Political Cartoon From The Economist
To see a country strangled in slow motion is a horrible thing to witness. However the citizens of Zimbabwe have been seeing that very thing up close as their loathsome leader, Robert Mugabe, has his hands around the political levers and drains the nation of vitality year after year.
With a vote to take place on Saturday there is no doubt that corruption will again be the only victor in Zimbabwe.
Two great articles were published today highlighting the hopes and fears of a nation being run by an 84-year-old tyrant.
As The Financial Times reports there is hope, slim though it may be, that election monitors might prevent what Mugabe excels at…stealing elections.
There is a heavy burden therefore on the shoulders of the Southern African Development Community and the African Union, the only outside organisations permitted to monitor the vote. Controversially, both endorsed Mr Mugabe’s previous election wins. But having stood firm so recently in the face of election fraud in Kenya, and in the AU’s case having played a prominent role in finding a way out of the subsequent crisis, there is pressure to apply the same standards. Moreover, to save Zimbabwe from further ruin, whoever wins will have to go cap in hand to foreign donors for a rescue package.
The Los Angeles Times writes a powerful and well worded piece about the destructive legacy of Robert Mugabe.
The country’s free-fall into failed statehood began in earnest in 2000. That was when the electorate tired of him and his increasingly imperious one-party rule and voted down his attempt to do away with term limits so that he could continue as president. Mugabe, the onetime guerrilla leader who now saw himself as liberator of the country, reacted with astonishing venom. He turned on the newly emboldened black opposition, harassing, imprisoning and torturing their supporters. And those white commercial farmers he’d invited to remain in 1980 he threw off the land, distributing their farms among his cronies, which helped precipitate the economic catastrophe because few of them had the inclination or technical know-how to farm.
Mugabe became an African Ahab, Melville’s “monomaniacal commander,” marinating in a toxic brew of hate and denial as he plunged his ship of state down into the dark vortex, railing all the while from the quarterdeck against the great white whale. He blamed Zimbabwe’s plunge on the largely symbolic sanctions imposed by the West. And he refused to negotiate with his own, overwhelmingly black, opposition, dismissing them as lackeys of Britain, the former colonial power.