Day By Day

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Zimbabwe Update -- Too Little, Too Late

The reluctance of African leaders to censure or even to criticize Mad Bobby Mugabe has been one of the great disappointment of recent months. Mugabe has skillfully intimidated other leaders by demonizing the West and whites in general and stoking lingering anti-colonialist resentments throughout the region. Nobody, least of all Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, is eager to be portrayed as the agent of western imperialists. So nothing has been done to halt the implementation of his disastrous economic and social policies that have left hundreds of thousands homeless and starving, oppressed Zimbabwe's white minority, made a shambles of democratic procedures, and destroyed the country's economy.

Still, internal pressures have been mounting on Mugabe. His country is destitute and his people are starving. At last, Mugabe has agreed to at least open discussions with his critics. Mind you, no promises of any concrete actions to repair the damage he has done, just discussions.

The Times reports:
THE president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has agreed to take part in talks with Morgan Tsvangirai, the opposition leader, amid growing concern in Africa over his government’s slum clearance programme.

The initiative, aimed at pulling Zimbabwe back from the brink of economic and social disaster, has been launched by Olusegun Obasanjo, the Nigerian president.

During last week’s African Union summit in the town of Sirte in Libya, Obasanjo suggested to Mugabe that a respected figure — one of two former presidents from the southern Africa region — could mediate in crisis talks that will probably be held in either Zimbabwe or South Africa.....

Obasanjo is under no illusions about the difficulties of reining in Mugabe, diplomats emphasised. “He’s not expecting any immediate breakthrough,” said one.

Actually, they're just talking about talking, but at least it is movement, however infintesimal, in the right direction. Everyone seems to be sitting around waiting for the old monster to die. The question is, just how much damage can he do before he croaks?

Read about it here.

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