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Old 06-25-2008, 09:06 PM   #1
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How to Put the Heat on Mugabe

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How to Put the Heat on Mugabe
By PAUL WOLFOWITZ
June 25, 2008
On Sunday, Morgan Tsvangirai – the leader of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, and the victor in the first round of that country's presidential election in March – announced that his party would not participate in the so-called runoff election scheduled for June 27.

"We can't ask the people to cast their vote when that vote will cost their lives. We will no longer participate in this violent sham of an election," Mr. Tsvangirai said. "Mugabe has declared war, and we will not be part of that war."

This must have been a painful decision. It allows Zimbabwe's 84-year-old dictator, President Robert Mugabe, to run unopposed. Zimbabwean Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu is crowing: "The constitution does not say that if somebody drops out or decides to chicken out the runoff will not be held."

Morgan Tsvangirai is no coward. He has persevered despite arrests, beatings and assassination attempts. But Mugabe has made clear there will be only one result from elections. "We are not going to give up our country because of a mere X [on a ballot]," he told Zimbabwe's state-controlled Herald newspaper last week.

Mugabe's brutal security forces aren't waiting for the election. According to Mr. Tsvangirai, over 86 MDC supporters have been killed, more than 10,000 injured and maimed, 2,000 illegally detained, and 200,000 internally displaced. Others say the death toll is much higher. And the details of those numbers are horrifying: Dadirai Chipiro – the wife of an MDC official – was thrown into a hut and burned to death after her feet and one hand were first cut off. Her case is not unusual.

This horror recalls the slaughter of more than 10,000 members of the Ndebele tribe in the 1980s by the notorious North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade, headed by Col. Perence Shiri. He is now head of the Zimbabwean air force and one of six men recently named by the British government as responsible for the current "campaign of terror." Against this background, and with the security forces providing clubs and machetes to large numbers of unemployed young men, Mr. Tsvangirai had every reason to fear a repetition of that slaughter, or worse.

Mr. Tsvangirai's withdrawal now allows Mugabe to claim an election victory, but he would certainly have done so in any event – if necessary by rigging the ballot count. The important thing now is to deny him the legitimacy that he hopes for, and to sustain the courage and strength of the people of Zimbabwe in their hope for a better future.

Until now, the attitude of African leaders has been an obstacle to peaceful change. Despite everything, some still look to Mugabe's leadership in the historic fight against white supremacy. Most significant among them is President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.

But breaks in this silence are starting to appear. The leaders of Botswana and Zambia have now criticized Mugabe strongly and publicly. Forty African civil society leaders, including 14 former presidents, issued a call for Zimbabwean authorities to allow a free and fair election. The foreign minister of Tanzania, one of Mugabe's traditional allies, has denounced the pre-election violence. Kenya's Prime Minister, Raila Odinga (a victim of election fraud in his own country), has called Mugabe "an embarrassment for Africa." In South Africa itself, Jacob Zuma, a populist who defeated Mr. Mbeki for the leadership of the African National Congress, has been openly critical. And last month, South African labor unions refused to unload a Chinese ship bearing arms for Mugabe, forcing the Chinese to beat a retreat.

Since Mr. Tsvangirai's withdrawal announcement, criticism from African governments has become stronger – even from Angola, one of Mugabe's closest allies. This provides an opening for a more active role by the international community.

Words of condemnation help to deny Mugabe's claims of legitimacy, but words alone are not enough. Specific sanctions against some of the leaders of the violence may also be useful, but their impact will be limited. Broad economic sanctions will only increase the suffering of Zimbabwe's people, whose misery has already been increased by Mugabe's refusal to accept emergency food assistance from the U.N.

There is also talk about U.N. peacekeeping forces or other forms of military intervention, but this does not seem to be what the people of Zimbabwe want. What the people of Zimbabwe clearly do want is to maintain the pressure on Mugabe and his cronies for peaceful, democratic change.

The international community should commit – as publicly and urgently as possible – to provide substantial support if Mugabe relinquishes power. Even if Mr. Tsvangirai were to become president tomorrow he would still face a daunting set of problems: restoring an economy in which hyperinflation has effectively destroyed the currency and unemployment is a staggering 70%; getting emergency food aid to millions who are at risk of starvation and disease; promoting reconciliation after the terrible violence; and undoing Mugabe's damaging policies, without engendering a violent backlash.

The international community should also say it will move rapidly to remove the burden of debts accumulated by the Mugabe regime and not force a new government to spend many months and precious human resources on the issue (as Liberia was forced to do to deal with the debts of Samuel Doe).

Given the strength and ruthlessness of the regime, change will not come easily. Nevertheless, developing a concrete vision for the future would help to rally the people of Zimbabwe around a long-term effort to achieve a peaceful transition. It would give Mr. Tsvangirai important negotiating leverage. And it could attract disaffected members of the regime.

Most importantly, dramatic action by the international community could embolden other Africans to confront the tragedy in their backyard. One step would be to offer Mugabe an honorable way out. South Africa or some other country should offer Mugabe a safe and comfortable retirement if he leaves without further violence.

Those who have suffered personally at his hands may feel that this would deprive them of justice. But this is a time when a compromise needs to be struck between the need for justice and the need to stop further violence. South Africa itself, under Nelson Mandela's leadership, once set an example for the world in this regard. Today it could help Zimbabweans develop their own process of "Truth and Reconciliation."

Ideally a non-Western institution, such as the African Development Bank, could take the lead in summoning a Friends of Zimbabwe conference. Hopefully, the wealthy oil-producing countries would participate. So too could China and India, successful developing countries that have shown a new interest in Africa.

The very fact of the international community coming together on short notice would send a strong message of hope to Zimbabweans and to all Africans who care about the future of that important country.
How to Put the Heat on Mugabe - WSJ.com
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Old 06-25-2008, 09:22 PM   #2
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Dont worry everyone, the British government has finally stripped him of his Knighthood. Problem solved.
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Old 06-25-2008, 11:49 PM   #3
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It is so frustrating to watch this from afar, while continued revulsion for a man who clearly had completely lost the plot, and is surrounded by thousands of people who are starving, and see horrendous violence every day still back him. I agree with whoever said that the change will have to come from within, because no way would anything change if say the UK, or the US or a coalition went in to rectify the situation. I'm sure it would flare up black/white relations again, and turn the spotlight from the monster in charge to something entirely different.

I have a friend who is from zimbabwe, her family left in 2001 when they were forced to sell their farm (they were white) and moved to Australia. She said they sold their farm for 2.1 million zim dollars, which today doesn't even buy a bottle of wine in Zim. Thats what worries me the most about this whole thing, is how 'stuck' the residents of zim are. Even if they were allowed to leave, where could they go when their money is worth absolutely nothing? They are stuck there, trying to deal with the situation, and its just an absolute mess. I think we need to put sanctions on any outside help with arms and militia training, and really push the other countries around Zim to not accept Mugabe, and force the issue.
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Old 06-25-2008, 11:59 PM   #4
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While I am pleased that Africa's leaders are finally becoming more vocal over the situation, this might end up being yet another case of "too little, too late." Zimbabwe's neighbours should have spoken out against Mugabe and Zanu-PF years ago. It is frankly shocking that it has taken this long for such statements to be made.

At this point, I somehow doubt that the AU or the UN will be able to resolve this issue without force. The time for "quiet diplomacy" (© Mbeki 2002-2008) is long gone. Mugabe has made it clear that he will not give up control without a fight.

I will keep my thoughts about what should happen to Mugabe to myself. Let's just say I have friends who have experienced the full extent of the man's evil.
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Old 06-28-2008, 04:55 PM   #5
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Meanwhile while Mandela and friends have a cozy birthday party, which is fair enough, South Africa is......

Counting of votes cast in the presidential election run-off held in Zimbabwe yesterday is under way in the capital Harare, amid reports that South Africa has blocked a move at the United Nations to declare the election illegitimate.

(AP) South Africa deported some 450 Zimbabweans overnight from a border detention centre to a homeland beset by political violence and uncertainty, an international aid group said Saturday.

"Hundreds of people have been sent back into the country from which they fled, without any recognition of their right to seek asylum," said Rachel Cohen, head of Medecins Sans Frontieres in South Africa. She said the deportations were "unacceptable" and "in violation of international as well as South African law, which guarantee the right to seek asylum.

South African President Thabo Mbeki's attempts to mediate between Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwean opposition are increasingly seen as failed. Mbeki has refused to publicly criticize Mugabe, who is accused of trampling human rights and ruining the economy of what had been the region's breadbasket.

South Africa Deports Zimbabwean Refugees, Aid Group Says 450 Who Fled Election Violence Were Sent Back Across Border - CBS News

This pretty much explains it......

Considering the manner in which Mugabe is thumbing his nose at the international community, including the UN, it’s unlikely that Zimbabweans, who are already terrified of challenging this dictator, can sort out the mess in their country on their own. International intervention is necessary, from anyone who purports to care about democracy and human rights.

This possibility, unfortunately, is being fervently opposed by none other than Zimbabwe’s powerful neighbor - South Africa. South Africa stands accused of deliberate dereliction of its duty to solve the Zimbabwe crisis. South Africa has betrayed Zimbabweans by handling Mugabe with children’s gloves. Its president, Thabo Mbeki, has refused to speak forcefully and firmly against Mugabe even while he encourages his supporters to kill and main innocent Zimbabweans.

South Africa’s soft handling of the Zimbabwean situation is perplexing. South Africa has time and again demonstrated its readiness to pick fights with countries willing to speak for millions of Zimbabweans, whom Mugabe and his thugs continue to terrorise.

Mbeki has been massaging Mugabe to talk peace instead of demanding that he stop making a mockery of democracy. He has adopted a wink-wink strategy in resolving the Zimbabwean crisis. At one time, he discounts the existence of a crisis in Zimbabwe. At another time, he lies to the world that he’s doing everything he can to bring peace to Zimbabwe.

When countries such as the U.S., Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Canada, and Australia demand Mugabe respect the Zimbabwean people’s right to choose a president, Mbeki declares they’re ill-suited for the job because they’re outsiders. When outrage towards Mugabe reaches a crescendo, South Africa -- through the African National Congress (ANC) -- warns against international intervention. It goes further to tie such calls to the dark era of colonisation. This is how the ANC puts it: “No colonial power in Africa, least of all Britain in its colony of ‘Rhodesia’, ever demonstrated any respect for these (democratic and human rights) principles.”

Njoroge Wachai: Hold South Africa Responsible for Zimbabwe's Mess - PostGlobal at washingtonpost.com


Well South Africa, you can sort out your own affairs then and good luck with iit, we see you're doing such a great job as it is.
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Old 06-28-2008, 05:01 PM   #6
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2010 World cup in South Africa.
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Old 06-28-2008, 11:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by vaz02 View Post
2010 World cup in South Africa.
How they're going to pull that off, I'll never know. Headline prediction time!

"World Cup Opener Delayed - Eskom's Continued Blackouts Prevent Players From Seeing The Pitch"

"Charles Nqakula Issues Statement: If European Supporters Don't Like Being Murdered, They Can Simply Leave This Country"

"England Fans Out-Rioted In Polokwane As Thousands Of Homeless South Africans Express Outrage Over Government's Decision To Funnel More Money Into Stadium Construction Than Housing Development"

Okay, so the last one would be a bit too long for a newspaper headline, but still...


Back to Zimbabwe. It's not surprising that Mbeki STILL hasn't said anything about this. Why change your stance now, hey Thabo? At least Zuma has the sense to openly condemn Mugabe. This almost seems a bit out of character for him, though, considering the fact that he has always defended Mugabe in the past and even favours the idea of Mugabe-like land reforms for South Africa.

Poor Madiba. All that work and all that suffering in order to create a South Africa that could finally be taken seriously by the rest of the world...only to have it tarnished by the likes of Mbeki and his ANC cronies.
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Old 06-29-2008, 12:48 AM   #8
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How they're going to pull that off, I'll never know.

Poor Madiba. All that work and all that suffering in order to create a South Africa that could finally be taken seriously by the rest of the world...only to have it tarnished by the likes of Mbeki and his ANC cronies.

I still choose to remain optimistic of the power of the Olympic's and the World's focus.
It's can't help but to reflect more light into this very dark place.
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Old 06-29-2008, 12:34 PM   #9
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I still choose to remain optimistic of the power of the Olympic's and the World's focus.
It's can't help but to reflect more light into this very dark place.
It's hard to remain optimistic when 95% of your extended family still lives in the country. 50 murders, 150 rapes, 350 robberies...every day. And Thabo Mbeki has the audacity to claim that the crime situation is "under control."

South Africa is crumbling.
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Old 06-29-2008, 12:45 PM   #10
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Robert Mugabe has been sworn in for a new five-year term as Zimbabwe's president after election officials declared a landslide victory for him.

A 21-gun salute and military jet fly-by greeted Mr Mugabe at the ceremony at his State House residence in Harare.

Official results said Mr Mugabe won all 10 provinces with 85.5% of the vote - but there were many spoiled ballots.

He was the only candidate to run after the opposition boycotted the vote amid claims of state-sponsored violence.

Electoral commission officials said voter turnout had been about 42%, similar to that of the disputed first-round vote in March.

Independent observers said many of those who did go to the polls voted out of fear, and that thousands of people had spoiled their ballots by defacing them or marking them inaccurately.

The hastily organised ceremony confirmed Mr Mugabe's sixth term as president - extending his 28 years in power.

"I, Robert Gabriel Mugabe do swear that I will truly serve in the office of president, so help me God," the 84-year-old said, to applause from the gathered dignitaries.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was invited to the ceremony as a "gesture of engagement", but he rejected it as "meaningless".

An opposition spokesman said Mr Mugabe's appointment was "an absolute joke" as he did not have the mandate of the people.

Mr Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), announced he was pulling out of the election last Sunday citing violence and intimidation against his supporters.

But his name remained on ballot papers after Zimbabwe's electoral authorities refused to accept his decision.

Mr Mugabe is now expected to fly to Egypt to attend an African Union summit which opens on Monday.

The BBC's Peter Biles, in Johannesburg, the question now is whether Zimbabwe's neighbours will recognise this election result.

An observer team from the Pan-African Parliament has called for fresh elections to be held, saying the vote was not free or fair.

It has called on regional grouping Sadc and the African Union (AU) to facilitate talks between the government and opposition.

Earlier, the former Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu, urged the international community to intervene in Zimbabwe - by force if necessary.

He said he would support the deployment of a UN force to restore peace in the country.

Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr programme, Archbishop Tutu also said that AU leaders should refuse to recognise Robert Mugabe as the legitimate president of Zimbabwe.

"If you were to have a unanimous voice, saying quite clearly to Mr Mugabe... you are illegitimate and we will not recognise your administration in any shape or form - I think that would be a very, very powerful signal and would really strengthen the hand of the international community."

There has also been international outrage at events in Zimbabwe.

US President George W Bush on Saturday instructed US officials to come up with new sanctions against Zimbabwe, and said the US would press for strong action by the UN.

In interviews published in British newspapers on Sunday, Mr Tsvangirai said he would push for negotiations with Mr Mugabe on a new constitution and fresh elections.

"We have the power to control parliament, and that is recognised even by Mugabe's Zanu-PF... We must force a transitional agreement for a set time-frame and work towards a new constitution for Zimbabwe," he told the Mail on Sunday.

"I am confident we can achieve that if international pressure keeps up," he added.

Mr Mugabe came second to Mr Tsvangirai in the first round of the presidential vote in March.

Since then, the MDC says some 86 of its supporters have been killed and 200,000 forced from their homes by militias loyal to the Zanu-PF.

The government blames the MDC for the violence.

BBC NEWS | Africa | Defiant Mugabe seals sixth term
Disgusting. Like I said earlier, I doubt that the issue will be resolved without force. Archbishop Tutu is absolutely correct.
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Old 06-29-2008, 01:09 PM   #11
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Now we can only hope that nature solves this.
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Old 06-29-2008, 04:44 PM   #12
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^ Mugabe is only the face of the whole operation. His generals have took the real power.
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Old 06-29-2008, 05:09 PM   #13
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That's right, it won't be like he dies and Zimbambwe is free. Nevertheless, changes often don't have a real chance to occur until the leader dies and there is some change at the top. And the generals in Zimbabwe will hardly be able to pull a North Korea like change where they let the public belief their leader hasn't really changed.

Though of course his death will be no guarantee for a change.
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Old 06-30-2008, 12:06 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by GibsonGirl View Post
It's hard to remain optimistic when 95% of your extended family still lives in the country. 50 murders, 150 rapes, 350 robberies...every day. And Thabo Mbeki has the audacity to claim that the crime situation is "under control."

South Africa is crumbling.
I truly hope that you're able to return one day to a place of peace and tranquility--something that matches your country's awesome beauty. It must be extremely unsettling to have family, your roots, caught up in such turmoil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vaz02 View Post
2010 World cup in South Africa.
It's not a definitive answer to the problem, not by a long-shot, but what about a potential boycott of the World Cup? It wouldn't be an immediate solution, but short of a bullet to the head of Mugabe (which I'm surprised hasn't actually happened yet), talk of that could ramp-up international pressure...and that's what's needed. He needs to be isolated, and condemned at the highest level by every single government that Zimbabwe has dealings with. It's happening now here in Canada, and it needs to happen everywhere, right now. I'm not sure that force is the answer...it would just be met with more force from Mugabe--creating a potential bloodbath. At some point, force could be an option...if a complete diplomatic smothering doesn't work. It's such a mess, however, and I'm sitting in my comfortable perch in Canada, hoping it all works out.

Ultimately, it's a question of how many people make this an issue. Interference is probably not the best litmus test for that, but it's telling to some degree that this thread is not getting swamped with replies. Hopefully that changes immediately on a much higher level.
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Old 06-30-2008, 10:37 AM   #15
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I think the 2010 World cup in South Africa is important because its telling Mbeki to get his house in order or else. I dont think FIFA are prepared to allow the World Cup to go ahead if there is major trouble on the boarder, it would simply be unsafe. The world cup will be a major cash cow for the region and im sure a success would not only do wonders for South Africa but Mbeki himself.

I honestly do believe this is a situation for the AU and the AU only. If Britain or America go in on the ground, this will only cause Zimbabwe to unite behind Mugabe, because this is what Mugabe has claimed all along. If the AU wants to maintain any sort of creditability they must act.
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