Zimbabwe in a state of intimidation

22 Apr

With arms at sea, it looks like the Zimbabwean government is going to step up the violence and intimidation to ensure that any form of run off election held in the country for the presidency will ensure the sort of land slide victory Robert Mugabe has come to expect.

With 10 opposition supports already murdered, and thousands suffering under brutal violence and intimidation, how can a democratic election be expected to take place in a society in crisis?

With Britain and the West condemning Mugabe, the question has to be asked what can, and what will be done to stop what looks to be an inevitable human rights crisis?

The sad truth is that Zimbabwe is already a human rights crisis: effective inflation of over 100 000% p.a., 80% unemployment, over the half of the country are refugees to other countries in the region, like my home, South Africa; what is left in Zimbabwe to ruin?

It is shocking that in the modern world a catastrophe of governance such as Mugabe’s Zimbabwe should be allowed to remain. If Zimbabwe were next to the vast majority of countries in the world, some act of intervention would have taken place. But South African president Thabo Mbeki has done nothing: and whilst his own party the ANC does nothing to impeach him – even they agree that there is a crisis in Zimbabwe and something must be done.

The miracle of Zimbabwe is that less blood has been shed. It speaks to the levels of institutional oppression and legacy of colonialism in the country that a task master of such evil proportions as Mugabe could go on so long without a street based rebellion. Had South Africa such a criminal leader, the people would riot and oust the dictator, as they would in most states…

This illustrates the need of the military to keep Mugabe in power, and thus protect themselves from prosecution for the Matabeleland massacres of the 1980s after the war of independence, instigated by Mugabe and his military chiefs.

It is terrible to see despots and genocidal militarists go free, but it is worse to see a country run to ruin. Whilst on a different level (the Apartheid regime resisted freedom but never slaughtered or perpetuated genocide; simply unequal separation), the Zimbabwean opposition needs to offer a truth and reconciliation style amnesty to the Big Men of Zimbabwe, as South Africa’s ANC did with the Apartheid regime, to grease the wheels of change and heal the wounds of the nation.

It is a cruel irony, that the country known as the bread basket of Africa, is not able to obtain the vast influxes of wealth the country would have seen had it not fallen to ruin, as global wheat and maize prices soar.

Now what remains of Zimbabwe must be guided through the fires of chaos that surround them, and hopefully into a future without despotism and bloodshed.

If that is possible considering Mugabe’s cruel grip on power, is another matter entirely.


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