There are few things that make me as angry as the situation in Zimbabwe. I read this morning that 60 or so women and children have been removed from the opposition party headquarters for “hygiene reasons”. They were hiding there for fear of beatings, arrest or worse. Meanwhile Morgan Tsvangirai has taken refuge in the Dutch embassy following the announcement that he has pulled out of the election on the grounds that it will be a non-election.
He is right. Not only will it be a non-election, it will cause huge suffering, as we have seen already. Thousands of people have been beaten and harassed. More than 200,000 have lost their homes. Food aid has been snatched and distributed to supporters of Mugabe. A run-off would have amplified these problems and ended with more deaths and beatings. Mugabe will stop at nothing to keep his grip on power, to continue to destroy what was once one of the most prosperous and happy countries in Africa.
What amazes and angers me almost as much as Mugabe (and by the way, is total dictatorship the secret to not ageing? How young does he look? Or has he had a series of clones produced that he controls with a remote?) is the fact that no one seems willing or able to speak out against him. I suppose nothing the “imperialist west” does will make any difference, although maybe cancelling the upcoming cricket tour would annoy him. But his African neighbours ought to do something, especially South Africa. Why the silence? Do they really want a crippled Zimbabwe on their doorstep? Or are they too scared of being rounded up for hygiene reasons to speak out?
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2008