Zimbabwe: The Next Round


  • John S. Saul






Marxists and other progressives have quite correctly celebrated the success of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) in the Zimbabwe elections of February 27-29 of this year as a triumph of heroic proportions. Whatever the difficulties which may now confront the Zimbabwean revolutionary process the fact remains that in those three days well over 80 percent of the adult African population of Zimbabwe (those who voted for ZANU and the other wing of the Patriotic Front [PF], the Zimbabwe African People's Union [ZAPU] stood up, quite literally, to be counted in the final act of wresting their freedom from settler political domination. And they did this in spite of attempts to blunt any such statement, attempts made by British officialdom (through the terms imposed during the Lancaster Home agreement and through the activities of Lord Soames and his team on the ground), by the structures, very much intact, of the Rhodesian settler state itself, and by Bishop Muzorewa and his cronies (including his huge private army, albeit one well subsumed within the white military hierarchy, of "auxiliaries" and such backers as South Africa and a wide array of international economic concerns). Moreover, contrary to the claims of some unsympathetic journalists, the vote was for far more than merely ending the war. Most Zimbabweans sensed that the Patriotic Front, and particularly ZANU, also bore the promise of a new social order, one defined, however vaguely, in ways which would serve the interests of the broad mass of the impoverished black population and, in particular, the interests of the country's rural dwellers.

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