Robert Mugabe ensured that Zimbabwe’s runoff election, scheduled for today, would have only himself as presidential candidate by driving the opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) from the scene. All it took was his Zanu-PF goons killing and maiming the principal members of the MDC. Mugabe, the despot, continues to tyrannize this economically destitute, politically shackled state.
The Secretary General of the MDC had been jailed earlier in the month under a death sentence for treason. Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC presidential candidate, fled this week to the Dutch embassy to escape the carnage on the streets and then announced his party was opting out of the runoff. This was after the wife of the MDC mayor of the capital city of Harare was kidnapped and butchered in front of her 4-year-old son.
In response the United Nations, guided by the purposeful inaction of its African members, has held indignant meetings on the subject of holding more indignant meetings.
What needs to be done is clear, though it is never mentioned except in whispers. Military forces aided by internal resistance must be used to oust the dictator and install a democratically elected government. Sound familiar? Unfortunately Zimbabwe’s neighbors do not want to launch such an effort and certainly do not countenance non-African powers doing so.
What they apparently want is to see peace and democracy magically break out. It’s not going to happen. What exists instead is a concerted effort by African leaders and the world’s many left-wing apologists to construct reason and logic out of Mugabe’s societal and political mayhem. This obfuscation and obscurantism reaches back many years.
ROBERT MUGABE ONCE MAY have been quiet and cunningly smart, but he always had the murderous capability he now so obviously wields. Europeans (the African term for all whites), eager to find intelligent African leaders within whom they might see the qualities the French used to refer to as evolvue (evolved), perceived in the admitted leftist Mugabe a man nonetheless of apparent common sense and contemporary sophistication.
From the beginning Mugabe set about to politically and then physically annihilate others who had worked for Zimbabwe independence. His Central Intelligence Organization was formed from the ranks of those personally most loyal. They have kept an eye on everything and everyone in the country that might pose a threat to their leader. This has included the members of his own party.
All law enforcement follows the same line, as does the hand-picked Presidential Guard. The Army’s Fifth Brigade originally had North Korean advisors to ensure proper training with old Soviet equipment — and to rub their presence under the noses of the former British “imperialists.” To further strengthen his hold on power Mugabe has created units of so-called “war veterans” who do the dirty street bullying to keep villagers in line and coerce the few remaining white farmers.
Robert Mugabe in all his fearful paranoia is protected by this large and formidable internal security apparat. Their existence depends on “the old man,” and they know it. African leaders, while acknowledging the danger to his own country that Mugabe poses, point to his advanced age (84) as the key to dealing with him. Africa is waiting for him to die, but he just doesn’t seem to be in an accommodating mood.
ROBERT MUGABE HASN’T CHANGED and doesn’t appear to intend to. He’s the same as he was earlier, just more practiced in his paranoia and deadly in his despotism. He never was a democrat. He never sought democracy for his country. And he has never understood anything about governance other than the heavy-handed manipulation of the political process.
This aged but not infirm Mugabe is deeply insulted at what he views is an ungrateful public that has spawned from its ranks legions of non-subservient disbelievers. In his eyes, these “tools of British imperialism” seek to overturn history. Robert Mugabe has reached the same point in his life as did Felix Houphoet-Boigny, Joseph Desire Mobuto, Jean-Bedel Bokassa, and other African autocrats to whom power was their raison d’etre.
Perhaps the African and United Nations solution is right. Wait for the old man to die. But then what? When tyrannies fall, they can leave chaos in their wake. The existing large and demanding security force will remain desirous of protecting their power. They must be disbanded and removed from influence.
Are Southern Africa and the United Nations prepared to accept the responsibility that awaits them? Will they really care more then than they do now?
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