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January 1, 2009
Zimbabwe crisis persists though absent from headlines

Recently, the humanitarian crisis in the African country of Zimbabwe was front-page news, with reports of widespread hunger and a growing cholera epidemic. That story has been pushed aside by other events in days since, but the crisis there has not eased — and the cholera death toll has now surpassed 1,600

Andrew Meldrum, a senior editor at GlobalPost, reported from Zimbabwe for more than 20 years and joins Martin Savidge to discuss the state of the country’s health sector and how the U.S. can respond to the crisis.

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Comments

3 comments

#3

Tim,

You simply dismiss my argument of the West’s true dislike of Mugabe based on his rejection of neoliberalism economic policies by calling it ‘absurd’ and not provide evidence to support it. Perhaps I would like to refer you to the implementation Mugabe made of IMF’s Structural Adjustment Programs during the early 1990s, which resulted in an awful economic meltdown much like today’s, and what happened after Mugabe rejected IMF’s SAP. Only does the West despite Mugabe’s stance on SAP, but the fact that Mugabe implemented restriction on foreign investment in the Zimbabwean economy i.e. requiring black Zimbabweans be the majority owners of any company operating in Zimbabwe, on top of nationalizing the mining industry, speaks volume to what the U.S. despises about Mugabe. Britain also hates Mugabe for this, but Britain also hates Mugabe for his land reform program as the land was taken from their white ‘kith and kin’ – the Rhodesians.

Your understanding of the sanctions shows a complete lack of knowledge of what sanctions are. Perhaps you need to read Bush’s ZDER Act of 2001 and the various sanctions Britain and EU imposed on Zimbabwe. Obviously you’re just regurgitating what you’ve read in the Western press about the sanctions, rather, why don’t you spend some time reading the sanctions themselves. Sanctions, among other things, include a cut-off to credit, borrowing, doing business with other countries (no U.S., Britain, or EU based companies are allowed to do business with Zimbabwe) – so stop reading me the b.s. the West is trying to feed us about how the sanctions only affect those who cooperate or support ZANU-PF. Since you claim the ‘sanctions are not the cause’ of Zimbabwe economy meltdown, provide your evidence to support this without dismissing it; otherwise I would assume you’re incapable of sticking to facts.

Again, I pose a ‘provocative question’ because unlike you, I’m willing to be open-minded and question everything – not just accept what one side tells me. Like before, you simply dismiss my question since it inconveniences your accepted views without questioning them. I really don’t care for either of these man -Mugabe and Tsvangirai – but what I care about are the facts, both pleasant and unpleasant. More importantly, you claimed my question is ‘without merit’ because you haven’t spent a single minute of thinking about the question. Please do your homework before dismissing anything contrary to your views. SADC’s ruling in November recommended both parties, ZANU-PF and MDC, SHARE the Home Ministry – a compromise Mugabe accepted, but Tsvangirai, like the little good pet he is, “consulted” with Britain and the U.S. ambassadors, then rejected. But like you say, SADC is impotent because it refuses to call for Mugabe’s removal like the West, so therefore whatever SADC rules is failure and irrelevancy as long as it wants both parties to govern together; only what your wonderful West says is important and true. I wonder why that is, hmmm? If Mugabe wasn’t so good at administering, perhaps we would’ve already seen his demise, but you won’t admit that because it’s too easy to just dismiss him as incompetent. You probably don’t even remember how the West used to praise him and shower him with medals as a ‘visionary’ leader who created the best education and healthcare system in Africa. Unlike you, I wish Tsvangirai was half as good as Mugabe as a politician, but unfortunately he is not and that is why the MDC under his leadership broke into two factions – I bet you didn’t know that.

Unlike you, I’ve been researching the Zimbabwe situation for over 6 months, so instead of calling me as someone who’s blinded by “colonial subterfuge, corporate exploitation, and race warfare”, perhaps you may need to study the situation scholarly like I do rather than reading couple of headlines from the BBC or the NYT. It seems that you prefer to dismiss everything that doesn’t confirm to your views, even if it provides you with context and complex understanding of the situation – something you can’t get from reading newspapers. Study the Lancaster Agreement, study the “land” question”, study IMF SAP, etc. then only will you understand the deeper issues here…or you can continue to argue things that are on the surface.

#2

The hypothesis that the West is conspiring with Tsvangirai in order to remove Mugabe merely because of his anti-neoliberal policies is absurd.
Why does no one mention the santions as a source of misery imposed by the West upon Zimbabwe? The santions are targeted at Mugabe and leadership cadre, they are not preventing food/medicine shipments. Zimbabwe is suffering from a broken economy, the santions are not the cause. Additionally, the sanctions are generally favorable to the alternative –military intervention.
Why does Tsvangirai not receive blame for not power-sharing? You pose a seemingly provocative question, but it is without merit. Tsvangirai has engaged in power-sharing, however negotiations broke down over the very important Home Ministry post. Mugabe was intransigent regarding this post, for reasons that are readily apparent: the Home Ministry controls the internal security forces that have beaten, tortured, or killed the opposition members as well as non-aligned civilians. Tsvangirai cannot accept a power-sharing agreement in which the opposition will be under constant threat of persecution.
Why does Tsvangirai prefer the advice of the US/Britain to that of African regional organizations? Thus far, the SADC has been impotent and South Africa deserves significant blame, for a largely failed regional response. The US/Britain have been vocal, active opponents of Mugabe and are therefor natural allies.
The crux of your argument is that this is a pro-Rhodesian conspiracy to overthrow black Zimbabwe. Your embrace of theories of colonial subterfuge, corporate exploitation, and race warfare may be blinding you from the obvious: Mugabe is not a competent leader. His failure as an administrator and political leader is manifest in the corruption, poverty, inflation, lack of public health, and widespread suffering of all Zimbabweans.

To be fair, the US/Britain cannot impose leadership upon Zimbabwe. Mugabe deserves credit for bringing the colonial-era to a close in his country of birth. But that does not make it his country to ruin.

#1

How come no one in the Western press mentions the crippling sanctions the U.S. (Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001), Britain, and EU put on Zimbabwe? It’s very convenient and in fashion in the West to blame everything on Mugabe, but how come no one in the West is willing to criticize Tsvangirai for refusing to share the Home Ministry post with ZANU-PF in order to implement the Global Political Agreement, signed by ZANU-PF and his MDC party in September, 2008, as called for by SADC? Why does Tsvangirai go for “advice” to the U.S. or Britain whenever African regional organizations recommend he work with Mugabe?

It sounds to me like the West’s interest is to use the sufferings of Zimbabweans in order to get rid of Mugabe’s anti-neoliberal economic policies, and return the land redistribution program back to pre-2000, all championed by the West and white-minority Rhodesians in Zimbabwe through the proxy use of Tsvangirai’s MDC, a party that was specifically created by white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe, the U.S. and Britain’s government in 2000 after Mugabe withdrew from IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program and started land reform program. It is becoming obvious to anyone who’s willing to look a little deeper that the West doesn’t give a damn about the sufferings of black Zimbabweans, but rather the small, white-minority Rhodesian’s economic and land interest, and Western corporation’s interest in Zimbabwe’s economy and mineral resources, all now shut out by Mugabe’s government in favor of black majority economic ownership and land reclamation from Rhodesian settlers. So Mr. Andrew, don’t try to pass off as someone who’s interested in human rights or democracy. Besides, Mugabe kicked out, so I don’t exactly expect you to be objective in ‘analyzing’ the situation in Zimbabwe.

Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if my comments all the sudden disappear:-)

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