Tina K. Russell

July 2, 2008

And those wounds were caused by… whom?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — Tina Russell @ 3:28 am

African Union Calls for Settlement in Zimbabwe – NYTimes.com
The African Union on Tuesday urged the creation of a government of national unity in Zimbabwe to heal the nation’s deep political wounds after President Robert Mugabe’s triumph in a one-candidate runoff election widely condemned as a sham.

I’m too sleepy right now to write much, but I will say that I don’t think a Kenya-style unity government is the right option for this particular crisis. Remember, part of the reason it happened in Kenya was that we needed a solution–any solution–to stop the violence, which was completely out of control and perpetrated by and against the incumbent President Mwai Kibaki’s tribe, the Kikuyu. That is, the stolen election simply caused long-simmering tensions to erupt and an immediate solution was needed, even if it went to the distasteful length of allowing Kibaki to retain his illegitimately obtained seat.

In Zimbabwe, in contrast, there are two parties in this violence: Mugabe’s crew, consistently the perpetrator, and everybody else, consistently the victims. There is no compelling reason to reward Mugabe with legitimacy for beating and killing the opposition into submission. In Kenya, the violence was out of control. In Zimbabwe, the violence is controlled by one man: Mugabe. (I’m also uncertain that Mugabe would be willing to hand any real power to a Prime Minister Tsvangirai, or that the odious and continuous locking horns of Mugabe and Tsvangirai–or whatever bizarre, Hydra-like cabinet springs forth from lengthy discussions and dispute–would produce an effective government.)

I prefer Nicholas Kristof’s solution: we find some way to entice Mugabe to retire, quietly, with whatever shred of dignity he has remaining. Mugabe’s a small man, and people respond to incentives.

Op-Ed Columnist – If Only Mugabe Were White – Op-Ed – NYTimes.com
The solution is for leaders at the African Union summit this week to give Mr. Mugabe a clear choice.

One option would be for him to “retire” honorably — “for health reasons” after some face-saving claims of heart trouble — at a lovely estate in South Africa, taking top aides with him. He would be received respectfully and awarded a $5 million bank account to assure his comfort for the remainder of his days.

The other alternative is that he could dig in his heels and cling to power. African leaders should make clear that in that case, they will back an indictment of him and his aides in the International Criminal Court. Led by the Southern African Development Community, the world will also impose sanctions against Mr. Mugabe’s circle and cut off all military supplies and spare parts. Mozambique, South Africa and Congo will also cut off the electricity they provide to Zimbabwe.

The Chinese word for “crisis” is comprised of two characters: one meaning “danger,” and the other meaning “holy #@$! we’re all gonna die.” We shouldn’t let well-meaning idealism, or the spirit of coming together, obscure that Zimbabwe is the victim of Mugabe’s tyranny and that he is not likely to share power in actuality, whatever he accedes to in name.


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