Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Can you blame him?

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has quit the country's run-off election, saying the vote cannot be free and fair. See the SMH here.

According to Lateline he's now hiding out in the Dutch embassy.

Fucking hell Zimbabwe went down hill. Mugabe lead a resistance movement to victory and assisted the ANC in their resistance movements in South Africa. Zimbabwe wasn't a bed of roses but up until about seven years ago it held its head high in Africa and exported more food that it imported. Now, the only thing it exports is its people with about a third of them refugees in surrounding countries.

I think it's a combination of old injustices being resolved (seizure of land from white farmers) but resolved without thought to the knock on effects. The farms as I understand it were plantation style macro operations - thousands of acres with white farmers (some of whom had bought the land after Mugabe took power) at the pinnacle like kings of old in those social class pyramids we read about in school, with black Africans filling out the lower ranks. The white farmers were essentially agricultural technocrats employing sophisticated techniques to manage vast operations.

When the seizures occured - which had its roots in the UK and Mugabe's regime failing to sort out a fair means of land redistribution - the land was parcelled out in small chunks to cronies and others that did not have the skill sets or equipment to do anything beyond basic subsistence farming.

So it all went to shit. Now Philtrum Sliver is living some sort of deluded hero fantasy where he is unable to acknowledge that the carrying out of what could be argued was a noble act went completely and utterly smegging pear shaped and turned his country from a bread basket to an old hat with a sign in it saying will drop pants for food.

And the "war veterans", the vats bulk of which appear to have been born after Mugabe became president, with the armed forces are backing Mugabe because what little is left will be lost if they lose power - even though millions of their people are starving, unemployed, or otherwise well fucked.

If Iraq hadn't happened there's a chance, slim mind you, that the international community would have done something. Not now. They don't have the stomach for sorting out intrastate violence. And South Africa is hobbled in its responses because they owed Mugabe their survival in the struggle years.

There is no solution that I can see. Apart from every western country sending all the cronies kids packing from their countries. But even that's just punishing a handful while millions starve.

It's basically up to the African states that surround it now. I suppose once it reaches a critical mass of refugees they may step in. Tanzania after-all took out Amin's government in the 70's. But I'm not holding my breath.

All credit however to those that stood up to Mugabe. There's no shame in calling it quits in the face of overt threats to life and limb. They should be proud of what they have achieved.


  1. It's a stunt. It's funny how the media gives itself permission to go hard against people we're told by our leaders to dislike. Mugabe is a bad guy, but the quality of reporting on the situation is very poor. Frankly, calling it quits 4 days before the election was to go ahead is an attempt by Tsvangarai to force the international community's hand, something that won't happen because Zim doesn't have oil. He should have stuck it out, as he's not going to get any support stronger than a bunch of non-binding 'declarations' from the security council and impotent fist-waving from western leaders. He already won the recent parliamentary elections, something everyone seems to forget.

  2. I have to disagree. The opposition to the opposition is pretty intense. Hundreds of cases reported of the rape, murder, beatings, and mutilation of opposition figures, his being arrested daily multiple times, his deputy in detention for the death penalty carrying treason.

    The election cannot be won. Why risk your supporter's lives by thinking it can?

    The country is now a massive shit hole. And you're right that the international community won't do shit because there's nothing it for them. They will simply chalk it up to the busted arse country syndrome even though colonialism knock ons have infected almost every country in the region.


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