Friday, 12 December 2008

Friday conundrum

It's not exactly news that things are bad in Zimbabwe at the moment. People are dying from hunger or disease and all help is refused at the border because Mugabe fears he'll be removed from power under the guise of humanitarian aid. The land reform legislation (forcing all but a few white farmers off their land) has made sure that the food production has grinded to a screaching halt. Originally intended to even the economic imbalance that was (among other things) the result of apartheid rule, these controversial measures brought famine and disease back to Zimbabwe, where an ever more delusional dictator refuses to let go of the reins.

As we speak the Cholera epidemic is quickly spiraling out of control and the call for action is becoming louder with every cry. Since it is highly unlikely that Robert Mugabe will resign (he is an old school despot, who is empire of his own imaginary world where problems will disappear if you just denounce them, cover your ears and scream;"LALALA SHUT UP LALALA I DON'T WANT TO HEAR IT LALALA" at the top of your lungs. And maybe shoot bearers of bad news in the face), the inevitable"I" word has come up, "intervention".

The international community is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Past experiences with interventions have been messy at best, but since the Rwandan egg is still on our collective faces we can hardly stand idly by. There is no doubt that Robert Mugabe is a loathsome and evil wretch who is running Zimbabwe into the ground, but what (realistically) are our options as outsiders?
  • Scenario one: we send in troops to remove him from office and put Morgan Tsvangirai (the opposition leader who presumably should have won the recent and higly suspect "democratic" elections) in charge.

  • Scenario two: we take him out plain and simple. Just pay some sleazy hitman a few bucks, put a bullet in his head and never speak of it again. The Russians can probably help with this option...

  • Scenario three: we do nothing. I mean, we apply political pressure and try to persuade him to resign (same thing really).
Since all three options have a reasonable expectation of resulting in civil war, I'm withholding judgement on this one for now, but someone needs to get on this pronto! Or my Kruger tourguide will have been right, when he said: "Jesses, Zim es fucked hey".
For more information on Zimbabwe (and the current crisis) you can click on the links below, or read Peter Godwin's fantastic novels "Mukiwa" and "When a crocodile eats the sun".

http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12780907

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article5321378.ece

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