Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Zimbabwe’s hell

When I heard that Zimbabwe was having another “election”, I wondered why they bothered. “No matter what the results are,” I said at the time, “Mugabe will never give up power.”

It’s looking like I’m being proven correct. Amid charges of voting fraud, the slowly arriving results have been showing the country’s dictator, Robert Mugabe, remaining in the lead. I’m certain that he will be announced as the “winner” of the election, no matter who really won. I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

Zimbabwe, as has been pointed out many times, was once the breadbasket of Africa, and now it’s a basket case, thanks to Mugabe’s brutal rule. There can be no change until he’s gone. But no one in the West has been willing to do much to force him out, and other African leaders have given him a free pass to continue.

So Mugabe will never leave office willingly. He’s an increasingly elderly man, with fewer and fewer days ahead of him. Hopefully, he’ll die soon from old age. However, I’d expect that his death will more likely come from violence, either assassination or through revolt. Desperate people with no other option to turn to will likely take the most desperate path. Again, I hope I’m wrong, but I doubt it.

And following that, the people of Zimbabwe will continue to suffer amid the chaos following the dictator’s demise. Will the West step in and help Zimbabwe rebuild what Mugabe has destroyed—including democracy—or will it leave the people to suffer even more? If the past is any indicator, they’ll continue to ignore Zimbabwe. I hope I’m wrong about that, too. But I doubt it.

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