23 June 2008

Zimbabwe

The Dictator


The Opposition Leader


The Economy


I am not a person that has an in-depth knowledge of Africa or the African Continent and perhaps I am batting out of my league with this post. However, that is not the point as I am not intending to provide any analysis of the situation per se but rather pose a question or two.


The economy in Zimbabwe is spiralling out of control with inflation running at more than 1000% and this is forcing the government to print money (above picture) and this then puts even more pressure on the economy. It is sad that the Zimbabweans have gone from being the bread basket of Africa to being its biggest basket case.


The current leader is proud of being compared to Hitler and has gone on the record as saying he would like to be Hitler ten-fold. He is running an election campaign that is relying on violence to get the desired outcome. This has surprisingly brought out a little spine in the British government, the former colonial masters, who have publicly named the individuals that they believe are orchestrating the campaign violence.


The opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has pulled out of the run-off poll. This means a default win for Mugabe. Yet, Tsvangirai has a point in that the risks to people to come out and vote are high, particularly when one considers that Mugabe appears intent on keeping power by any means necessary. Reports of intensifying violence are increasing.


It seems abundantly clear to me that Mugabe is a tyrant and a dictator determined to do whatever it takes to cling to power. This includes not only running the Zimbabwean economy into the ground but also arbitrarily arrest, torture, and kill his own people if necessary in order to cling to power. The only difference that I see between Mugabe and Saddam Hussein is that there is no false claims about Mugabe having weapons of mass destruction and Zimbabwe has no oil.


So, here is my question:


Why is it that the US felt the need to go into Iraq to remove a nasty dictator and then call on the rest of the world to come into a coalition and support them, but they do not seem to feel there is any need to do the same thing with an increasingly violent dictator in Zimbabwe?


Call me a cynic but is it because there is no oil?

9 comments:

oigal said...

Ah come one mate,

It's the US again? where is the rant agaisnt the UN, the Catholic Church (they even invited the Fker to the vactican), South Africa, China.

Although I agree it will be interesting when the US finally says "screw it" and packs its bags and goes home...Should be so much fun as moral countries like China, Russian..The UN ....(ooops sorry laughing too hard) step in and fill the void.

Polar Bear said...

I feel VERY bitter about Zimbabwe, and I am going to say something VERY politically incorrect. You can delete the comment if you wish Rob, but it comes from my heart.

Rhodesia, founded by Cecil Rhodes, has the potential to be one of the wealthiest nations in the world. It has coal, Gold, silver, lead, chrome copper and diamonds in abundance. It is one of the most fertile lands in all of Africa. The British built a complete infrastructure – cities, roads, a rail network etc. In 1980 when it threw out the oppressive white minority colonialists the average life expectancy was 60 years. Now it is 37 years. Starvation is commonplace, inflation is rampant.

If there EVER was a case for retaining white colonial power Zimbabwe would be it.

Every person who EVER protested or spoke against Ian Smith and his government should now hang their heads in deep shame. You took a great nation and f##ked it up by handing it to the natives.

And for gods sake, now we see South Africa going the same way.

Rob Baiton said...

Oigal...

I don't think my point was that it had to be the US. I note that the US is now making rumblings about going to the UN and trying to pressure Zimbabwe into change.

I don't suggest that the rest of the world is moral and the US is not. That is simply an over-simplification of my point.

China could exert influence in Darfur and it does not. The UN should not need any spurring by the US to get involved, it should already be involved.

In my own defence I did say that this was not going to be an in-depth analysis :D

I really only wanted to make a few points along the lines that I did and then pose the question that I did...

Next time I will be more careful to write a much lengthier piece and cover all of the bases.

yet, I don't think what I did write can be construed as specific to the US or that Zimbabwe is the creation of the US's lack of interest.

My point was if there was strategic value in doing something about Zimbabwe it would have been done now without the UN or other countries assistance by someone.

Thanks for putting me back in line!

PB...

To each their own. As I said previously I am not into deleting comments for political incorrectness.

I am sure that there might be others who agree with you and there will be others who do not.

They can respond to what you have written if they so wish.

Rob Baiton said...

PB...

I should add that I have no problem with the former Rhodesia shedding the yoke of white colonial rule.

It is sad how shedding that yoke has turned out for the Zimbabwean people of the following almost 30 years.

This was my point. Is the world going to sit idly by and let things get worse, and they will get worse, or are "we" going to do something about it?

It did not think the piece was a an anti-US rant but rather me trying to pose a question about going forward and the fact there seems to be little strategic value in "saving" Zimbabwe.

It was just an opinion after all.

Rob Baiton said...

Polar...

I notice you have written a piece on this as well...thnaks for the plug by the way!

oigal said...

Mate..just seems that it always seems the US..(I do personally find them annoying groups..grin) Of course, they act in their own self interest what nation does not..and the US self interest will be a lot more user friendly than say CHina or the new Russia

Rob Baiton said...

Stump...

I do not disagree with you as such. I was also not making comment on how teh US is responsible for "fixing" everything. All I was really saying was that there needs to be something done.

And, hence, the question about whether the lack of action has anything to do with the strategic importance of Zimbabwe or lack thereof.

Antonius Bram said...

why don't the military coup d'etat him or the people bomb his palace or even assasinate him so that zimbabwe has a brighter future? to my goodness, ten thousand dollar note? even the highest note in indonesia is 100 thousand.

Rob Baiton said...

AB...

These are things that the Zimbabweans are going to have to address themselves. Nevertheless, the outside world can put some pressure on Mugabe if they were so inclined to do so.

The UN is refusing to decalre teh election invalid. However, the US are lobbying for economic sanctions / embargo to be put in place. But for me the country's economy is so fundamentally damaged that the most likely victims will be those who have already and continue to be vicitimized by the government; that is the ordinary citizens will be the one's to suffer most under sanctions.

South Africa is starting to advocate a more direct military approach in order to resolve the matter.

So, I guess we will see how this plays out.