Tuesday, April 15, 2003
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TOTALITARIANISM IN ZIMBABWE: Last month
TOTALITARIANISM IN ZIMBABWE: Last month I blogged about authoritarian crackdowns during Gulf War II. Since then, Mickey Kaus has been all over Casto's crackdown in Cuba (as well as what happens when Lennonist contemplate schmoozing with Leninists). However, this New York Times story suggests that Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe is rapidly catching up to Castro or Hussein in terms of totalitarianism:
"Human rights groups report a violent crackdown by President Mugabe against the opposition that forced nearly 1,000 people to flee their homes. An opposition representative in the Zimbabwean Parliament arrives in Johannesburg showing reporters how he was tortured by Zimbabwean security agents with electric shock. Three Zimbabwean women who had participated in a rally here against President Mugabe report they were later raped by Zimbabwean agents operating in South Africa. A popular Zimbabwean cricket player flees to South Africa saying he received numerous death threats after wearing a black armband — a symbol of mourning for what he considered the death of democracy in his homeland."
The focus of the Times story is actually on Mugabe's creation of a corps of young loyalist thugs who benefit from the current system:
"The young men, who range in age from 18 to 22, explained that they are runaways from Zimbabwe's National Youth Service, whose graduates are known and feared as the "green bombers," a nickname that comes from the group's military-style uniforms and capacity for devastation.
Human rights groups and Western diplomats accuse President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe of turning the recruits into violent thugs and unleashing them on political opponents. President Mugabe, who has governed since the end of white rule in 1980, dismisses the accusations. He has said that he established the youth league three years ago as a kind of poor boys' Peace Corps, enlisting his country's sizable 18-and-under population for desperately needed community service projects.
In an interview today, Makhosi Ngusanya, 19, said he answered President Mugabe's call to service when his teachers filled his head with visions of a noble way out of poverty.
'They told us that if we became good green bombers then they would make us soldiers and give us land,' Mr. Ngusanya said. 'But they didn't give us anything. And all they taught us was to kill.'"
Is the Bush administration looking the other way, or rather, looking at Syria? Not exactly. This Australian report suggests the administration is trying a "North Korea" strategy of having Zimbabwe's neighbors take the lead, quoting a "senior official" in the State Department as follows:
"What we're telling them is there has to be a transitional government in Zimbabwe that leads to a free and fair, internationally supervised election.... That is the goal. He stole the last one, we can't let that happen again.... It has to be internationally supervised, open, transparent with an electoral commission that works..... "
Will this strategy work? The U.S. official spins a positive reaction, saying: "The neighbourhood is starting to realise that there is a downside to giving aid and protection to Comrade Bob," the official said, using a derogatory nickname for Mugabe.... There is stuff happening, there is stuff happening behind the scenes."
Well, maybe. The Times story makes it clear that South African President Thabo Mbeki is reluctant to criticize a fellow African leader, especially in response to Anglosphere pressure. So does this story on negotiations within the Commonwealth on Zimbabwe:
"Zimbabwe has failed to respond to appeals for reform from the Commonwealth and its situation has worsened since suspension from the group of mainly ex-British colonies, according to a report leaked today.
'Overall the general political, economic and social situation in Zimbabwe has deteriorated since March 2002,' said an internal report by Don McKinnon, the Commonwealth Secretary-General, obtained and published by Britain's opposition Conservative Party....
The Commonwealth split over Zimbabwe has appeared to pit white nations against African and Asian ones in the seven-decade-old group which joins almost one third of the world's countries with 1,7 billion people.
On one side, African heavyweights South Africa and Nigeria, for example, believe Mugabe's government has recorded enough progress over the past year in land reform, human rights and democracy to warrant re-admission to the Commonwealth.
But Mugabe's opponents such as Australia say that stance is a betrayal of Commonwealth principles, pointing to the treason trial of opposition figures and harsh media and security laws." (emphasis added)
Developing... and not in a good way.posted by Dan on 04.15.03 at 01:50 PM
I think Mr Mugabe is forgeting about the principle of separation of powers how will he rule his country & call it democratic when he does not even use the basic princples of a democratic society he just following in the foot steps of all the African leaders that is why other continents view Africa as a dark continent because of people like him .posted by: NEO on 04.15.03 at 01:50 PM [permalink]
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