Today on Blogcritics
Home » Zimbabwe’s Madman, Witches, Prostitutes, and Two-headed Creatures

Zimbabwe’s Madman, Witches, Prostitutes, and Two-headed Creatures

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Once a breadbasket of the region and an example of economic prosperity in southern Africa, Zimbabwe has deteriorated into the continent’s poorhouse and is near a total collapse.

Over 80% of Zimbabweans are unemployed. It is estimated that over 3 million citizens, one fourth of the population, have left the country in recent years. For those who remained, life expectancy is 34 years for women and 37 years for men.  

Zimbabwe’s inflation in January 2008 stood at 100,580%, a new world record. For years, the country is experiencing chronic food and fuel shortages.

The economic collapse is a result of Robert Mugabe’s misrule and tyranny. “The seizure of commercial farms and the collapse of the rule of law have led to a dramatic slump in agricultural output, a sharp contraction in industry, and a flight of investors.” The Economist notes that Zimbabwe under Mugabe experienced “the most dramatic peacetime collapse of any country since Weimar Germany.” 

African countries are still reluctant to openly criticize Robert Mugabe, who is widely respected on the continent as a hero of the fight against colonialism. The German magazine Der Spiegel writes that “hardly any African politician ever so much as voices a word of criticism about Mugabe” and his current policies.

Mugabe fought against the British racist tyranny and led his country to independence in 1980. But over the years he replaced it with, arguably, even worse and definitely deadlier tyranny for his people.  

The majority of Zimbabweans today suffer because of Mugabe‘s history as a freedom fighter. Yes, he led the country to independence, did some great things in the past. He deserves a medal for this, not the immunity to inflict misery and pain on his own people today.

How far the respect for Mugabe goes in Africa shows an example from May 2007, when Zimbabwe was chosen by other African nations to head the United Nations’ commission on sustainable development and help the world meet the human needs of the present and prepare for the future. It didn’t matter to African leaders that Zimbabwe cannot meet its own basic human needs.  

On March 29, Zimbabwe will hold local, parliamentary, and presidential elections.

Robert Mugabe, who is in power since 1980, recently began his re-election campaign by calling his opponents “witches, prostitutes, charlatans, traitors, and two-headed creatures.” 

Analysts think that Mugabe, now 84 years old, could easily win another five-year term in office due to divisions in the opposition and an unfair political playing field, especially since he is using state funds and media to fuel his campaign.  

Two credible challengers running against Mugabe are Morgan Tsvangirai, one of the opposition leaders, and Simba Makoni, an independent candidate. Makoni, the former finance minister who was sacked by Mugabe after disagreements over the economy, is backed by many who until recently supported Mugabe. A fraction of the opposition also supports Makoni.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a coalition of civic groups involved in providing voter education and monitoring of the electoral environment before and after elections, has said that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission does not have the logistical capacity to run the multiple elections.  

It is possible that a week or so will pass before the election results are announced. ZimOnline writes that opposition parties and election observers “have in the past argued that delays in announcing poll winners allow time to tamper with results.” 

Last week, the Zimbabwean police was given instructions to use firearms against opposition activists if they start street protests or “Kenya-style riots” believing that the outcome of the elections was rigged. 

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum says that a “relentless wave of political violence over the past year, in which state security forces played a major role, had already tainted” the March 29 elections.

What will happen if Mugabe loses the elections but decides to steal the victory from the opposition?

The Economist notes that Mugabe is “certainly willing to resort to force when cornered.” After “the nakedly crooked” elections in 2002, Mugabe’s troops took to the streets to deter protests and hundreds of protesters ended up in hospitals after being beaten by the security forces.  

Will Zimbabwe go down the path of Kenya this time? Hopefully not. But many in Zimbabwe have nothing to lose and fighting for their vote and human dignity by any means should not come as a surprise.

Powered by

About Savo Heleta

  • Irene Wagner

    This isn’t making me feel any better about the United Nations.

    How far the respect for Mugabe goes in Africa shows an example from May 2007, when Zimbabwe was chosen by other African nations to head the United Nations’ commission on sustainable development and help the world meet the human needs of the present and prepare for the future. It didn’t matter to African leaders that Zimbabwe cannot meet its own basic human needs.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Fun quotes from Mugabe:

    “It may be necessary to use methods other than constitutional ones.”

    “Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy!”

    “Our votes must go together with our guns. After all, any vote we shall have, shall have been the product of the gun. The gun which produces the vote should remain its security officer – its guarantor. The people’s votes and the people’s guns are always inseparable twins.”

    “The land is ours. It’s not European and we have taken it, we have given it to the rightful people.”

    “We are no longer going to ask for the land, but we are going to take it without negotiating.”

    “The only white man you can trust is a dead white man.”

    “The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans.”

    “We don’t mind having sanctions banning us from Europe. We are not Europeans.”

    Swell guy!

  • STM

    I feel a civil war coming on there in the next decade.

    And yes, Mugabe will win the upcoming election.

    People are scared of him and his goons.

    They are even scared of casting a vote for someone else

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    I’m not sure who’s more radical: Mugabe, or Obama’s pastor.

    :-/

  • Zedd

    RJ,

    Most of your quotes from Mugabe make sense when you think of what Whites have done to Africa.

    Lets not get carried away.

    In other words, under the circumstance, yeah its reasonable to think that Whites are what he says they are. Don’t you think?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    “In other words, under the circumstance, yeah its reasonable to think that Whites are what he says they are. Don’t you think?”

    No.

  • Zedd

    RJ,

    Why not? Your response seems much too adamant. It doesn’t fit the discussion. Are you engaged in a topic of which you have no knowledge about again? Do you know anything about colonialism? Do you know anything about apartheid?

  • Zedd

    RJ,

    Let’s see, you would support an attack on an entire country because those people simply look like the people who bombed the twin towers. But you think that it is evil to evacuate people who have invaded your country and taken all of it’s resources AND mistreated you for decades, treating the entire inhabitants of your country worse than animals. Wanting those people to leave is bad but bombing Iraq is righteous?

    Please explain. You don’t have an answer do you because it makes no sense. Welcome to my universe.

    While I don’t like Mugabe, never have and don’t agree with his tactics, I also think that the West is ridiculously hypocritical, worse, to the extent of being sadistic because of the emotional torture that it dispenses all over the world, stealing wealth and terrorising those who most eloquently and unequivocally point out it’s flaws.

    The West has mastered the art of defining what perfect is (totally making it up) then chastising everyone who is most farthest away from it. They prevent those who question the West from approaching that perfection, so that they are justified in further punishing them. The leaders in Western nations justify sustaining this system by convincing themselves that without the charade, the entire planet will collapse so they lead their inhabitants lulling them with rhetoric about their rightness, dispensing just enough benevolence to those that they suppress to keep everyone quiet, feeling generous, better than and too kind.

    You may resume your life of whining….

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Zedd:

    I don’t think it’s acceptable to hate people because of their race. Apparently, you think this is acceptable in some circumstances.

    Fine. Vote Obama.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Zedd,

    Let’s talk just a bit about your world….

    I have yet to see the African nation run by blacks that runs without tribal violence or massive corruption. There is South Africa, with its high crime rate; there is Zimbabwe with its famines induced by a régime intent of dispossessing white landowners; there is Kenya with its tribal and religious violence; there is Nigeria, where thieves steal and keep the vast majority of the population in dire poverty; ditto the two Congos and just about every other black African state there is. To top it off, there are Liberia and Sierra Leone, founded by former slaves who are now grandees, which have both had murderous civil wars.

    Mind you, I’m not praising white colonialists or neo-colonialists. I’m the first to holler “YANKEE GO HOME!!” when it comes to my own country. I’ll grant you that neo-colonialist interference can be the cause of much evil that afflicts the African continent. I like these ass-holes as much as you do.

    But Zimbabwe? The country that used to export food to other African nations? Modern day post-apartheid South Africa? Liberia? Sierra Leone?

    Talk to me, Zedd. Explain to me how the white (or Jewish) devil is oppressing these countries. I’m curious to know….

  • Zedd

    Ruvy,

    You cant succeed if you cant participate in the market place. Some nations of the world are allowed to participate and others are not only ignored but they are completely shut out. Zimbabwe has been intentionally shunned. There was a discussion to destroy this nation because of Mugabe’s stance against the settlers.

    These farmers boldly and severely oppressed Blacks for decades. When liberation seemed to be taking place, Britain promised to subsidise these farmers until training could take place for Blacks so that they may establish solid commercial farms. Mugabe promised the people over and over again that they will regain the land and continue to feed the world. Britain pulled out midstream and the people who had fought for liberation in the bush, now middle aged, went ballistic, they started evacuating the farmers out themselves. Mugabe on the spot as a liberator and one who had made promises year after year about this transition taking place had to take a radical position and say “we want these White farmers out”. The West off course can’t stand for Whites to be in any position other than dictatorial (I suppose it diminishes the notion of White supremacy, who knows) so they demonize Zimbabwe and sanction them heavily. The country dies a slow and painful death and we all get to tisk, tisk at the Blacks in Africa.

    Does that help?

  • Zedd

    Ruvy,

    As to your other comments about the continent, you of all should understand that nation building is difficult business. Depending on the spin, you could ad Israel to the that list that you made above. Except Israel has been much more heavily subsidised and the ONLY nation with whom a pledge to support it is a prerequisite to political viability for candidates in most Western nations. Even with that level of inclusion and support there is still strife. Not surprisingly, it is the most European country in the region. Most White that is.

    But in terms of the challenges of nation building, Russia is an mad cesspool of corruption. The former Soviet states are awash in violence and disorder. Clinton went to Bosnia and ignored Rwanda, made a pear shaped attempted in Somalia while still giving billions to Israel and we now tisk tisk at the dark continent.

  • Zedd

    Not editing tonight Ruvy. Don’t get excited. I am aware that there are errors above.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Does that help?

    Actually Zedd, where Zimbabwe is concerned, it does – sorta. I honestly don’t remember. Was Zimbabwe being shut out of the market before the white farmers were being kicked out of their farms? Were they shut out of the market because during the “retraining” period that the Brits pulled out of? The Brits pulling out in the middle sounds like the shit they would pull….

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Zedd,

    “Nation-building” here has been corrupted by the Americans and their sick culture – but before they started screwing things up here, the secular socialists managed to create a racially divided country, a “hate success” attitude and a criminal class all by undermining the religious lives of the Sephardi and MizraHi Jews who immigrated here, fleeing Arab riots. They are now puling the same crap with the Ethiopian Jews who fled Christian persecution in Ethiopia.

    The book Children of the Kibbutz, published over fifty years ago about a left wing kibbutz in the early fifties documents this racist attitude fostered by the secular socialists (now know as the Meretz Party) in the attitude of the kids about the “new” (MizraHi) immigration…

  • Zedd

    Ruvy,

    The complete shunning happened when Mugabe started speaking out more provocatively against the settlers. Also I omitted to add that his views on gays got Zimbabwe in trouble as well. You have to understand African culture to understand what he was saying on that topic but the West disapproved and the rest is history.

    Again, I never liked the guy and from my understanding he weasled and perhaps killed his way into power, not a good guy as most people in power tend not to be (I suppose because they are power hungry).

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Thank you, Zedd.

    I think I see things in a bit of a different light.

    Mugabe could have possibly gotten round some of these problems, but his biggest one was that he did not have a product that the west couldn’t do without.

  • troll

    Zedd – do you see anything twisted in your use of the verb ‘evacuate’ in your comments above – ?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Zimbabwe holds “elections” …

  • REMF

    I think Mugabe shoulda beat Hagler.

  • http://www.excite.com AH

    Zimbabwe has descended into a cesspit since the white folks left:

    Zimbabwe’s economy lies in ruins with the world’s highest inflation, chronic food shortages and queues for bread as long as those of people voting in the country’s crucial election on Saturday.

    Below are some figures showing how the economy has declined and the difficulties suffered by ordinary Zimbabweans.

    In 1987 inflation averaged 11.9 percent. It surged to an official record of 100,586 percent in January 2008, but economic experts say the real rate is much higher.

    Average life expectancy dropped from 63 years in 1990 to 37.3 years in 2005, according to World Bank and U.N. figures.

    In 2007, Zimbabwe had an HIV prevalence of 15.6 percent among adults aged 15-49 years — the fourth-highest rate in the world. The United Nations Development Program says the epidemic causes the death of around 3,200 people per week. The population is 13 million.

    Zimbabwe’s mortality rate for children under five was 76 deaths out of every 1,000 in 1990. This increased to 105 in 2006.

    Zimbabwe’s Gross Domestic Product has contracted each year since 2000, the biggest decline in 2003 when it fell 10.4 percent. The IMF estimates that GDP will fall by 4.5 this year.

    Government spending as a percentage of GDP rose from 20.7 percent in 2002 to 53.5 percent in 2006, according to UBS data. The investment bank forecasts it will reach 66.7 percent in 2007. The rate in neighboring Zambia was 24.4 last year.

    Zimbabwe’s dollar is virtually worthless.

    The price of a loaf of bread on Saturday was about 6.6 million Zimbabwe dollars on the official market but as much as 15 million on the black market. In October last year bread cost 100,000 Zimbabwean dollars, in 2003 around 1,000 Zimbabwean dollars and in 1998 five Zimbabwean dollars.

  • STM

    Zedd: “Most of your quotes from Mugabe make sense when you think of what Whites have done to Africa.”

    Zedd, I appreciate many of your comments in relation to this issue, but in the case of Zimbabwe, it’s a crock.

    In terms of oppresion and mismanagement, Mugabe is far worse even than the racist government of Iam Smith.

    Simple if unpalatable truth: he turned the food bowl of Africa into the dust bowl of Africa, inherited a gem and turned it into a stone.

    The main reason: he doesn’t care about his own people. He cares about propping up his own cronies so that he can maintain his grip on power. The forced removal of white farmers is a classic example. Had they been given to the black Zimbabweans who had worked them all these years, they’d still be producing food.

    Instead, he gave them to his thugs and cronies, none of whom knew the first thing about farming, and ran them into the ground.

    Even other Africans concede that Mugabe is the perfect caricature of the old-style African dictator. Indeed, he has cast himself in that mold. And he’s a very brutal man.

    Anyone who looks at this in any other way is deluded.

  • STM

    I love this quote from above attributed to Mugabe: “The white man is not indigenous to Africa. Africa is for Africans. Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans.”

    Now square that up with the kind of race discrimination people of African origin (or any other origin apart from European) are battling against in Europe, and the protections they are given by the state in countries like Britain to ensure that they get a fair go.

    Here’s my view: if you are born in a place, and your family was born in a place and goes back generations, you ARE indigenous.

    That means that black Britons born in England, for instance, are English through and through. Luckily, the law says so as well and goes to great lengths to ensure that people aren’t discriminated against because of the colour of their skin.

    When countries like Zimbabwe start offering the kinds of protections that are offered to whites in South Africa (yes, they are), for instance, then I’ll believe in people like Mugabe.

    Until then, he’s just another tinpot dictator hanging on to tribal-like power. And it’s not just whites he’s trailed against, it’s other blacks who can see through his nonsense.

    Any white person who disagrees with him or his policies, of course, is racist – the label he gave to Australia for cancelling their planned cricket tour of Zimbabwe.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Mugabe begins rounding up opposition members and independent media:

    HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) — Zimbabwean government forces began cracking down on the main opposition party Thursday, raising fears of a political crisis, according to witnesses and an opposition spokesman.

    The forces raided at least two hotels in the capital, including one that houses foreign journalists, a witness said.

    Four journalists were taken away about 8:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. ET), he said. He said other journalists staying at the hotel were out on assignment, and he thought police might check their credentials when they returned.

    The Zimbabwean government has denied CNN and other international news organizations permission to enter the country to report on the elections.

    New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller confirmed that Barry Bearak, a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent based in Johannesburg, South Africa, was taken into custody.

    Tendai Biti, secretary-general for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said his party’s offices — in another Harare hotel — were also raided by Zimbabwean forces.

    Some of the rooms were ransacked, The Associated Press reported.

    “There’s a definite crackdown,” Biti said. No one was detained in that raid, he added.

    The action targeted “certain people … including myself,” Biti told the AP.

    “It is quite clear he has unleashed a war,” he said, referring to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

    The crackdown came hours after the government announced another delay in releasing some of last weekend’s election results, raising fears that Mugabe is trying to come up with a plan to remain in power. Many are predicting a runoff election.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I have a friend who is trying to get a business going in South Africa. He’s white, a native to the county, and has returned there because he loves the place (and apparently got sick of the Netherlands and its declining standards and kissing Moslem ass).

    I just hope, for his sake, if for nobody else’s, that this kind of political repression does not spread to South Africa….

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    More evidence that Mugabe is trying to steal the election by force:

    PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe was yesterday accused of planning a “war against the people” to reverse his election defeat as pressure grew for international intervention.
    Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, will todayseek to prove his claim that he took more than 50% of the vote by launching a fresh High Court bid for the presidential election results to be published after armed police initially prevented lawyers from entering the court.

    Yesterday, he said that Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party was mobilising war veterans and getting the central bank to print money in preparation for a violent second round of elections.

    “Zanu-PF is preparing a war against the people,” said Tsvangirai. “In the run-off, violence will be the weapon. It is therefore unfair and unreasonable for President Mugabe to call a run-off.”

    President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who is viewed as having influence over Mugabe, insisted the situation in Zimbabwe was “manageable” and appealed to the international community to wait for the full results before considering intervention.

    But Gordon Brown, who was with Mbeki at the Progressive Governance Conference in Watford, said international observers should be present if there was a run-off between Tsvangirai and Mugabe and that the results must be announced. “We are monitoring the situation closely,” he said. “I think the important thing is that the results have got to be published. They cannot be any longer delayed. They have got to be seen to be fair.”

    Brown’s call for international assistance is echoed by Peter Hain in an article for Scotland on Sunday. The former Cabinet minister calls on the international community to “stand rock solid” and tell Mugabe that his time is up.

    “After a colossal failure of diplomacy – for Britain, for South Africa, Europe, United Nations, Commonwealth – for everyone concerned, the international community must insist that the democratic verdict is upheld and that there is an orderly transfer of power, with Mugabe and his elite offered a safe passage if they wish.”

    The former Africa minister adds: “This is no time for diplomatic niceties or pretence that a re-run election could be a solution. Mugabe needs to be presented with the only language he has ever understood: an uncompromising insistence that he has no alternative.”

    The law requires a run-off within 21 days of the first round of elections. But diplomats in Harare and at the United Nations say Mugabe is planning a 90-day delay to give security forces time to clamp down.

    Veterans of the guerrilla war, who were used in the past to beat up opponents, held an intimidating march last week, while opposition party offices were raided and armed police in full riot gear arrested foreign journalists.

    Tsvangirai said the violence and intimidation would get worse and appealed to African leaders and the United Nations to intervene to “prevent chaos and dislocation”.