Tuesday, 17 June 2008

How Can a Ballpoint Pen Fight With a Gun?

“We shed a lot of blood for this country…We are not going to give up our country for a mere X on a ballot. How can a ballpoint pen fight with a gun?"

Robert Mugabe

Mad Bob is currently dictatorship at it’s worst.

Not only has he ignored the results of the March elections to fudge a Presidential run-off (the results haven’t even been released yet because he lost the bloody thing), he’s now in the process of stripping away the last vestiges of democracy in Zimbabwe. Scratch that, democracy has long gone, this is tinpot, pissy backwater politics at their bullying worst.

First off, the brutality shown towards supporters of the opposition MDC party has led to over 60 deaths, never mind those that have been mutilated and/or displaced by horrendous, countrywide attacks. Mugabe has a track record of killing his own people to repress rebellion, the atrocities Gukurahundi in the 80's are testament to that.

Secondly, the MDC’s leader Morgan Tsvangirai and deputy leader Tendai Biti (initially charged with treason and then with the Kafkaesque vagueness of causing disaffection in the security forces”) have been in and out of jail on various trumped up charges over the past few weeks and worst of all, have actually been accused of starting the violence sweeping Zimbabwe. I suppose, in a sense, they have, by running in opposition to Mugabe and standing up to his terrible government, which has been crippling Zimbabwe for far too long (currently, there is Z$5.2 billion to $1, limited food and constant power cuts).

This nasty, clearly mental old man said yesterday:

“We shall never, never accept anything that smells of the MDC. These pathetic puppets taking over this country? Let’s see. That is not going to happen…We are prepared to fight for Zimbabwe if we lose it in the same way that our forefathers lost it.”

So, basically, if he loses the election there’ll be a terrible war and if he wins the election it’ll be via bullying and brutilising the population of Zimbabwe.

Not exactly a win-win situation is is?

This whole messy episode reminds me of Kenya’s ongoing political crisis and doesn’t bode well for the development and furtherment of genuine democracies in Africa.

Not that the rest of the world is helping much, I presume because there is a serious lack of oil to justify regime change in Zimbabwe and involvement in Africa comes with all kinds of colonial connotations. So the Western leaders bluster off stage, whilst the deafening silence of South African leader President Thabo Mbeki and his brand of quiet diplomacy has spearheaded Africa’s political response.

Spearhead isn’t really the right word, more like an appeasing shrug and this approach is seriously damaging South Africa’s reputation on the world stage because by their very association with Mad Bob’s regime, they are tarnished.

The solution? Brute force I’m afraid. Mugabe won’t go peacefully into the night, he’s already shown that, Zimbabwe’s damaged economy and infrastructure is already impacting upon neighbouring countries in Southern Africa and something needs to be done to enable direct change before it affects the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.

It’s either that or we all stand by and watch…


  1. True, all true, but... we aren't the world's policemen. It is AWFUL to see such atrocities occuring, but they're occuring almost everywhere. Let's face it, there are few civilized countries and the ones that ARE are being encroached upon (France is a classic example). We can't police everyone else when we're having a tough enough time policing ourselves (which is why I think the USA needs to get out of the Middle East).

    Either that, or the UK and USA need to start charging for our services. The taxpayers are going broke in order to make the politicians feel charitable.

    Africa is rife with atrocities and always has been, sadly. That's why I boycott diamonds and I've been doing that since the 80s. (I wrote about it here and here).

    Kenya's not a diamond producing country, but their government is equally corrupt.

  2. It does seem hopeless. A pure lose-lose. I'd like to see the other African nations pull together and exert some pressure / influence, but I'm afraid Mbeki will stymie such efforts. Depressing.

  3. The Chinese are no help in Africa. Wankers.

  4. Sadly, the draconian tactics of the ZANU-PF have worked. Morgan Tsangirai has quite the runoff.


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