Munyaradzi Gwisai, the revolutionary socialist MP who was elected
to Zimbabwe's parliament in 2000 with the backing of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, has been stripped of his seat. Emmerson Mnangagwa,
the speaker of parliament, declared the constituency vacant on December
3 after the MDC informed him that Gwisai had been expelled from the party.
Gwisai was elected to represent the Harare electorate of Highfield as
a high-profile member of the International Socialist Organisation of Zimbabwe.
The ISOZ along with Zimbabwe's trade unions and other militants played
an important role in the creation of the MDC.
However, as the MDC leadership came to be dominated by members of Zimbabwe's
capitalist class and increasingly to embraced neo-liberalism, Gwisai and
the ISOZ often clashed with the MDC tops. Gwisai has survived several attempts
by the MDC leadership to have him expelled in the past.
Gwisai was finally expelled by the MDC leadership on November 22. The
MDC national executive found him guilty of contravening the party's constitution.
However, Gwisai's real crime was to support radical land distribution and
oppose the MDC's moves to form a government of national unity with the
hated authoritarian regime of President Robert Mugabe. Gwisai and the ISOZ
also sharply criticised the MDC's unwillingness to support mass action
by workers, peasants and urban dweller to challenge Mugabe's rule.
On December 5, Gwisai accused the MDC's leaders of dividing the opposition
movement at a time when unity of purpose and focus in the struggle is
required from all democratic forces. Millions of our people face starvation,
are unemployed, and the prices of basic goods are skyrocketing, Gwisai
noted. He added that the MDC leadership had taken the party from its working-class
founders and handed it to the employers.
Gwisai said he would not appeal his ejection from parliament. Parliament
is only one, and increasingly irrelevant, arena of the great struggle to
smash the Mugabe dictatorship. Capitalist poverty will not be fought in
that august house, but in the factories, offices, classrooms, streets and
mines, as they were fought in Madagascar, Serbia and Indonesia.
However, Gwisai has refused to disclose whether he will contest the
by-election for Highfield as a candidate for the ISOZ, saying only that
we will cross the bridge when we get there.
From Green Left Weekly, December 11, 2002.
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