IN JULY [the Zimbabwean International Socialist Organisation] reaffirmed our long-held position of the likelihood “of an elite political settlement between the ruling party and opposition around a western supported full neoliberal economic programme”. That has been proven correct with the recent formation of a “unity government”.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader, Morgan Tsvangirai becomes the new prime minister who shares executive authority with the president and cabinet.

In addition he will chair a council of ministers that will oversee the implementation of government policies, although the ruling party Zanu PF’s Robert Mugabe will chair cabinet.

The opposition has a majority of 16 to 15 in cabinet. Mugabe remains the head of state and government, although he is required to consult Tsvangirai before making most appointments.

The deal will last for up to five years although subject to review after the first 18 months. The deal mandates a constitutional reform process that will lead to a referendum and new constitution in 18 months time, overseen by a parliamentary select committee.

The deal has received mixed reactions, with many ordinary people and some civic groups cautiously welcoming it in the hope that it will bring an end to their suffering as well as the beginning of the end of the Mugabe dictatorship.

The western countries, led by Britain and the USA have only cautiously welcomed it, with the feeling that it still leaves too much power with Mugabe.

It has been opposed by a number of major civic groups including the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, who have denounced it as unprincipled capitulation to the dictatorship.

Tsvangirai, supported by a duplicitous and largely cowardly civic society, actively undermined any attempt at serious mass action, instead relying solely on western sanctions.

Not surprisingly the MDC has been forced into a deal which gives a desperate dictatorship breathing space to renew itself, whilst laying the foundations for massive long-term assaults on the living conditions of working people.

Working people and their organisations must continue the struggle against the de facto continued rule of the illegitimate Zanu PF regime including an all out resistance to the attempt at imposing an elitist constitution driven and controlled by politicians in their so-called select committee of parliament.

Whilst, in the short-term, the regime might have bought some time with this sell-out deal and through continued repression it cannot last in the medium term because it has no solution to the escalating economic crisis.

In the medium term therefore there remains a possibility of a people-centred resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis that smashes both the dictatorship and elitist plans to replace it with a regime that perpetuates the neoliberal capitalist agenda.

By Munyaradzi Gwisai, International Socialist Organisation, Zimbabwe

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