Heart of Darkness

Commenting on domestic politics has been such hard work lately — who’d have thought that people had such strong opinions? — that tonight we turn our attention to faraway Africa, where, they tell us, Zimbabwean pooh-bah Robert Mugabe has shown a rather mulish reluctance to abide by the results of recent elections. In a gracious gesture, however, he has now made it clear that he will gladly hand over the key to the executive washroom just as soon as a certain regional power, which has hitherto shown no interest whatsoever in the welfare of this bludgeoned nation, takes a more active role in the political process.

Meanwhile, if the disillusioned voters are bothered by all the beatings, arrests, suppression of dissent, expulsion of journalists, and other minor inconveniences they’ve had to put up with lately in the interest of civic tranquility, they have, of course, only themselves to blame:

Zimbabwe’s police chief, Augustine Chihuri said the opposition was the “main culprit” behind political violence and pledged to employ “all necessary force” ahead of the election.

It’s a good thing that the sovereignty of nations is agreed by all to be inviolable, because otherwise the UN or somebody might actually have to do something. And hey, don’t look at us; we’ve learned our lesson.

Read the story here.

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4 Comments

  1. the one eyed man says

    If you want to make the case that some regimes are so odious that they ought not to enjoy the protection of sovereignty, then it’s hard to find a better example than Zimbabwe (although Burma and North Korea fit the bill just as well).

    I met someone from South Africa recently who has spent a lot of time there. He had the same opinion as Mugabe: nothing short of death would remove him from power.

    Posted June 21, 2008 at 11:15 am | Permalink
  2. Malcolm says

    Hi Pete,

    Yes, that’s just the case I’d make; I’m glad you agree. I could name some other regimes too, including one that’s no longer around.

    Posted June 21, 2008 at 1:06 pm | Permalink
  3. I may be wrong but I thought there were rules in African politics that forbade the seated leadership from abiding with election results that differed with their wants and preferences…
    It seems they wish to emulate the admirable Nations of Myanmar, Pakistan, & the USA with creative notions of their various election’s openness to smarmy manipulations.

    Africa is rife with poor leadership, and sickening regimes galore…There are also the horrid health/economic conditions with scant infrastructure to address any of these or all the other problems so indemic to the continent. From AIDS to rampant nationalism and tribalism leading to slaughters with astounding rivers of bloodshed…YIKES! & their leadership tends to just be on point for the ill gotten gains they can reap… Kinda like our current leadership here…What is good for the US o’A is good for Africa too…They take the worst and ignore what it is that makes their own lands so promising…

    This goes Way back, before the days of Henry K. Even he was at a loss when asked about Africa then… and there has been little progress, save for the South African turn-around, anywhere. Slavery, deep set acceptence of superstition, misogeny, you name a backward state of being and they got it in spades…

    The rich nations of the world still try to reap what they can from Africa, as the Chinese are trying to grab up what oil reserves are to be had there, (and anywhere else they can )… Its still a grab-bag with little hope of being resolved anytime soon…

    Posted June 21, 2008 at 4:50 pm | Permalink
  4. Malcolm says

    Honestly, Pat, lumping the US and the Burmese junta together as related political systems is a bit much even for you, I should have thought. Yes, there have been some questionable elections in our lifetimes (I assume that you are referring to Kennedy’s victory in the 1960 contest allegedly having been the result of Richard Daley’s manipulation of the Cook County machine, and Lyndon Johnson’s control of some Texas precincts), but at least we are guaranteed a new roll of the dice every four years, and don’t have to rely on guns, or God, to dispose of our rulers.

    And as much as you loathe the current administration (and I am rarely inclined to speak favorably of it myself), as it happens George Bush is widely regarded as being more concerned with the welfare of Africa than any president in American history, for which he has received a good deal of praise from global activists such as Bono and Bob Geldof.

    “Got it in spades“, eh? Nice touch.

    Posted June 21, 2008 at 5:54 pm | Permalink