Commonwealth should act on Mugabe’s ruthless rule

via Commonwealth’s member states should act on Robert Mugabe’s ruthless rule in Zimbabwe | Herald Sun  ALAN HOWE HERALD SUN

YOU could do worse than be born in Zimbabwe. But not much worse. Zimbabweans die young, the UN estimating their average lifespan about 46 years, among the lowest on earth.

The rate of HIV infection is astronomical and perhaps 84,000 of its 12 million people will die from the disease this year. Infant mortality is rampant.

President Robert Mugabe brazenly rigs election to stay in power while his henchmen bludgeon and murder political opponents.

The standard of living in this luckless southern African nation whose beautiful undulating countryside could almost be in Victoria’s northeast, has evaporated. According to the International Monetary Fund, gross annual domestic product per person has plunged to $559, the second lowest in the world.

It is a country blessed with extraordinary natural resources, and at least two of the world’s greatest tourist attractions – Victoria Falls and the nearby Hwange National Park.

But its hotels are mostly empty. It has gold and huge platinum reserves. The Marange diamond field, found seven years ago, is the biggest discovery anywhere on earth for a century – not that its diamonds do much to improve the lot of locals.

In June, former mines minister Edward Chindori Chininga published a report into the corruption and theft that accounts for the nation hardly benefiting from Marange. The following week he was dead in an inexplicable car accident. Unlikely car accidents are a common cause of death for outspoken Zimbabweans.

The country was long a Commonwealth of Nations member and English is widely spoken there. It is proud a cricketing nation with Test status, one of only 10.

So why is the international community – but particularly the Commonwealth – paralysed when it comes to dealing with this wicked one-man gerontocracy?

The Commonwealth has 54 member states, including powerful and influential nations such as India, Canada, UK and Australia – covering more than 20 per cent of the globe and accounting for a third of the world’s population.

A boastful, but contemptibly weak organisation, it meets every two years, at the Commonwealth Heads of Government conferences. Julia Gillard hosted the last, in Perth; another is due in Sri Lanka within weeks.

These are the most humiliating assemblies of world powers, held while real opportunities to help the poorest countries slide by with the canapes and security guards.

Having been suspended by the Commonwealth, Zimbabwe won’t be at Sri Lanka. But Swaziland, Mozambique, Zambia, Sierra Leone and Lesotho can attend. According to the UN, you won’t find poorer countries anywhere. But – like Zimbabwe – the fate of these nations won’t be discussed.

What there will be is the traditional restatement of perhaps the Commonwealth’s most important document, ironically called the Harare Declaration and formulated in that city in 1991.

From the chaos of Zimbabwe’s capital, the declaration perversely announced that the Commonwealth believes in peace, order and prosperity, individual liberty, raised living standards, human dignity, democracy and that intolerance and prejudice are unacceptable.

That’s a joke. Gay-hating Robert Mugabe doesn’t believe in any of that. But in that blighted country is a man who does, a fellow we would rather was its leader. A coincidence that, because his people also want him to lead them.

Indeed, a majority of them voted for him at last month’s elections. He is Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, a man who has been constantly harassed, arrested, falsely charged with treason, severely beaten and tortured by Mugabe’s “special” forces.

When the journalist Edward Chikombo got out pictures of Tsvangirai’s injuries – including a fractured skull – Chikombo was abducted and murdered. Two years later, Tsvangirai was seriously injured in a car crash that killed his wife Susan, but we know how unsafe that country’s roads are.

Despite all that, the grieving father of seven talks in the manner of Nelson Mandela: “Let bygones be bygones,” he said as he tried to unify the country after the farcically corrupted polls. “Let us embrace our opponents, even though some of them are unrepentant. In this Zimbabwe, there are no losers. There is space for everyone. I don’t want to become a prisoner of bitterness and despair.”

It’s time for a new Coalition of the Willing to bowl Bobby out. That could be done for a fraction of the cost of the failures in Afghanistan. I doubt you’d lose a life. Mugabe’s cowardly lackeys won’t fight an organised force.

So let’s hope the Prime Minister elected by Australia in 19 days is more than willing.

Alan Howe is Herald Sun executive editor

 

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 11
  • comment-avatar
    eztechplc 7 years ago

    Thanks Alan for the opinion. I must say it forms a good source of subject to debate in and out of Zimbabwe 5 to 8 years from now. There was a time when Zimbabwe became a subject of discussion by the commonwealth and similarly by SADC, its leaders would merely pull it out. Remember the commonwealth membership is voluntary, SADC membership, though critical, is voluntary. Can you then tell me how you would proceed if Zimbabwe leadership withdraws……none commonwealth members would not put any sanctions, thereby allowing the same leaders medical access, shopping, holidays in their countries. That would only purnish Zimbabweans not Zimbabwean leaders.

    A better solution resides in Zimbabwe and can easily be implemented by the Zimbabweans. One way is to drag the Makarauz, the Chidyausikus, (Such people or organs set up to moderate the powers of political leaders) family and relations into tasting the kind of life ordinary Zimbabweans live, they also need to burry as many of their families to taste the pain……terrorise them in those foreign schools they attend till they give up and return to put pressure on the dads and moms who are not doing the mandated jobs.

    The other solution is time…..Israel only realised after generations of captivity that they had to move from captivity. It was not easy, many people died of both hunger and Pharoah’s soldiers but they had sufferred enough to persevere. Zimbabwean are becoming ready, look at Syri lanka today, DRC, Egypt, etc they have been dossile and passive…..perhaps waiting for AU and Commonwealth to intervene until they realised that the solution lies in their countries within their hands.

    NOW IS THE TIME

  • comment-avatar
    Shame 7 years ago

    your article is a shame. why cross the pacific with a basket of wishes for a sovereign country?Isn,t that colonial imperialism? And why wish Morgan to rule Zimbabwe? Are you zimbabwean? Information on the ground is that he is not the one the Zimbabweans love. His own wife Elizabeth cares for another man,not your imposed wish? And did you say there is need for a coalition to unseat Bobby and nobody will do nothing about it at a 1/3 of the Afganistan cost? You folks and your war mongering imperialism.But this side of town your biggest problem is not Bobby. It is the folks.They love bobby, not this senseless unguided tomahawk missile.To get to bobby, you go past the folks. Now tough luck Mr Kangaroo.Smithy wasn’t lucky on that and you wont. Your envy of our diamonds will be your greatest punishment.We will whip you in the ass until you ask yourself why God only gave you kangaroos and no diamonds after so many years of opressing the indegene australian aborigines. By the way, I read this article which said Australia was a British penal island and anything on two legs with pink pigment and a long nose is the daughter or son of a criminal carted off by the Queen to rehabilitate. The fact that Zimbabweans speak English and play cricket does not make them an apendage of the criminal kingdom of Kangaroos. That was made loud and clear to you on 18 April 1980. You dare its soverenity, you dare its people to a fight.But this side of town mr kangaroo is not for long nosed boys with toys to come play hide and seek. We lost love for pink pigment and long noses long back, so there won’t be any geneva convention if anybody paratroops without invitation cards.

    • comment-avatar
      Zimbabwean 7 years ago

      Shame, is this your real name? The way you think is a real shame. One can only think that you are one of the very few who benefits out of Bobs rule, wake up and smell the coffee you fool, zimbabwe is in tatters and its people are suffering and still you sit talking about soverenity. Make way for a new generation, we are tired of dwelling on the 1980’s liberation, that was 33 years ago, lets move on. No one will take it away from you, don’t worry. Bob is a shame to his people and you are a shame for supporting a government that has destroyed this country, all in the name of filling your pockets, your judgement day is coming.

  • comment-avatar
    nesbert 7 years ago

    Mr Shame why are you emotional a t the above article. This white or black skin is neither here nor there. Mugabe should not see himself as the only one to rule Zimbabwe. What people are saying is even a sovereign state must uphold democracy and human rights. Don’t shoot the messenger.

  • comment-avatar
    Mukoma Fads 7 years ago

    Zimbabwe left that British club long ago, we don’t need it.

  • comment-avatar
    thamas munazvo 7 years ago

    Zanu inotya hondo. Soft spot. Makapinda panyanga nepfuti munofanira kubvapo nepfuti. Zimbabweans have tried to remove you through elections but you have taken them for a ride nekuita zvamunoda muchifunga kuti zvinopera zvakadaro. A reminder, Sadamm and Gadafi were doing the same to their own people but when an equally powerful force came we realized how weak these guys were. Hapachina imwe nzira yekubvisa Zanu kunze kwehondo moreover this party has been killing us for the past 33 yrs.

  • comment-avatar
    jv chin 7 years ago

    GUYS GUYS GUYS I WILL SAY THIS.IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO ARGUE WITH SOMEONE YOU CANNOT SEE.SOMEONE WHOSE IDENDITY NO ONE IS SURE OF…WORSE OF IT IS VERY DIFFICULT TO HEAR ARGUMENTS FROM THE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT NEUTRAL ..FROM THESE ARTICLES YOU CAN TELL THAT THIS ARTICLE IS FROM A FORMER ZIMBABWE WHITE FARMER WHO IS BITTER BECAUSE HE LOST HIS FARM THAT ARTICLE IS FROM SOMEONE WHO BENEFFITED FROM MUGABE LAND REDISTRIBUTION PROJECT(I LOVE TO CALL IT A PROJECT)THAT ARTICLE IS FROM MDC OR ZANU PF MEMBER…IN ORDER FOR ANYONE TO ARGUE BETTER YOU BETTER BE NEUTRAL..IF YOU MAKE A CLAIM SAY SAME FACTS TO SUPPORT YOUR CLAIM..ONLY FOOLS JUMP TO CONCLUTIONS WITHOUT ASKING QUESTIONS..I HOPE THAT IS CLEAR..

  • comment-avatar
    Sad Zimbo 7 years ago

    jv chin, thanks for writing your rubbish in capitals. Not!

    Here, let me clear things up for you since you’re clearly far too stupid to figure them out for yourself:

    “Alan Howe is executive editor and columnist with Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper. He was born in Farnborough, Hampshire, to Royal Air Force parents, but is proudly an Australian.”

    Bitter former Zimbabwean ex-farmer huh? Oh please! Take your prejudiced idiotic nonsense somewhere else, we don’t need your drivel amongst these debates.

  • comment-avatar
    jongwe power 7 years ago

    Alan wants another useless club of tax-squanderers to magically come to the rescue and wave the magic wand of whatever to fix things. No news today, eh?

  • comment-avatar
    Demba Temba 7 years ago

    There is no desire in Zimbabwe to join the Commonwealth, ever! Zimbabwe’s economy will grow under the hands of black people and those that do business with Zimbabwe will do so according to Zimbabwean terms. So far you have almost gone unscathed in all the wars you started. Zimbabwe is not as defenseless as you suppose. Let me inform you (even though you will not believe it): there is going to be one conflict you will trigger and it will change your world forever and you will know there is a God you can’t bribe with white skin. The day for that conflict is not far off because your cup of iniquity is running over and you have been in God’s death row for more than 5 decades. This could happen during your lifetime and I want you to remember your expressed opinions then…

  • comment-avatar
    Sad Zimbo 7 years ago

    @Demba Temba

    You fool, you can’t see that China is your new colonial master. Business on Zimbabwean terms? Don’t make me laugh, the country is being raped and pillaged by the Chinese.