Thursday, 3 April 2008

Zimbabwe opposition offices raided

MugabeSo reads the headline on the Yahoo news report. It then continues:
President Robert Mugabe's government raided the offices of the main opposition movement and rounded up foreign journalists Thursday in an ominous indication that he may use intimidation and violence to keep his grip on power.

Hands up, everyone who is surprised. It may be an ominous indication, but I personally am surprised that Mugabe has shown this much restraint. It's totally out of character. Power will slip out of his hands when they are cold and dead, and not a minute earlier. His use of intimidation and violence is well-documented and goes way back.

It's rather uncomfortable for journalists to document that though. Mugabe was a former media darling. It is difficult to admit mistakes, especially ones that never should have been made. To this day journalists seem incapable of summoning the moral outrage they applied (rightly, in that case) to apartheid and turning it against Mugabe. This despite the fact that he has turned his formerly prosperous country into a hellhole that most of his people would cheerfully leave for South Africa - present or past - or for old-time Rhodesia.

It is the African tragedy writ large all over again: a "liberator" who is really only interested in his own power. And a politically correct world that should be howling in outrage but doesn't. And journalists who express polite amazement at the inevitable.

I think I shall go be ill.

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Rafique Tucker said...

Knowing Mugabe's history, it shouldn't surprise me, yet I still stand amazed at the blatant brutality of it all. As you said, dictators like Mugabe will only cede power throgh force, or the grave.

The empty fantasies of misguided journalists die hard, and they hold them in their hands long after they've turned to dust.

P.S. On a lighter note, this is totally off-topic, but Tag, you're it.

Janet said...

Cynically, I am more amazed at the fact that Mugabe didn't use more pre-emptive brutality and save himself the loss of prestige.

But I grieve for Zimbabwe. So much of Africa seems incapable of freeing itself from strong man politics. I should spend some time reading about Botswana and how it has managed to chart a different course.


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