February 10, 2003


Mugabe outfoxes his critics: Mugabe has played his cards skilfully on the world stage (Joseph Winter, 10 February, 2003, BBC News Online)
[M]r Mugabe's government has committed its worst human rights abuse during this period - the politicisation of food aid at a time when half the population is facing starvation.

Those queuing to receive hand-outs across the country must produce membership cards of Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

Opposition supporters are told to "get food from Tony Blair". [...]

Mr Mugabe has cleverly turned the old colonial trick of divide and rule to his advantage within international bodies.

He has exploited the long-standing diplomatic rivalry between France and the UK to get an invitation to the Franco-African summit, conveniently scheduled for the day after the 12-month EU travel ban expires.

And key African powers Nigeria and South Africa are lobbying on his behalf within the Commonwealth.

"France has a long history of associating with African dictatorships," Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) foreign affairs spokesman Moses Mzila Ndlovu said.

While Nigeria and South Africa seem to have accepted Mr Mugabe's argument that he is still fighting colonialism.

Is the tyranny of Mr. Mugabe and the starving of his people less important to us because the parties are black? That certainly would seem to be the case as the American government remains relatively silent about this and leaves our friend Tony Blair twisting in the wind. Here's an idea for Republicans: want blacks to give the Party a second look? Pretend Africans deserve decent lives too. Posted by Orrin Judd at February 10, 2003 7:01 PM

I guess the only excuse here is rather craven: they'd be accused of racism because Mugabe is black and a big part of his program is throwing white land owners off their land. I would think that that tactic has some appeal to many blacks in this country given the amount of attention reparations has received.

I guess you could also say if Mugabe is not trafficking in WMDs or supporting terrorists groups there is little to warrant our attention. Other than wholesale slaughter, ugly racism and a despicable regime fronted by a dictator, but, hey, who's counting?

Posted by: Buttercup at February 11, 2003 9:12 AM

Mr. Judd;

It's not so clear to me that it's a win for the Republicans to tangle with Mugabe. The American black leadership is quite cozy with the thugs of Africa. Perhaps it might split the leadership from its followers but it would be very risky.

Posted by: Annoying Old Guy at February 11, 2003 9:17 AM


The heck with the GOP: what about the Zimbabwens?

Posted by: oj at February 11, 2003 5:06 PM

We could start with baby steps. I was astonished to learn yesterday that back in December the NY Times editorially endorsed bringing back DDT to eradicate malaria in Africa.

About time and past time, with 50 million (more or less) sacrified to the environmentalists. You can't eat if you're dead.

Posted by: Harry at February 11, 2003 5:08 PM

We have already showed up rhetorically - anyone remember Powell at the "World Conference for Sustainable Development" criticizing "regimes that lack respect for property rights and human rights."? (It was a great moment - when the crowd booed him offstage for daring to suggest that a guy like Mugabe might be part of Africa's problems, the whole conference lost all credibility and was never heard from again.)

Of course it would be nice to do more, but as Buttercup points out Mugabe may be a threat to his own people, but he's not a threat to us.

Posted by: ralph phelan at February 12, 2003 11:31 AM