Thursday, November 23, 2017

Good riddance to utter rubbish

Zimbabwe’s brutal dictator is finally gone. This is good news the world can be very glad of, though it was far too long in coming. Now, of course, will be the waiting to see if democracy finally returns to that shattered nation.

Back in 2008, I said:
“I’m going to say something that most people won’t say, but know is true: Zimbabwe’s brutal dictator Robert Mugabe will only end Zimbabwe’s suffering by dying or being driven from office. It’s now abundantly clear, as I said last April, that he will never give up power willingly.”
This wasn’t brilliance on my part—unless stating the only possible conclusion is “brilliant”. After years and years of rigged “elections”, brutal reprisals against “enemies” and opponents, and all sorts of repression and kleptocracy, it was self-evident that he’d have to be forced out. And that’s exactly what happened.

Any time a brutal dictator is forced out, it’s good news. But whether the story has a happy ending or not depends entirely on what happens next. A country can emerge from repression and oppression only to slide back into it, Russia and Cambodia, for example. Will that be Zimbabwe’s fate, too?

The country’s presumptive new leader, Emmerson Mnangagwa, arrived home to cheers. That’s good—but he WAS a confidante of Mugabe’s, and his hands are hardly clean. Will he give up power in free and fair elections, if they’re held and he loses?

New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister, Winston Peters, said: “This moment will be seen as a critical point in the history of Zimbabwe. The Zimbabwean people have voiced their support for change in a peaceful way.” I agree with him, and with the statement that “New Zealand supports the efforts of the Zimbabwean people to uphold democracy and to return to a prosperous and vibrant country free of oppression.” But the international coalition that opposed the Mugabe dictatorship, something that obviously included New Zealand, couldn’t help bring about change. Can we do anything to help it along?

Right now, we should be glad that a brutal dictator is gone. Let the people of Zimbabwe enjoy their liberation. But the world must be ready to help them keep oppression from ever returning.

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