TCS Daily


Time for Mugabe to Go

By Richard S. Williamson - February 20, 2008 12:00 AM

Robert Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since it gained independence from Britain in 1980. Then he was widely recognized as a champion of a new independent Africa. Now he rightly is seen as a repressive old man desperate to hold on to power at any cost.

Mugabe has turned Zimbabwe from the bread basket of southern Africa into a basket case. He has seized land for political purposes, displaced hundreds of thousands of suspected political opponents, trampled freedom of the press, crushed opposition demonstrations and rigged elections. At 83 years old, he is intent on securing yet another five-year term as President even as the people suffer from punishing economic collapse and ruthless repression.

The February 2000 defeat of Mugabe's proposed new constitution demonstrated the growing strength of the opposition. In response, Mugabe returned to the nationalist themes on which he rose to power in the 1970s: land redistribution and anti-colonialism. He seized farm land without compensation to distribute to cronies. Zimbabwe's economic melt down had begun.

In Zimbabwe today, everyone is a millionaire. A loaf of bread costs more than 1 million Zimbabwe dollars and the price of necessities doubles every few days. Zimbabwe's inflation is the highest in the world. The countries official annual inflation rate rocketed to nearly 15,000% in October, but some believe it is nearer to 50,000%.

In December, the Zimbabwe central bank withdrew the countries highest denomination bank note, the $200,000 bill and replaced it with new bills of $250,000, $500,000 and $750,000. In January those denominations were replaced with new bills of $1 million, $5 million and $10 million. A hamburger costs about $15 million Zimbabwe dollars, about $6 U.S. at the black market exchange rates used by most people.

Eight out of ten people have no formal employment. Nutrition, housing and sanitation are deteriorating. Fuel and electricity shortages have become commonplace. Twice in recent weeks there has been a complete shut down of electricity and running water.

While Mugabe issues statements blaming inflation on "Western destructive forces," the people suffer. People are starving. There is vitamin deficiency. "Zimbabwe once offered the most comprehensive medical service in Africa," a Zimbabwe doctor is reported to have said. "It is now becoming a textbook case of medical horror." Mothers look on helplessly, as their children lie dying.

Up to 3 million Zimbabweans have fled to South Africa to escape the crushing economic crisis at home. Foreign aid, remittances from the new diaspera, and barter help those left behind survive, but just barely. People hoard what goods remain and stampede shops whenever rumors fly of new supplies of cooking oil or maize meals.

Meanwhile, human rights violations are on the rise. Human Rights Watch has reported, "The government of Zimbabwe has permitted security forces to commit serious abuses with impunity against opposition activists and ordinary Zimbabweans alike."

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has said: "Cumulative totals for January 2007 to October 2007 show that there have been 549 cases of torture, 3,086 of unlawful arrest and detention and 2,719 violations of freedom of expression, association and movement...(and) three murders which are politically motivated."

This March general elections are tentatively scheduled. While Mugabe's repression and the economic deprivation he has inflicted upon his people have made him and his ruling Zanu-PF party widely unpopular, he nonetheless is expected to win his sixth term in office against a divided opposition. Mugabe is expected to win due to his control of the media and the electoral machinery, denial of opposition demonstrations and, if need be, falling back on his past practices of rigged elections in which opposition activists have been beaten and even killed.

President Bush has said, "In Zimbabwe, ordinary citizens suffer under a tyrannical regime. The government has cracked down on peaceful calls for reform and forced millions to flee their homeland. The behavior of the Mugabe regime is an assault on its people."

Mugabe must go. The tyranny must end.

Following past disputed elections, the United States and the European Union imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe and some of his close associates. Additional sanctions should be imposed.

Zimbabwe's neighbors must help. South Africa has been reluctant to get involved. However, recently President Thabo Mbeki has tried to mediate between the government and the opposition to try to resolve differences. His efforts should be encouraged.

Tragically, there are many humanitarian and human rights catastrophes around the world. As U.S. attention is pulled in many directions, we cannot be diverted from the ongoing calamity in Zimbabwe.

Herbert is a 28 year old Zimbabwean. He has said, "I remember how beautiful our country was in the 80s...A lot has changed. Now, our country is dead. I really want a better Zimbabwe." Most Zimbabweans remember those better days. Despite the dark clouds of desperate economic deprivation and the brutal boot of Mugabe's repression, they still seek a better Zimbabwe. Their spirit lives. We must help give that spirit the light of a new day.


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20 Comments

A rotten apple spoils the barrel
Many beleive that we are all one planet when is comes to demanding the USA cut its energy consumption or provide welfare to the world.

But when it comes to sanctioning tyrants like Mugabe or Il or Castro or Saddam or.., they clamor for isolationism.

Socialism is rot, pure and simple and it must be stopped everywhere as judiciously as possible.

Amen to that bro
.

And WHY should we get involved?
This bleeding-heart ambassador fellow who wrote this article is typical of Foggy Bottom (State Department) thinking.

There is no need for the US to get involved any more than there was need for us to get involved in Rwanda or the Congo or in Darfur presently. Under the Westphalian system of international relations, Zimbabwe is an independent nation and thus gets to stand on its own two feet without external interference, unless some other nation's direct interests are threatened. That is what comes with national independence that all the anti-colonial libs keep screaming about whenever it really appears that some western nation ACTUALLY TRIES to do something about these tyrants. As for Mugabe, other nations have deposed their tyrants (Eastern Europe, the Philippines, Thailand, Cromwellian England, etc) so why should Zimbabwe be exempt from those 'rules'?

The main problem - which can't be fixed by anyone in the West at all -- can be succinctly summed up in just a single African parable:

A scorpion who wants to cross a wide river sees a crocodile sunning himself on his side of the river.

So, the scorpion walks up to the croc and asks, "Dear sir, can you swim across the river and carry me on top of your head, so that I may cross the river?"

Not being hatched just yesterday, the croc eyes the scorpion warily and responds, "And what is to prevent you from stinging me while you rest upon my head?"

The scorpion counters: "But sir, if I do that, then surely I would drown in the river as your dying carcass sank!"

Seeing the logic of the scorpion, the croc agrees and so they set out into the river.

About halfway across, the scorpion stings the croc, emptying his entire supply of venom directly into the croc's jugular vein. With eyes bulging in shock, the croc says with his last dying breath, "Why?"

"Because its Africa," replies the scorpion, as the waters rush around his chitinous frame.


Your just like Roy, too?
Africans who have immigrated to the USA have done quite well for themselves. So it is not an issue about the quality of the people. There are very good people in Africa.

Sanctions against RSA were apparently effective. Sanctions and other political and economic pressures need to be applied to Kenya, Zimbabwe and other 'nations' that abuse liberty.
Those that protect and nourish liberty should ceratainly be rewarded by friendly relations.

Why should we be involved? As I said, rotten apples spoil the barrel.

so what? rotten apples don't spoil the barrel, either
I find rotten apples at the grocery store all the time, mixed in with the good apples.

I just choose the good apples and leave the rotten ones to be. Not my problem. It is the apple seller's problem.

And that African parable is told by Africans themselves. I didn't make it up. It is about the place and the dysfunctional societies in Africa, not about African people, who as you correctly mention do very well here as immigrants, as most immigrants from third-world basket nations do besides Africans. That only provides more proof to my point, not less.

Case in point, Kenya had been doing well, with killer GDP growth, until the current president stole the election a few months ago (remember that article and our discussion on that?).

It's none of our business, pure and simple. Not if we expect other nations to not interfere with our internal affairs, as much as they might not like them (Europe, for example).

And I don't see how holding that position equates me with Roy, since he would argue the opposite, I believe.

So, if you want to accuse me of something that sticks, saying I watched too many episodes of Star Trek is a good one. I am a Prime Directive junkie, I admit.

Speaking of Roy, he's been quiet lately. I sure hope he didn't cash in his last social insecurity check.

Africa
If we do anything in, or for, Africa the bien-pensants scream "colonialism! Cultural imperialism!" If we don't do anything, the bien-pensants scream "American arrogance and lack of caring humanity!"


We aren't going to win in the court of world opinion; so we may as well take the course of least expense and resistance, and do nothing at all. If we were to do anything about/for/to Sudan or Zimbabwe, do any of you really think the screams would be any different than they were for Iraq?


Remember Somalia. We bring food, they kill us. Screw 'em.

Somalia: Al Qaeda
"A U.S. Air Force AC-130 gunship has conducted a strike against suspected members of al Qaeda in Somalia. The targets included the senior al Qaeda leader in East Africa and an al Qaeda operative wanted for his involvement in the 1998 bombings of two American embassies in Africa, Martin reports. Those terror attacks killed more than 200 people. The AC-130 gunship is capable of firing thousands of rounds per second, and sources say a lot of bodies were seen on the ground after the strike, but there is as yet, no confirmation of the identities."

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=187d06d3a9

Clinton 'ran away' (Recall Monty Python) from Somalia leading to the WTC being destroyed.

Ignore Africa at your and my peril.

Christian growth in Africa
"Some experts tell about the shift of Christianity's center of gravity from the Western industrialized nations to Africa, Asia and Latin America in modern time. Yale University historian Lamin Sanneh stated, that "African Christianity was not just an exotic, curious phenomenon in an obscure part of the world, but that African Christianity might be the shape of things to come."[2] The statistics from the World Christian Encyclopedia (David Barrett) illustrates the emerging trend of dramatic Christian growth at the continent and supposes, that in 2025 there will be 633 millions of Christians in Africa.[3]"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Africa

Prime Directive...
Only applies to primitive societies that do not have warp drive and that do not threaten the Federation.

Since no one has warp drive the first part is moot, but African socialism and tyranny do threaten national security as demonstrated by how we responded in Somalia. And remember how Amin allowed terrorists safe haven in Uganda?

Libya was building nuclear weapons.

Thomas Jefferson ordered the attack of Barbary Pirates.

Africa can not be ignored.

Remember Somalia. We bring food, they kill us.
...isn't that the same as "Crocodile helps the Scorpion cross the river, Scorpion kills Crocodile".

Hmmmmm....

Sure it can...maybe not ignored, but not bothered with
All those points you raise are good ones in the context of their historical contexts.

And I made the distinction that Westphalian rules apply to the internal affairs of African states. When those affairs directly threaten others (Libyan nuclear weapons), then of course we intervene.

The Prime Directive defined 'primitive' as mostly being so on the social developed end (world government, etc). That applies to many African states. Warp drive was just a plot vehicle unique to Star Trek and so shouldn't even be brought up.

I guess Africa should be treated more along the lines of the Babylon 5 universe, when the Centauri withdrew from the League worlds and left them to deal with the scar damage as a result. But things don't go well in the Babylon universe than they do in Star Trek's. Hmmmmm.

Safe havens for socialists
If we let Africa become safe havens for non-state entities that want to attack us, as we once did, we deserve what we get.

I"m surprised roy hasn't chimed in to defend Mugabe again
After all he's just another Marxist who is trying to create a worker's paradise.

Besides, anything that is going wrong is the fault of the US.

Roy appears to be AWOL
...

colloquialism
I did a stint as an advisor to an anti-poaching unit for the Zim National Park Service about fifteen years ago. The scouts that I lived with had an expression for that which was just out of sight.... "duzy". A literal translation might be "it's just over there", but this could be 100 meters or 100 kilometers. The point is, you must keep going till you get there.

Fine time to Recognize Mugabe
Mugabe has never changed his spots. He has always been what he is, a tyrant. The Anglo-American conglomerates placed him in power, supporting Russia, China, Cuba and North Korea. They did so opposing one of their greatest allies - not in the sense of numbers, but in dedication and commitment to the cause.

While I advocate a theocratic-democracy, and can see times for an autocratic government based upon the holy righteousness of the Most High God, to promote the cause of the demon-ocracy as the developed world did, has reaped the whirl-wind for a once prosperous country.

Yes! There were injustices, but not all by the Whites there. Blacks have always had injustices against one another. Many of the 'apartheid' (separations) were by their own choosing. Yet, the world media kept the truth from the front pages.

So tell us more about your theocratic-democracy
..especially the autocratic part based upon the holy righteousness of the Most High God. We're curious to hear all about it.

interesting paranoia
I thought the Anglo-American conglomerates supported the former govt of Angola. The one Mugabe overthrew.

I guess when you are convinced that western business is the source of all evil, details don't matter.

Interesting history
Which Angolan government did the Ango-American conglomerates support, Mark? The MPLA?

And when did Mugabe overthrow the government of Angola?

I get it now!
Just when I thought Mark's ignorance of a subject couldn't descend any further we are treated to another of The History Man's readings on Africa. Angola or Zimbabwe, ZANU or MPLA, Mugabe or dos Santos - just a bunch of Africans so there's no need to make any distinctions, right?

I'd have thought he'd have learned his lesson after confidently stating Britain had one, maybe two colonies in Africa. No matter, it's business as usual for the man who scorns everyone else for ignorance. Can't stop yourself from playing the fool, eh Mark? Just have to type something!

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