Africa

Mugabe: Zimbabwe is a "laughing stock"

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In a rare display of honesty, Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe has acknowledged that his "redistribution" of white-owned farms (which included giving land and equipment to thousands of people who hadn't a clue how to farm) has been a disaster, and that it has turned his country into a "laughing stock." But, according to Mugabe, it's still not his fault. The Telegraph reports:

The malnutrition that afflicts millions of Zimbabweans has reduced the country to a "laughing stock", President Robert Mugabe has admitted. Distributing equipment to black farmers resettled on land seized from white owners, he said: "We have become the laughing stock because of hunger. We all need to eat, whether you are Zanu-PF or MDC. Let's unite."

Since Mr Mugabe began confiscating farms Zimbabwe has gone from being an agricultural exporter to a country where millions need food aid. He blames supposed Western sabotage for the situation, rather than his own actions.

Full story here.

Last year, Jens F. Laurson and George A. Pieler made the moral case for ending foreign aid to African dictatorships. As they point out, Robert Mugabe "takes the cash and blames the West, trashing the human rights of both large landowners and defenseless slumdwellers in Harare."

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  1. Wait… someone does something harmful, realizes the mistake, and then blames someone else for it anyway? Sounds like my wife.

  2. Sounds like a dictator that we need replace by force and implement democracy in his place.

    That’s our foreign policy now, right?

  3. Marcvs, they’d need to discover oil there first. Also, it would help if Mugabe shouted “death to Israel” or some such.

  4. Baked penguin:

    I also heard it from infallible sources that Mugabe has secretly aquired nuclear materials with all the aid money he has diverted.

  5. This unity language is odd for Mugabe. He’s been calling the opposition traitors for years. Like many such leaders, he’s made vigilance against “the enemy within” the basis for much of his political position.

    Maybe this is wishful thinking, but it’s possible that this indicates that Mugabe senses his support slipping.

  6. gaijin, That settles it. We can’t afford to wait for sanctions to work.

  7. joe – you still have your “troll” name on, but yes, it does seem a new tack for him to take.

    It may have something to do with the fact Mugabe is currently trying to take 51% of foreign businesses. So he might indeed be trying to shift blame to outside sources in order to shore up support at home.

    In the article I linked to, the MDC (opposition to Mugabe) walked out on the vote to seize foreign owned businesses.

    “We see it as a strategy to amass wealth by the ruling elite, and nothing to do with the empowerment of people,” MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told the BBC News website.

    Whatever disagreements I have with Objectivism, it’s as if Mugabe read Atlas Shrugged and thought “wow, the government guys here are really on to something.”

  8. Wait… someone does something harmful, realizes the mistake, and then blames someone else for it anyway? Sounds like my wife.

    Welcome to marriage, Kool.

    I got in trouble when my wife sanded through the power cable of my brand new belt sander. I got in trouble. Marinate on that for a while.

    But yeah, Zimbabwe. Laughing stock. And that country better not get one red cent of my tax dollars.

  9. Whatever disagreements I have with Objectivism, it’s as if Mugabe read Atlas Shrugged and thought “wow, the government guys here are really on to something.”

    BakedPenguin wins the thread!

  10. I think the linked analysis of the aid question misses one critical piece of the equation, which I first saw persuasively argued by Robert Kaplan:

    The knowledge that aid will be forthcoming emboldens dictators to take courses of action that are economically destructive but politically advantageous. In the example Kaplan covered, the Ethiopia situation in the “Live Aid” years, the government of Ethiopia felt free to destroy the agricultural system of the country, because they knew they could use western aid to feed their supporters in loyal provinces. They might not have dared to undercut their country’s agriculture if they thought they would have rely on their own resources.

    In the Mugabe situation, the destruction of the farmers allowed Mugabe to achieve two of his main political goals – he got vengeance on the whites and drove many of them out of Zimbabwe, AND he was able to use their property to reward veterans of the civil war who were demanding that the promises made during the rebellion be kept. He didn’t think he had to care about the likely economic damage.

  11. Yeah, Fluffy, it gives a whole new heft to the term “moral hazard”, doesn’t it?

  12. Let me tell you all something. Once a nigger that looks something like this Mugambe character came into my town. I invited hom over for dinner. Then when the time I came I take a dump on by best china and brought it out to him along with a wine glass filled with my piss. I’m surprised the damn nigger didn’t drink it but that’ll teach him for comin into a white town.

  13. As reluctant as I am to say this as a sometimes mushy-headed human being (’cause as a Libertarian, it’s easy peasy & I’ve been saying it for years): no more aid. Period. Let then starve.
    Yes, people will die, but they are dying now. People will suffer, but they are suffering now and nothing we throw at it seems to end it.
    The bad guys get better stuff and are emboldened, but the suffering gets worse.
    I have always held out some hope in the face of mounting evidence that the aid would help, but it simply makes things much, much worse.
    The only question (and it’s a good one) is: How do you keep your enemies from trying to buy Africa’s love with the aid you won’t give?

  14. Baked Penguin, prolefeed,

    Do you realize that you just conflated people who developed plantations during the colonial period to the self-made meritocrats of Atlas Shrugged?

    Amazing how the meritocratic legitimacy of wealth is just assumed. It’s like a mirror image of how Marxists see wealthy people.

  15. Do you realize that you just conflated people who developed plantations during the colonial period to the self-made meritocrats of Atlas Shrugged?

    You’re trying too hard.

  16. joe, what Warty said. I was referring specifically to the foreign business seizure.

  17. The only question (and it’s a good one) is: How do you keep your enemies from trying to buy Africa’s love with the aid you won’t give?

    The cold war’s over. Let somebody buy sub-saharan Africa’s love. They can have it.

  18. Misery in Africa is large beyond the ability of mortals to comprehend, nevermind fix. I see not even a glimmer of hope for the region for the next 50 years. No amount of giving money or lowering tariffs or preventing the genocide of the day will have durable effects. There is only suffering everyday with no way out.

    It makes me so sad, I choose not to think about it anymore.

  19. See, we just can’t govern. We put racial hatred ahead of our own best interests. But it’s a cultural thing, so that makes it okay.

  20. The real shame is that those with access, can buy foreign currency at the official rate, and then sell again on the black market.

  21. JasonL

    I would like to disagree with you, but I’m not sure I can.

    So long as ‘activists’ are able to persuade people in the developed world that it is our “failure to give” that is at the root of the problem, Africa will not develop.

    No more money for kleptocrats.

  22. LAUGHING stock?

    Mugabe, we only laugh at you because the alternative is to weep.

  23. If you want to read the real story of Zimbabwe, log on to Cathy Buckle. She is the wife of a white farmer (a widow now, I think) who purchased a farm after Mugabe promised the whites would not be expropriated. He lied.

    She loves her country, and writes a weekly letter about what is going on. It is not from a white perspective, it covers the gamut of all who are trying to eke out an existance there.

    You may not be able to continue to follow the story. It will tear your heart apart. I had to stop six months ago for that very reason and I am a very tough minded individual. But I started again because I think the Mugabe regime is now in its death throes.

    You can read it here:
    http://www.cathybuckle.com/thisweek.shtml

  24. You bloody wankers! We just need to keep giving and giving until Africa is rich!

  25. Here is an example of how bad it is in Zimbabwe.

    The UN food aid that was shipped to Zimbabwe was being appropriated by Mugabe’s forces and sold on the open market for foreign exchange for government insiders. I had read the UN had ceased aid when they couldn’t get assurances the food would reach the truly needy.

    Apparently it has started again. The UN has a reputation for accepting a certain amount of graft will happen, but in this situation it appears they have totally caved.

  26. Bob Marley is rolling over in his grave.

  27. Hold on, I have a next door neighbor from Zimbabwe and he tells me that the people there love Robert Mugabe and tell me he was once a great man and they also tell me that the west is in fact meddling in the affairs of that great country. I also have five or six neighbors from Venezuala who tell me with absolute authority that those TV stations were committing acts of sedition and absolutely had to be silenced. I feel I owe it to my neighbors to defend Hugo Chavez with all the zeal I can muster.

    Sincerely,
    joe

  28. Also, it would help if Mugabe shouted “death to Israel” or some such”

    Hahahaha, how hilarious. Did you hear that other hilarious new joke that is making the rounds? It has the following opening: ” A palestinian walks into a Sbarro Pizzeria.”

    Better yet, for real comedy, instead of just “death to Israel”, we need to have a thugocracy, whose nominal head has a habit of denying the holocaust, call for the destruction of Israel and the United States while developing nuclear weapons with the explicit goal of making its absolutely hilarious “death to Israel” rhetoric (pure comedy gold)a reality, all while providing money to people who actually kill those lousy jews. Man, that would be fucking hilarious. And it’s even more funny because it’s at the expense of those worthless jews; those bastards control everything, including the presidency and the US congress. How else to explain the United States making a pillar of its foreign policy in the middle east the support of a country with the region’s only stable democracy, a country bordered by nations that which to destroy it.

    And when all our jokemaking is said and done we can come to the website of a magazine that acts as the intellectual organ for a totally irrelevant political party and record our tired, unfunny smartass jokes tinged with antisemitism.

  29. Wow, L.A.F. How short are you, anyway? I’m only five-three, but the joke didn’t go over my head.

  30. laf- Done beating up your straw man yet?

    The whole thing about “any criticism of Israel = anti-semitism” is a chickenshit copout, a gutless ploy to stifle speech by ad hominem.

    There is a difference between not wanting American soldiers to bleed and American money to pay for the defense of Israel versus wanting Israelis to die. If you can’t figure out the difference between those two, you are a moron.

    Finally, since you think libertarians are irrelevant, you should probably know we support freedom – including your freedom to go elsewhere and not come back.

  31. I fell for the reel people of Zimbabwe, but Robert Mugabe and his government are DOGS. There{government} kids get an oversea education payed with taxpayer money, while the poor people stave and die.
    I ask why Robert Mugabe is still alive??

  32. BP,
    Sorry, which Americans have bled for Israel? Your initial comment seemed to imply that America had invaded some country because its leader had shouted “death to Israel”. Can you name that country? If you can’t, can you think of a reason other than invidious Jew-baiting for making that joke?

  33. Well, the crew of the U.S.S. Liberty for one…

  34. Sean,

    First off, The whole thing about “any criticism of Israel = anti-semitism” is a chickenshit copout, a gutless ploy to stifle speech by ad hominem. This goes for you, too.

    Sorry you haven’t been paying attention. Our government is laying the groundwork to invade Iran. Ahmedijad has said some very nasty things about Israel. I suspect if we do wind up invading there, the Israeli government will have played a role in convincing the current administration to do so. That is what my joke was referring to.

    If you personally want to go fight Iran, or just join the IDF to defend Israel, go ahead. Just don’t drag the rest of the US with you.

    Let me also add this, because you don’t seem to want to get it: Jews ? Israel. I will go further: Israelis ? Israeli government.

  35. BakedPenguin I Couldn’t agree w/u more…I don’t believe that I’m anti-semitic just b-cause I don’t support the Aparthied in Israel. We didn’t support South Africa with it’s WHITE-ONLY world. Why should we support Israel with a JEWISH-ONLY state.

    From 1990 thru now, Israel lost a lot of innocent civilians due to the Antifada (Palestinian Uprising). May buses, pizza places, and discos where blown up in Israel killing many people during those 15 years.

    On Sept 11, 2001, We (Americans) lost MORE innocent civilians than ISRAEL did during BOTH Antifadas.

    And with the rising number of refugees in IRAQ … u know, people that had futures, businesses, families, homes … and lost them ALL to us INVADING IRAQ. I don’t think the # of WORLD TERRORIST against US and ISRAEL will go down.

    As a NYer…I’m deathly affraid of what will be happening NEXT. Simply b-cause we ALL (Jewish or NOT) have to support ISRAELs ANTI-ARAB champain.

  36. “The UN has a reputation for accepting a certain amount of graft will happen, but in this situation it appears they have totally caved.”

    The UN’s reputation is for participating in graft, not just accepting it. They shut off aid to Mugabe because they weren’t getting their share. They made Mugabe understand that he was being a little too greedy, then re-opened the spigots.

  37. AB, you need to get out more. Israel has a substantial non-Jewish population and non-Jewish MKs in government. That hardly sounds like a Jewish only state.

    As a NYer, are you at all concerned about Arab nukes in the hands of despots and religious nutcases? If so, thank those uppity Joos for taking out Boy Assad’s nuke program. You may yet get to thank them for taking out Ayatollah Wackjob’s nuke program as well.

  38. Surely assassination is an act of morality when it comes to taking out Mugabe and others like him whose existance is responsible for the deaths and misery of millions?

  39. We don’t hate Zimbabwe enough to want it to be free.

  40. Baked Penguin,

    joe, what Warty said. I was referring specifically to the foreign business seizure.

    Ah, my bad. I thought you talking about seizing the plantations.

    Chavez-boy,

    Actually, my neighors said exactly the opposite of that – that Mugabe had gone crazy. But why let something like truthfulness interfere, when you’ve got your hate on?

  41. Let’s compare:

    joe | October 3, 2007, 2:46pm | #

    My neighbors are from Zimbabwe. They tell me that the reason Mugabe has so much public support, and the reason other African countries have backed him up, is that when he first came to power, he didn’t do this type of thing.

    The expropriation of white-owned plantations was a popular policy among many of the independence movements of Mugabe’s era, but not his. My neighbors tell me that he actually stood out among many such leaders for his moderation and adherence to sane social and economic policies.

    Then, according to them, his wife died. Apparently, she kept him in line, kept him from going off the deep end. They trace the problems back to her death.

    I don’t think the man’s right in the head. He’s either gotten senile, or he was always mentally ill and was able to keep it under control while his wife was alive.

    To…

    Hold on, I have a next door neighbor from Zimbabwe and he tells me that the people there love Robert Mugabe and tell me he was once a great man and they also tell me that the west is in fact meddling in the affairs of that great country. I also have five or six neighbors from Venezuala who tell me with absolute authority that those TV stations were committing acts of sedition and absolutely had to be silenced. I feel I owe it to my neighbors to defend Hugo Chavez with all the zeal I can muster.

    Sincerely,
    joe

    And then you wonder why you get your ass handed to in every debate; you’re zeal for straw-work leaves you incapable of rational thought.

  42. John,

    I’m afraid of ALL Nuclear Wakos…Especially the President of Iran…and especially the US and Israel.

    But, from what I’ve seen in history, Governments are NOT REALLY SUICIDAL. Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and America have never attacked each other with Nuclear Bombs. I think it’s b-cause they all know that a Pre-emptive Nuclear attack would be SUICIDE.

    There is a lot of American Propaganda that the Arabs are suicidal. I don’t believe that. Do ARAB Leaders and PRIEST CON their youths to strap on BOMBS and blow up buses…for a useless cause…well, Yes But I still haven’t seen an ARAB Leader or PRIEST perform a Suicide ATTACK.

    Now, do American PRESIDENTS and GENERALS CON their YOUTH into going into DANGEROUS situations (reasonable expectation of DEATH or SERIOUS INJURY)…for a useless cause…well yes.

    As for the President of Iran, he made it clear that if we do go into his country and try to HANG him on You-Tube…the way we did Sadam…there will be consequense.

    And in a way that makes me feel very sad and scared…I know that there will be peace if IRAN obtains a Nuclear BOMB. Why, b-cause I know the US nor Israel will attack. I know the FRENCH like to talk YANG-YANG. But they won’t attack either.

    Iranians are NOT suicidal. The President of Iran is NOT suicidal. Iran using a Nuclear BOMB in a pre-emptive attack…would be suicide. I think they want a BOMB so that the US/ISRAEL does not invade and destroy their country and hang their president on YOU-TUBE.

    And from the precident that AMERICA has set, ONLY COUNTRIES without NUCLEAR BOMBs are at threat. We’ve never done anything to North Korea.

  43. I think “libertarians aren’t funny” is really Stephen Fetchet, but I won’t be sure until he slips a “[stage whisper] J.E.W.S.” in somewhere.

    I used to think Jesse Jackson was a virtuoso at reading “racist code words” into everything, but compared to the way people like “libertarians aren’t funny” play the anti-semitism card, Jackson was a penny ante amateur at playing the race card.

  44. funny that this drivel would be posted on a blog called ‘reason’…

    or perhaps people are just trying to inject some humour into an otherwise very sad state of affairs.

  45. “Zimbabwe is a ‘laughing stock'”

    Except there’s nothing funny about it.

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