmaneuvered by Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, and always stepped back from the decisive campaigns that would have been needed to oust the regime. Basic parliamentary democratic reforms were possible, although not easy, in the early 2000s ; so was the defeat of ZANU-PF, but the MDC consistently snatched defeat from the jaws of victory through its bad politics. It has subsequently been widely discredited; Zimbabwe’s insurgent working class of the 1990s has faced defeat after defeat; ZANU-PF, despite its appalling record on every issue, remains in charge too.
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