Wednesday, March 14, 2007
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Nothing to do but scream?
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has been diagnosed with a cracked skull from a government beating, according to his spokesman. According to the Washington Post's Craig Timberg, this might be the trigger that actually unifies Zimbabwe's opposition movement:
Two harrowing days in police custody have left Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai with serious physical injuries but also renewed standing as head of an anti-government movement that is showing more energy than it has in years....The problem is that a unified opposition will be insufficient for Mugabe's government to fall. The regime has repeatedly displayed a willingness to use its coercive apparatus to maintain power -- a unified opposition will have little effect on that apparatus so long as they are willing to kill.
There need to be members of the ZANU-PF government who are willing to turn their back on Mugabe -- and that will not happen until Zimbabwe's neighbors demonstrate a willingness to ostracize the country and its leadership.
So why don't they? Alec Russell has an excellent analysis of the regional situation in the Financial Times:
Just two days before Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested, the Zimbabwean opposition leader delivered a trenchant ultimatum to the region’s leaders over their policy of “quiet diplomacy” towards President Robert Mugabe.The probability of joint SADC action is low. This leads Fletcher student Drew Bennett to despair:
I was in Zimbabwe a little less than a year ago and saw first hand that the political and economic elite in Zimbabwe, though a miniscule cabal, managed their portfolios just fine in a surreal economy dominated by the black market. Clearly, there are ways around sanctions when the international community has abandoned you.So, to review -- a unifiying opposition, but little effect on government power without regional action, which is highly unlikely.
Developing.... in a very uncertain way.
President Robert Mugabe on Thursday told Western countries to "go hang" after international outrage over charges his government assaulted the main opposition leader in police detention.
posted by Dan on 03.14.07 at 09:18 AM
Mbeki won't do anything because,
1. ANC/revolutionary identity/nostalgia with Mugabe,
2. South Africa is making a mint supplying Zimbabwe's food and energy, enhanced by the crisis.
The idea they fear seeming hegemonous (word?) is ridiculous, though that might be chaff they are feeding reporters.
Article doesn't mention the bigger crisis for Mugabe. Last week his own party, unprecedently, expressed opposition to extending his presidency to 2010 from 2008, or him running again for a six year presidency in 2008.
The especially brutal attack may well be a message to dissidents in his own party.posted by: Karl on 03.14.07 at 09:18 AM [permalink]
What are the respectable exit options of Mr. Mugabe? None.
what those of us outside of Zimbabwe can do other than scream?
Well, I remember when it was still Rhodesia, the country's government was condemned and shamed in all international fori. There was a boycott and talk of an intervention force. It worked. Maybe the international community can talk to Mr Mugabe and make him realize the error of his ways and convince him to return power to Mr Smith.posted by: jaim klein on 03.14.07 at 09:18 AM [permalink]
very sad.posted by: vocab on 03.14.07 at 09:18 AM [permalink]
Even at his worst Ian Smith was nothing like this. As far as an exit strategy, Mad Bobby has been offered the opportunity to retire in honor to life with his teenage girlfriend, but has declined. There is no assurance that removal of Mugabe will improve the situation much. His cronies at ZANU-PF are just about as bad as the old monster himself. M'beki is reluctant to act against Zim in large part because he is facing determined popular protests demanding that Mugabe's expropriation policies be instituted in SA. To many of SA's poor, Mugabe is still a revolutionary hero.
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