The people of Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of central Africa and an embryo of progressive change for the whole continent, have been reduced to pitiful circumstances due to the mismanagement of their government, led by one time resistance leader Robert Mugabe. If ever there is a living example of fixing a politicians period in office to eight years, Mugabe is it. Beyond that period of time the best of politicians loose all reason. Perhaps those supporting Hugo Chavez bid, if elected, to remain President of Venezuela indefinitely should consider this.
It is not a matter of pure evil as some have tried to explain Mugabe’s disgrace, after eight years in office sycophants surround a political leader, thus they come to believe they are invincible and the destiny of the state they rule over is intricately linked to there own.
The most basic of food stuffs and medicines which the majority of the Zimbabwean population rely on are at crises levels. Indeed during the recent cholera outbreak, local hospitals did not have medicine to combat what is regarded these days as a simple disease to control. Instead Zimbabwe had to rely on the very NGOs Mugabe derides, as if the country were a third world basket case. Or those infected with the disease had to hike across the South African or Botswana border for treatment, with the very real risks of contagion this entails.
That Mugabe’s regime has banned a large number of western media outlets from reporting from within Zimbabwe speaks volumes about his mentality. This from a man who during the Liberation struggle viewed the international media as being worth a battalion of ZANLA soldiers. The country's currency is worthless, often devalued two to three times a day, but none of this affects the rotten clique within the police, army, legal profession and parliament who bolster Mugabe in power whilst the masses suffer, as they are rewarded in dollars, land and property, plus access to the staff of life. They know only to well if Mugabe falls they will follow. So they cling like rats to the sinking hulk that it is the Zimbabwean State.
Zimbabwe should be a beacon of hope, we were not wrong to rejoice in that country's independence on the 18th April 1980, yet the warning signs were in the rejoicing. For when Bob Marley, a hero of many young ZANU/ZANLA militants, came to perform that night, it was to an exclusive audience of assembled dignitaries and media. As well as the ZANLA leadership, the luminaries included Britain's Prince Charles and India's Indira Gandhi, the masses were absent from the audience.
So what to do, firstly the ANC government in South Africa needs to stop bolstering Mugabe for services rendered to the ANC during the anti apartheid struggle. With Thambo Mbeki having been forced out as SA president by the ANC, we can but hope that there will be a change in direction viz a viz Zimbabwe.
I am not a believer in exporting democracy on the end of a bayonet let alone socialism, as history proves 9/10 times no good comes of it. In the case of Zimbabwe I wonder if we should not make an acceptation. It has become increasingly clear that the masses are in no position to rise up against the Mugabe regime, yet nor do they have any confidence in it to improve there lot. The main opposition, the Movement for Democratic Change have allowed themselves to become entwined in Mugabe negotiating strategy and are time and again being out maneuvered by the old fox. They have also backed themselves into a corner by their reliance on the British and US governments, and fail to understand that Brown and Bush are themselves being manipulated by Corporate interests, who fear revolutionary change more than they do the Mugabe regime. Who many of them continue to do business with.
However there is a power in southern Africa which has both the military means and moral authority to bring the Zimbabwean peoples' suffering to an end, the Republic of South Africa. Is the situation within Zimbabwe so desperate that an outside military force is the country's only hope of salvation ?
Historically we have been here before. On January 7, 1979, Vietnamese troops seized the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, toppling the murderous regime of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Instead of being rewarded for toppling the Pol Pot dictatorship, Vietnam faced sanctions and Britain and the USA demanded that the UN continue to recognize the overthrown Khmer Rouge regime and supplied him with weapons and logistics .
Thus it is understandably South Africa has been reluctant to act against Robert Mugabe’s corrupt and despotic regime. True the human suffering on the Congo-Rwanda border is just as dire if not more so. But Zimbabwe represents something more than human suffering alone. For the fact is, given the chance and good governance, Zimbabwe has the material and human resources to lift itself out of its sorry plight and once again become a beacon of hope for the people of the African continent.
South Africa has both the moral authority and with advice and support from Cuba the means to bring the Zimbabwean peoples suffering to an end. I include Cuba as their inclusion would send a clear message to the army of Zimbabwe that the SADF would be entering there country as a liberation force and not an adjacent of European or US neo-colonialism.
Of course there are real dangers in any military operation of this type, but the consequences from doing nothing for South Africa are equally great, the influx of Zimbabwean refugees has already destabilized the country and the threat of contagion raised this threat to another level.
The Mugabe regime is finished, better it goes sooner than later, or in stops and starts with every jack Zanu upstart striving for power. Over to you Comrade Zuma?
By Mick Mall
Blogger with Organized Rage, a site that looks at life from the perspective of the working classes and the dispossessed. It covers politics and life throughout the European Union and the wider world; and rages against injustice wherever it may be found.
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