….suffer what they must?

“When a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

Every time I read a story about Zimbabwe (or Rhodesia as I grew accustomed to calling it), these immortal words from the American Declaration of Independence reverberate in my ears. This morning, Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga called for a regime change in Zimbabwe. This is the sign that the writing is already on the wall for Zimbabwean strongman Robert Mugabe.

2008 is the year everything changed in Zimbabwe. The first round of Presidential elections gave 5% lead to the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. A long-drawn dispute over a run-off election ensued—with the opposition claiming that violence has been enacted upon their party members. This led to Tsvangirai’s withdrawal from the ballot, international condemnation of the one-party run-off election and subsequent power-sharing agreement brokered by outgoing South African President Mbeki.

Mr. Mbeki’s optimism towards the agreement is not shared by me. Instead of unifying the trouble nation, it tried to create the body politic out of two irreconcilable ideologies. The power-sharing plan failed in October and Zimbabwe is found itself on the square one once again.

On the UNSC floor, we listened to the Zimbabwean government—nay, the Mugabe government (for it will be injudicious to refer to a despotic few as a representative government of a nation). Mugabe and his ambassadors asserted that Zimbabwe is not a threat to other countries. Yes, it may be too failed a state to be a danger to the international community, but it still poses a danger to its own people.

The international community have tried both sanctions and negotiations on Zimbabwe. Tackling the situation seriously, the British government removed Mugabe’s knighthood. Needless to say, none worked. Now, Zimbabwe is mired in its worst humanitarian disaster since the independence—it is finally the time to act.

The Mugabe government is the greatest obstacle between the aid and Zimbabweans. When the United Nation Security Council decided to take action on Zimbabwe, Russia, China and South Africa wanted more negotiations. Well, three months and a handful of futile negotiations later, Zimbabwe has taken its final calamitous journey towards the failed statehood.

The main argument against the international intervention in Zimbabwe concerns the blotched US intervention in Somalia, which left the latter as a failed state and a breeding ground for the international terrorism. In comparison, however, Zimbabwe is very near to being a failed state. If it is not already a good reason for the West, the UN or the AU to intervene, the prospect that we should be facing the greatest humanitarian disaster in decades is an irrefutable one.

The intervention in Zimbabwe doesn’t mean a full scale war. It means a surgical strike to remove Mugabe and his cronies from the power. After the disputed elections and current crisis, the morale and loyalties of Zimbabwe’s 60,000 member army are low. So, if we act now, we can easily contain the situation before the New Year comes.

In 1979, Mugabe came to power in a coup supported by the international community, because it overthrew the white-supremacist government of Ian Smith. He was hailed as a liberator. Thirty years on, the title ‘liberator’ has been supplanted on his resume by ‘tyrant’ ‘murderer’ and ‘racist despot’–the words used thirty years ago to describe Ian Smith.

The story is ironic, as well as tragic. The fact that the  world let this to happen twice in the same country over a lifespan of a generation is more heartbreaking. We failed the Zimbabweans—we failed them repeatedly over the last few years. By our silence, we sinned—we lowered ourselves to Mugabe’s levels. It is now the time to repent and act. Twelve million Zimbabweans wait for us.

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Comments
One Response to “….suffer what they must?”
  1. Jane Kamau says:

    Throughout the African people’s history of fighting for liberation and human dignity, each gain and breakthrough we have made was mainly due to our ability to overcome our enemy’s overt brutality, deceit and manipulation.Because the colonialists and imperialists have actively engaged in both our physical and mental oppression, the web of deception created by their Media and networks is a crucial and deadly weapon .

    The manner in which the European and British media have reported how cholera is spreading in Zimbabwe not only reveals they enjoy watching a people whom they cannot intimidate and control suffer, but even, more importantly, it is clearly a masquerade by supposedly compassionate human beings who have nothing to do with the problem.

    The Zimbabwean Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa, and his staff deserve ultimate praise, not only for their tireless efforts to maintain Zimbabwe’s broken health infrastructure, but for having the courage and integrity to inform the world that the sanctions — and not negligence or bad governance — are the root cause for problems with the country’s health delivery system.

    While the cholera problem is tragic and deserves our immediate attention, the British government and its supporters (raila Odinga and Co), obsessed with illegal regime change in Zimbabwe, should be the last ones allowed to pass moral judgment on how President Mugabe and Zanu-PF deal with this matter.

    Africans generally deplore what is going on in Zimbabwe. However, students of African history are equally aware that the seed of the crisis in Zimbabwe was planted by the British. Just as they equally know that when it comes to African affairs, the EU, Britain and the US has no credibility. Their sordid record in Rwanda, Kenya, the Congo, Angola and Namibia completely disqualify them to lecture African leaders on what is good for them.

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