Zimbabwe: real harm done by WikiLeaks

December 28, 2010

There are thankfully few genuine hell-holes among the nations of the Earth. One of them is, of course, North Korea. Among the others, Zimbabwe has to be among the worst. After years of horrific misrule that has turned what was once the breadbasket of southern Africa into a Dystopia of starvation and fear, some hope arrived in 2009 when the government of dictator Robert Mugabe was forced to enter a coalition government with Morgan Tsvangirai, a democratic reformer. It was just a glimmer, but it nonetheless held out the possibility of restoring democratic government to Zimbabwe, fixing its trashed economy, and healing its brutalized people.

That is, until WikiLeaks revealed to the world (and Robert Mugabe) the details of a meeting between Tsvangirai and a US/European delegation about sanctions placed on Zimbabwe to encourage reform and Mugabe’s resistance to them:

To overcome this, [Tsvangirai] said that the sanctions on Zimbabwe “must be kept in place” to induce Mugabe into giving up some political power. The prime minister openly admitted the incongruity between his private support for the sanctions and his public statements in opposition. If his political adversaries knew Tsvangirai secretly supported the sanctions, deeply unpopular with Zimbabweans, they would have a powerful weapon to attack and discredit the democratic reformer.

Later that day, the U.S. embassy in Zimbabwe dutifully reported the details of the meeting to Washington in a confidential U.S. State Department diplomatic cable. And slightly less than one year later, WikiLeaks released it to the world.

The reaction in Zimbabwe was swift. Zimbabwe’s Mugabe-appointed attorney general announced he was investigating the Prime Minister on treason charges based exclusively on the contents of the leaked cable. While it’s unlikely Tsvangirai could be convicted on the contents of the cable alone, the political damage has already been done. The cable provides Mugabe the opportunity to portray Tsvangirai as an agent of foreign governments working against the people of Zimbabwe. Furthermore, it could provide Mugabe with the pretense to abandon the coalition government that allowed Tsvangirai to become prime minister in 2009.

Emphasis added. Read the whole thing.

Dear Julian Assange, his craven creature Bradley Manning, and all you who work for WikiLeaks: you in your self-righteous, sanctimonious arrogance may well have cost Morgan Tsvangirai his life. You have certainly badly damaged the cause of democratic reform in a land that desperately needs it.

May you all go to prison, and may you rot there for the rest of your pathetic lives.

via Legal Insurrection

RELATED: Other posts on Zimbabwe.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

Hell on Earth

November 24, 2008

Since Robert Mugabe came to power in Zimbabwe in the early 1980s, the average lifespan in that miserable country has fallen from 67 to 37 years.

Thirty-seven. Surprise

And America’s worst ex-president, Jimmy Carter, played a major role in bringing the tyrant to power.


Asked and answered

June 30, 2008

I asked yesterday who would stand for the people of Zimbabwe against their murderous tyrant, Robert Mugabe, and argued that, ideally, the African nations themselves should take the lead. Today, those nations gave their answer: Zimbabwe can go to Hell.

President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe presented himself before fellow African leaders Monday hours after claiming victory in a violent Zimbabwean election, confronting African critics who call his 28-year rule increasingly illegitimate.

Mugabe, 84, flew to the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to take his seat among heads of state at a summit of the 53-nation African Union.

His appearance poses one of the most divisive challenges in years for the African bloc. Several African leaders are urging their counterparts to reject the results of Friday’s Zimbabwean election and impose sanctions, send peacekeepers or compel Mugabe to enter a government with the country’s opposition.

"This is a moment of truth for regional leaders," Asha-Rosa Migiro, deputy secretary general of the United Nations, told the African heads of state at the summit’s opening. Migiro called Zimbabwe’s crisis "the single greatest challenge to regional stability in southern Africa."

Both England and France on Monday urged the African Union to take a tough line with Mugabe. In Beijing, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States would press the U.N. Security Council for action, but said the African Union should take the lead at its current meeting, wire services reported. The union was also prodded by a group of global "elder statesmen" that included retired South African archbishop Desmond Tutu and former U.N. secretarygeneral Kofi Annan.

Mugabe strolled into the summit hall without fanfare. Leaders of Egypt, Tanzania and Uganda walked alongside him.

So much for "international urgings." The situation in Zimbabwe isn’t even on the agenda at the conference, and his fellow dictators presidents are reluctant to bring it up for fear of calling their own legitimacy into question. Most disappointing and indeed sickening of all is South Africa, which owes the end of apartheid to international pressure to end White minority rule.

Ed at Hot Air asks a good question: Since we’ve poured billions into aid for Africa, to the benefit of these now-silent "leaders," why on Earth should we continue to aid them when they refuse to take any responsibility for their own region? Better the money should to to organizations that bypass governments altogether so that more of the money actually reaches the people it’s meant to help, rather than line the pockets of corrupt, craven dictators.

LINKS: Indeed, his brother-leaders at the AU summit hailed Mugabe as a hero.

Compelling national interest

June 29, 2008

Like John at Power Line, I don’t generally believe in a resort to arms absent a compelling national interest*. However, sometimes simple humanitarianism and compassion for those in misery requires direct action, as it does now, in Zimbabwe:

A baby boy had both legs broken by supporters of President Robert Mugabe to punish his father for being an opposition councillor in Zimbabwe.

Blessing Mabhena, aged 11 months, was seized from a bed and flung down with force as his mother, Agnes, hid from the thugs, convinced that they were about to murder her.

She heard one of them say, “Let’s kill the baby”, before Blessing was hurled on to a bare concrete floor.

Blessing, who may never be able to walk properly, was one of the youngest victims of atrocities against the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change in the run-up to last Friday’s sham presidential election.

(Emphasis added)

Who then will stand for the people of Zimbabwe? The EU and Zimbabwe’s former colonial master, Britain? They’ve spent so much time degrading their military capabilities that the idea of an EU intervention is laughable, even discounting their aversion to anything other than holding another meeting. Us? Our dance card is full as it is with Afghanistan and Iraq, though it might come to that in the end.

Ideally, the nations around Zimbabwe would act to end this horror. But, as Ed at Hot Air has pointed out, President Mbeki of South Africa has repeatedly covered for the tyrant to the north. As the dominant regional power South Africa should be taking the lead. Instead, it does nothing. Given South Africa’s recent history of benefiting from foreign pressure to end the tyrannical apartheid regime, one can almost cut the irony with a knife.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s nightmare continues.

*(Yes, I believed then and do now that we had a compelling national interest in liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein. For a comprehensive analysis that holds up even in the absence of WMDs, look here.)


Links Sunday

June 22, 2008

It’s another busy day, so here are a few links to keep you busy (especially you over there!):

At Pajamas Media, Phyllis Chesler looks at recent books detailing the troubles experienced by American women who marry Arab Muslim men, an experience similar to her own: Horror in the harem.

In the Telegraph, Andrew Roberts argues that, poor current polls aside, history may well remember George W. Bush more kindly than the Wise now predict, similar to what happened to Harry Truman. Sister Toldjah reflects on this and compares Bush to a certain ex-President, who isn’t above rewriting history to protect the myth of his own legacy.

Ed Morrissey has two pieces at Hot Air you should read: first, he looks at European fears that a President Obama would be too soft on Iran. Given Europe’s penchant for appeasement, that’s scary.

Continuing with the Obama theme, Ed next wonders if the Prophet of Post-Racial Politics will carry through on his promise to filibuster a bill he supports. If that leaves you scratching your head, you’re not alone. The Harbinger of Hope, Change, and Waffles is starting to waffle so fast that he’s making John "Flip-Flop" Kerry look like a model of consistency.

Finally, Bridget Johnson looks at the misery of Zimbabwe and demands something be done to help the opposition there, before President Mugabe kills many more of them.


Wow. She really does have no shame.

May 22, 2008

Lady Macbeth has compared the controversy over seating the Florida and Michigan delegations at the Democratic convention in Denver to the tragedy befalling Zimbabwe:

Desperate to get attention for her cause to seat Florida and Michigan delegates, Hillary Clinton compared the plight of Zimbabweans in their recent fraudulent election to the uncounted votes of Michigan and Florida voters saying it is wrong when "people go through the motions of an election only to have them discarded and disregarded."

"We’re seeing that right now in Zimbabwe," Clinton explained. "Tragically, an election was held, the president lost, they refused to abide by the will of the people," Clinton told the crowd of senior citizens at a retirement community in south Florida.

"So we can never take for granted our precious right to vote. It is the single most important, privilege and right any of us have, because in that ballot box we are all equal. You’re equal to a billionaire. You’re equal to the president, every single one of us."

I’m no fan of Howard "The Scream" Dean or the policies of the Democratic Party, but to compare their admittedly poorly conceived attempts to enforce the Party rules to Mugabe’s brutal rule in Zimbabwe is obscene. It’s insulting not only to her fellow Democrats, but to the poor people of Zimbabwe, who have had their suffering trivialized by Hillary’s asinine comparison.

Once again, Senator Clinton has shown she has one of the biggest political "tin ears" in politics. She owes all sides a profuse apology.

(hat tip: The Weekly Standard)

LINKS: More at Hot Air.

Catholic prelate calls for invasion of Zimbabwe

July 20, 2007

Things are so bad in Zimbabwe that the Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, has called on Britain to invade the country to save it from its megalomaniac dictator president, Robert Mugabe:

Mugabe, 83, had proved intransigent despite the “massive risk to life”, said Ncube, the head of Zimbabwe’s 1m Catholics. “I think it is justified for Britain to raid Zimbabwe and remove Mugabe,” he said. “We should do it ourselves but there’s too much fear. I’m ready to lead the people, guns blazing, but the people are not ready.”

Some parts of Zimbabwe have seen 95% of crops fail, leaving families with only two or three weeks’ food supply to last a year. Prices in the shops are more than doubling every week and Christopher Dell, the American ambassador, predicts that by the end of the year inflation could hit 1.5m%.

Ncube said that far from helping those struggling on less than £1 a week, Mugabe had just spent £1m on surveillance equipment to monitor phone calls and e-mails. “How can you expect people to rise up when even our church services are attended by state intelligence people?

I’ve also covered Zimbabwe here and here.

(hat tip: PJM)

Will he get a pony, too?

February 22, 2007

Crazed dictator President Robert Mugabe turned 83 last Wednesday; he plans to celebrate with a huge birthday bash on Saturday, the cost of which will be borne by his starving people.

President Robert G. Mugabe of Zimbabwe turned 83 on Wednesday to the strains of the song “God Bless President Mugabe” on state-controlled radio, along with an interview on state television, a 16-page paean to his rule in Harare’s daily newspaper and the prospect of a grand birthday party — costly enough to feed thousands of people for months, his critics argued — on Saturday.

Zimbabwe’s economy is so dire that bread vanished from store shelves across the country on Wednesday after bakeries shut down, saying government price controls were requiring them to sell loaves at a loss. The price controls are supposed to shield consumers from the nation’s rampant inflation, which now averages nearly 1,600 percent annually.

Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of southern Africa, but Mugabe’s tyranny has turned it into a basketcase, instead. Ruined by years of his misrule, the nation resembles a defendant in a Stalinist show trial, forced to declare its love for the man who’s destroying it.

Maybe someone will do the right thing and poison the birthday cake.

(hat tip: Obsidian Wings)

LINKS: There’s more at Publius Pundit, while the Captain’s Quarters reports on declining morale in the Zimbabwean security forces, which hopefully has Mugabe worried.