Friday, June 24, 2005

BBC NEWS | Africa | Africa rejects action on Zimbabwe

I am very sure that I am missing some massive causal link here or maybe I'm simply stupid.

1. How does the ostensible reason behind a policy i.e. a crusade to cleanse urban areas overrunned with criminals by demolishing illegal and 'illegal' housing act as a legitimate excuse not to act for fear of violating the soveriegnity of a nation's internal decision.

Especially when the ostensible reason does not correlate with the realities on the ground i.e. a massive violation of human rights and an arbitary exercise of the state's power against its opponents (urban dwellers who refuse to vote Mugabe's way).

AU spokesman Desmond Orjiako told the BBC's Network Africa programme that "If the government that they elected say they are restoring order by their actions, I don't think it would be proper for us to go interfering in their internal legislation."

Well now, isn't it really funny how NO ONE with the exception of the AU (and specifically South Africa) actually believes that a) Mugabe has actually legitimately voted in. b) Even if he were 'legitimately' voted by the majority, it was nevertheless a void vote because of the level of violence, intimidation, vote buying and deliberate starvation of areas who would not vote for him.

2. The fact that there are problems in other parts of Africa i.e. Congo that the G8/West have ignored somehow makes it right not to intervene in Zimbabwe?

Taken from the BBC article, "South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has questioned why the West is so concerned by Zimbabwe but makes relatively little noise about other African countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, where some three million people died in a civil war, and where armed bands kill, rape and loot with impunity in some areas."

Hey, I didn't see them intervening in Sudan, Bush brokered the original North-South Peace Deal. Or yes, Congo, where various African nations fought other African nations in a bid to either control natural resources of to prevent others from controlling them (Rwanda was attempting to eradicate the people who instigated the genocide in their nation the first time). Ethopia and Eritria? I think it was pretty much a West brokered peace as well.

Alright, snideness aside, is there method to the seeming madness of the AU. One explaination is that the AU (especially after their experiences in Congo and well most of their history) have decided that it's not worth attempting to interfer in each others politics for fear of rousing ancient divisions. And admittedly, the dark continent has (hopefully finally) lost their appetite for war. After all, it may not be as simple a matter as it is commonly perceived for South Africa to crook its finger and Mugabe crumbling over. In which case, it would simply lead to intransigence and further isolation leading to a scenario where no one has any capabilities short of actual physical force to transform the system.

Except that it might actually be that simply. The AU's policy of active engagement has not reaped any dividents. Mugabe seems to just get worse, the situation on the grounds just seems to get poorer by the day. People are starving in greater numbers because he declared that the food emergency/famine was over and didn't need any more food aid (despite massive protestations from food aid agencies). And hey I'm pretty sure it was just a coincidence that it was a way of bolstering his support and killing the opposition by controlling all remaining food. Children are dying in the street because his latest policy has destroyed their homes or worse, were themselves crushed in those houses during demolition.

Maybe all the Mugabe fears is losing power and being at the mercy of his opponents. In which case, South Africa could quietly persuade him to step down (and their contribution of 50% of Zimbabwe's energy supply is a huge bargaining chip) in return for asylum.

Well at least the UN is finally doing something by sending a special envoy to investigate. Maybe the Security Council will do their part to help.



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