Mugabe: Innocent is Guilty!

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Hopes for an uncomplicated transition of power from Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF to the opposition MDC have been, despite earlier reports to the contrary, almost entirely dashed in Zimbabwe. According to this report in The New York Times, the High Court in Harare ruled that election returns, which independent monitors say would demonstrate that Mugabe was soundly defeated, will not be released any time soon. A planned work stoppage to protest the decision fizzled yesterday, though many of those who "incited" workers to strike were arrested.

Only in Zimbabwe—where the brutal leader of the so-called War Veterans is called Hitler Hunzvi—could one read the following paragraph from yesterday's Times and not bat an eye:

Like the opposition, the groups say evidence is proliferating that the government is seeking to intimidate its opponents and carry out what amounts to a coup.

Political rallies have been banned. Foreign journalists have been arrested and detained. [Opposition leader Morgan] Tsvangirai's lawyer, Innocent Chagonda, has been arrested.

NEXT: Legends of the Fall

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  1. If I was one of the 20% or so people in a country that had a job, I’d be very careful about participating in a work stoppage.

  2. Venezuela: The Preview!

  3. Surprise, surprise.

    Venezuela may very well end up Zimbabwe II: The New Coup, but Chavez hasn’t shown himself to be quite the tyrant Mugabe has. But he sure could get there quick if he chooses.

  4. One of the things I like about the proposed Union of Democracies is that it could function as an elections monitor in…let’s call them “probationary member” countries, and bring pressure to bear if there’s backsliding.

  5. Hopes for an uncomplicated transition of power from Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF to the opposition MDC have been, despite earlier reports to the contrary, almost entirely dashed

    On the whole, I’d describe such hopes as somewhere between a single candle trying to illuminate the Grand Canyon on a moonless night and a product of ingestion of substances that would attract the attention of the DEA.

  6. Cecil Rhodes is having a good chuckle somewhere.

  7. Interesting article in NR about the recent election…er, problems, here.

    In the weeks prior to the March 29 election, with Zimbabwe’s economy collapsing and inflation already running at 100,000 percent, a German company called Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) ran its printing presses at maximum capacity, delivering 432,000 sheets of banknotes to Mugabe’s government each week. The money, equivalent to nearly Z$173 trillion (U.S. $32 million), was then dispersed among targeted voters.

    […]

    G&D has directly contributed to a meltdown. According to the Sunday Times of London, the company is receiving more than $750,000 a week from the Mugabe regime “for delivering notes at the astonishing rate of Z$170 trillion a week.” Inflation caused by this reckless currency printing has destroyed once-sustainable food markets and stymied business investment, and has contributed to thousands of deaths a week from malnutrition and disease. The black market value of the Zimbabwe dollar has dropped by 70 percent against the U.S. dollar since the mass printing of bank notes began recently (official exchange rates are now irrelevant).

  8. Well, sage, I guess it’s comforting that somebody’s currency is worth less than ours.

  9. One of the things I like about the proposed Union of Democracies is that it could function as an elections monitor in…let’s call them “probationary member” countries, and bring pressure to bear if there’s backsliding.

    If the proposal involves the elimination of the UN and allows for member states the ability to take or leave any discussions made by the Union then sure. Oh ya…and the US does not pay for the whole fucking thing like it does for the UN.

  10. sage-
    um, germans printing too many banknotes. What could possibly go wrong?

  11. Zimbabwe needs Ron Paul!

  12. Oh ya…and the US does not pay for the whole fucking thing like it does for the UN.

    20-25% actually. Still a shitload but hardly the “whole fucking thing”.

  13. Venezuela may very well end up Zimbabwe II: The New Coup, but Chavez hasn’t shown himself to be quite the tyrant Mugabe has. But he sure could get there quick if he chooses.

    Venezuela is a stronger democracy then Zimbabwe is. I guess this would be a good example of how American style imperialism is better then European Style imperialism. Seriously Latin America is so much less fucked then Africa is one can only point a damning finger at Western Europe as proprietors of genocide.

    Also one should note that American style Imperialism is more a soft touch free market oriented work then European style. One might come away from such an example and come to the conclusion that less command control and more open trade produces better results. Perhaps even the extreme that libertarian style free trade isolationism espoused by Ron Paul would produce even better results.

  14. I agree with joe (eek!), but the question is, what is the probataionary level? How hard core are we going to be?

    Is probationary level Israel, Venezuela, or Zimbabwe?

    By my (admittedly tough) standards, Israel would be probationary level and Venezuela and Zimbabwe would have already been kicked out.

    I could see going with a looser standard in which Venezuela is the probationary level, Israel is a member in good standing and Zimbabwe has been kicked out.

    Im afraid that Zimbabwe would be considered probationary level.

  15. 20-25% actually. Still a shitload but hardly the “whole fucking thing”.

    Does that 20-25% include pledges and start up costs or is it just an estimation of our yearly operational dues?

  16. robc,

    We’ll be lucky if probationary level isn’t us by the time the next president gets sworn in. Kidding.

    joshua corning,

    There’s going to be a UN, whether we like it or not.
    But putting together an organization like this can get things done that the UN can’t, and increase the cloud of the US and our allies within the UN.

  17. Is Mbeki ever planning on getting off his ass and trying to do something? Even his own party has said ‘enough already’…

  18. The terrible thought for me is that it all could have all so easily happened anyplace else that had recently replaced its government (I reference Zimbabwe’s 1980s end of minority rule).

    Mugabe was (and is, for enough people) seen as the liberator of his country, on par in the minds of his countrymen with George Washington or Nelson Mandela (without the hindrance of decades of imprisonment). How does one effectively oppose such a figure? Americans couldn’t even throw out FDR after four elections. He died peacefully, still in office.

    How would the United States have been any different if George Washington had turned out to be a dictator who decided two terms wasn’t enough, Tories’ property should be confiscated, and the Continental wasn’t so worthless that a little printing would hurt to pay the bills?

    Mr. Mugabe, if he has not been completely convinced by his own rhetoric, has done nothing worse than any other leader who plays on pervasive human prejudices to stay in power. I want to know what’s to stop as much happening here besides the hoped-for benevolence of elected officials.

    On a lighter note, I present to actual company motto of Giesecke & Devrient:

    Creating Confidence.

    That makes me smile.

  19. There’s going to be a UN, whether we like it or not.

    Huh? Why? the cold war is over and the UN did its job…we are not all dead. With the US paying 20-25% it would be easy to end it, just stop paying the bill and handing out diplomatic visas to UN staff in the US. And in fact with its loss it would create a climate more conducive to the creation of the Democratic Union.

    Or do you honestly believe their is a huge world wide constituency out there who love the UN and would hate to see it go?

    and increase the cloud of the US and our allies within the UN.

    The UN is a tool made and owned by the US…it has outlived its usefulness…clout in the UN is only useful in that it gives us clout over other nations…if the UN no longer gives us that clout, as you seem to have indicated by the necessity for us to get more of it, then it has outlived its usefulness to us.

  20. We’ll be lucky if probationary level isn’t us by the time the next president gets sworn in. Kidding.

    You shouldnt be kidding. If Freedom House lowers our election subscore any further, we might get kicked out of the “League of Super-Duper Democracies” and only be allowed in the “League of Super Democracies”.

    This might be my preferred solution, a nested series of organizations that are harder and harder to get into. The super-duper top tier gets to be the human rights commission in the League of Democracies.

    No Sudans allowed.

  21. I like the idea of a league of democracies. Imagine what it would be like if a a bunch of smaller democracies like Mexico and South Korea started it with financial help from the larger nations, then the US and friends had to actually go through the approval process. It would make admission something important, unlike UN membership (which only gets denied to states a great power doesn’t think should exist)

  22. mk made the right point – how do you call a strike in a country with 80% unemployment.

    Of course, how could you tell a strike is working? One article I read on the Zimbabwe strike quoted an employer who said 4 of her 12 employees did not show up. She was not sure if they were taking part in the work stoppage, or just victims of normal transporation difficulties.

  23. I’ll grant you this, joshua – you’re criticism of the UN is much more sophisticated than most I’ve seen.

    Still, I don’t think the other countries of the world would want to scotch the UN. It provides a useful forum, and I suspect they’d want to keep it around.

  24. Whoa – it’s like Bizarro joez law.

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