The South African Communist Party (SACP) has welcomed Robert Mugabe's resignation as President of Zimbabwe.
Mugabe, who has been at the helm since independence in 1980, presented his surprise resignation as Zimbabwe’s Parliament started the impeachment process against him on Tuesday.
“My decision to resign is voluntary on my part and arises from my concern for the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe and my desire for a smooth, non-violent transfer of power,” said Mugabe in his letter which was read out in Parliament.
Meanwhile, in a statement the SACP said Zimbabweans are faced with systemic economic problems and their consequent politics.
It averred that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank’s “anti-democratic role” in ruining the economy of Zimbabwe through an imposed neoliberal policy regime must not be ignored and has to be addressed going forward.
The SACP added that there are structural forces both in Zimbabwe and internationally, including the (former) colonial power, Britain, and imperialist exploiters, that actively dominated Zimbabwe and supported the measures that underdeveloped the country.
SACP national spokesperson Alex Mashilo said Zimbabwe’s problems were not created by one individual leader acting alone, though it is important to recognise that Presidents and governing party leaders are powerful.
“At times their actions can save the trajectory of countries, but at times they can contribute to, or be complicit in, causing serious problems. We know this from our own unfolding South African situation and cannot deny it,” added Mashilo.
What lessons can we learn from the situation?
The SACP called on the working class of Zimbabwe to unite and build democratic working class power and ensure that they were part of the way forward.
Mashilo said the Presidents’ powers must be reviewed, with a view to curbing situations where they are too powerful and so they can be held accountable for their actions.
National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete said she was glad that Mugabe decided to resign, saying that this was what many who wanted to remain respecting of the role he had played, had hoped would happen.
She said lessons for all of Africa is that, "when the coffee is brewing, you need to smell it".
Colonial and imperialist forces that exploited and underdeveloped Zimbabwe should not be allowed to get away with murder either, Mashilo said, adding that they must be held accountable for the damage that they have caused. The same should apply to international institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank.
Mashilo concluded by saying it is crucial to address the underlying economic problems as a key aspect of the way forward.