Editorial –Numsa News

The Politics of a Personality Cult.

On June 20 in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe told a meeting; “Only god, who appointed me, will remove me, not the MDC, not the British…..” This statement made shortly after the ZANU-PF youth militia armed with iron bars, sticks and other weapons attacked MDC supporters and journalists at an opposition rally in Harare.

It is claimed that about 2 000 militia had been bused in from Mashonaland to disrupt the MDC Election rally. As a result of the violent actions that have gripped Zimbabwe since the recent General Elections, the MDC announced on Saturday that it will not participate in the run-off Presidential elections scheduled for June 27 2008.

This then leaves Robert Mugabe as the sole candidate for the run-off, and the reign of terror, killings, detentions without trial, the abuse of the rule of law will continue unabated.

Worst of all, the carnage of killings carried out by the ZANU-PF youth militia against ordinary people will become the order of the day. The war veterans, as they call themselves, will also continue with their reign of terror against those who dare to oppose the tyranny of Mugabe.

Does this short analysis above place the writer in the camp of the MDC and its allies in the West? The answer to this question is NO! It is the peoples of Zimbabwe that must determine their future and leadership.

Learning from the Soviet UnionIn what is commonly known in many circles as the Secret Speech or the Khrushchev report given to the 20th Party Congress on February 25, 1956, by the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, he had this to say about what he termed: On the Personality Cult and its Consequences.

Extracts from his speech.“After Stalin’s death, the Central Committee began to implement a policy of explaining concisely and consistently that it is impermissible and foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism to elevate one person, to transform him into a superman possessing supernatural characteristics, akin to those of god.

Such a man supposedly knows everything, sees everything, thinks for everyone, can do anything, and is infallible in his behavior.”“We have to consider seriously and analyse correctly this matter in order that we may preclude any possibility of a repetition in any form whatever of what took place during the life of Stalin….

Who practised brutal violence, not only towards everything which opposed him, but also towards that which seemed, to his capricious and despotic character, contrary to his concepts.

Stalin acted not through persuasion, explanation and patient cooperation with people, but by imposing his concepts and demanding absolute submission to his opinion…..”“Stalin originated the concept ‘enemy of the people.

This term automatically made it unnecessary that the ideological errors of a man or men engaged in a controversy be proven.

It made possible the use of the cruelest repression, violating all norms of revolutionary legality, against anyone who in any way disagreed with Stalin, against those who were only suspected of hostile intent…On the whole, the only proof of guilt actually used, against all norms of current legal science, was ‘the confession’ of the accused himself.

As subsequent probing has proven, ‘confessions’ were acquired through physical pressures against the accused……..”

In the report of a Commission presented to the 1956 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party on atrocities and unlawful arrest, tortures and illegal detentions, the report makes the following shocking revelations: “Repression of the majority of old Bolsheviks and delegates of the XVII Party Congress, most of which were workers and had joined the Communist Party before 1920.

Of the 1 966 delegates, 1 108 were declared “counter-revolutionaries”, 848 were executed, and 98 of 139 members and candidates to the Central Committee were declared “enemies of the people”.

This commission presented evidence that during 1937-1938 (the peak of the period known as the Great Purge) over 1,5 million individuals were arrested for ‘anti-Soviet activities’, of whom over 680 000 were executed.

Speaking to Mikoyan, a high ranking Party official, one of the prisoners in the Gulag camps said: ‘ if you (Mikoyan and Khruschev) do not disassociate yourselves from Stalin at the first Congress after his death, and if you do not recant his crimes, then you will become willing accomplices in these crimes.’

In the early years of independence in Zimbabwe, the late Joshua Nkomo, a leader of another liberation movement in Zimbabwe called ZAPU, wrote a letter to Robert Mugabe warning him that he was using Ian Smith's draconian laws of repression to deal with opponents.

Nkomo stated in his letter that freedom meant that all Zimbabweans should express themselves freely, and should air their voices irrespective of who was in power, that is what they fought for under the regime of Ian Smith.

Nkomo wrote this letter to Mugabe against a background of repression in Zimbabwe carried out by Mugabe and his cronies in the military. This was the small beginning of a cult that Nkomo foresaw 25 years ago.

During this period, over 4-5 million Zimbabweans now live in exile. In Kenya recently, acts reminiscent of genocidal acts were carried out against minority ethnic groupings, on the pretext that elections were not a true reflection of what Kenyans voted for.

On the contrary, it was ethnic cleansing. Historians trace the recent incidents of killings in Kenya to 46 years ago when Kenya attained political independence.

In 2008 and 25 years later Mugabe proclaims, “Only god, who appointed me, will remove me……” In 2002, I went to Zimbabwe with a Cosatu delegation accompanied by the South African delegation to observe the Presidential Elections.

Without presenting a detailed account of my personal experience, signs were there that Zimbabwe, in the footsteps of many other African countries, was on the verge of another created African dictator, similar to Mobutu from the former Zaire, Idi Amin from Uganda, Gaddafi in Libya and many other leaders in the African Continent who had acted in a manner that resembles the atrocities of the Stalin era.

In Swaziland, the monarchy condemns its people into poverty and the scourge of HIV-AIDS. Resources meant to alleviate poverty and malnutrition are abused by the king and the elite. In the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1985, in many parts of Eastern Europe, acts of genocide were carried out against minorities.

Thousands of people were killed in the Balkan States. On our doorstep, we should not forget the deadly acts of violence in Kwazulu/Natal in the '80s. In this instance, the personality cult of a bantustan leader featured prominently in the killings of ordinary people. In the former bantustan of Transkei, cadres of the ANC were killed on the instructions of the Matanzima regime.

The list is endless of how powerful and deceiving are the politics and influences of a personality cult.In the United States of America, a cult leader demanded that his parishioners perish with him when confronted by the US law enforcers. As a result, hundreds of people were burnt to death on the instructions of the cult leader.

On the Congress front – The Parliament of MetalworkersThe Union convenes its 8th National Congress in the Vaal, from the 13th to the 16th of October 2008.

A National Congress is convened in terms of the constitution of the Union to review policies and strategies of the Union. We are meeting as the CC on the 30th to 2nd of July to consider the 1st draft report prepared by the Secretariat for the 8th Congress.

We have prepared this report in advance to ensure that Congress focus on work and policies rather than on who gets which position in leadership. Important as this may be to any organisation, it should be informed by the challenges of the organisation.

We urge you as leaders in plants, locals and regions to ensure that members and delegates to the 8th Congress are given access to the report of the Secretariat.

We will gather as delegates representing the 216.000 metalworkers from all walks of life to determine the future of metalworkers and the working class for the next 4 years and into the 9th Numsa National Congress.

We should not rob our members of the opportunity, through debates and resolutions, of charting their future.

The 8th Congress work has begun, masikhulume ipolitiki yabasebenzi.

Aluta Continua!The Struggle Continues! Silumko Nondwangu, general secretary


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