Zero Hour in Zimbabwe

The Washington Post
20 August 2002 E-Mail this page to a friend

CREDIT President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe with transforming his country from southern Africa's breadbasket into a southern Africa basket case. Thanks to his mismanagement, corruption and the damage he has inflicted on Zimbabwe's economy, a nation
a nation that once fed its regional neighbors cannot now feed itself
that once fed its regional neighbors cannot now feed itself. To plunge Zimbabwe even further into international disrepute, Mr. Mugabe, thief of his last election, is now trying to mask his failures by scapegoating the country's white commercial farmers as the main source of the country's ills. Even as he, in the name of "land reform," expropriates private farms and arrests white farmers for defying orders to get off their land, Robert Mugabe is fooling no one but himself. The colonial legacy, which at the time of independence allowed fewer than 5,000 white farmers to hold 70 percent of Zimbabwe's best farmland, is a wrong that needs to be set right. But Mr. Mugabe, rather than pursuing constructive reforms, is persecuting his opponents, taking land without compensation and behaving for all the world to see as a power-mad autocrat.

At the same time, Zimbabwe, nearly bankrupt, suffering a drought and edging toward famine, comes to the West with a tin cup. Because the disaster in agricultural policy will afflict Zimbabwe's neighbors in Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, Mr.
"(Mugabe) deserves all the sanctions the world can muster"
Mugabe's problem is falling into the hands of the rest of the world to solve. His misrule cannot serve as an excuse to ignore the region's growing humanitarian crisis. But Mr. Mugabe's attacks on commercial farms and businesses, his intimidation of opponents and critics, and his demonstrated contempt for the law merit only international contempt and isolation. He deserves all the sanctions the world can muster.

Robert Mugabe was once a hero, leading his country's struggle for independence. Today he stands as a representative of all that is wrong with postcolonial African leadership: a self-centered, power-hungry dictator who has lost the support of his people, yet clings to the trappings of office through the help of the mob, the gun and a demagogic political appeal to the worst kind of human emotions. Zimbabwe would do well to be rid of him.

Previous Visitor Comments

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As I doubt Mugabe is going around with his prtivae parts on view, I must assume that the offender was merely using the prtivae parts as a way of expressing his negative feelings about the despot. The despot must feel very insecure about his prtivae parts to react so harshly...
California has a so-called "direct democracy" setysm too. IF you can afford to pay thousands of signature gatherers all over the state to scare up enough signatures (by convincing, cajoling, threatening and forging), your "idea" gets on the ballot and the entire state votes on it. In practice, 99% of the grand ideas that make it onto the ballot are get-rich-quick schemes for individuals who are already rich, or tax- or labor-cost-evasion schemes for corporations, or privatization schemes for some company that wants a bigger piece of the pie at the expense of public accountability and transparency. The winning ballot measures are usually characterized not by righteousness, common sense or filling a need, but by their multimillion dollar media campaigns that paint a disingenuous populist veneer over the issue. This is how Proposition 13 (look it up) became California’s economic and educational nightmare. The actual law was written to benefit corporations and the insanely rich by freezing their property tax rates, but the genius of it was that Howard Jarvis also made it freeze everyone else’s property tax rates so he could sell it as a "taxpayer’s revolution". And, in fact, this was a real problem that needed fixing: California’s working families were being taxed out of their homes. But the "solution" has proven to be an economic and social disaster, bankrupting our formerly-respectable public education setysm and leading to the travesty where the Bank of America branch downtown pays the same property tax as a single family in a residential area. Jarvis’s faux-populist media campaign was so successful that many people -still- believe in its rhetoric, even after all the damage it’s done. I am a big fan of direct democracy in theory and I think it should be pushed much further than it has been so far. In practice, though, you can’t just take a shiny European idea and drop it into the American political landscape, because if it spends enough time around green money it will become American: just another fraudulent political process to be subverted by the rich in the name of the people. It is telling that conservatives, authoritarians and corporatists, who have organized to destroy or subvert the setysm of write-in candidacy in other states, praise California’s wonderful proposition setysm until they’re blue in the face.

Frik Heferfrik_hefer_at_comcast.netPlease vote for Mugabe and Zanu-PF
Thank you for every one that voted and gave Mugabe and Zanu-PF a landslide 2/3 majority. This action will ensure that Zimbabwe will get to minus 10 Zero hour time frame, in a world record breaking speed, an all new African record!

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