Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Has Tsvangirai made a fatal mistake?

June 24, 2008

rtx789k.jpgMorgan Tsvangirai’s decision to pull out of the presidential election on Friday leaves the road open for President Mugabe to win another term in power.

The decision has been met by a storm of international condemnation of the violence, with increasingly powerful voices speaking out from Africa. On Tuesday President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and ANC leader Jacob Zuma joined the condemnation and called for the vote to be postponed.

But there is no sign that Mugabe and his supporters, including the powerful security chiefs, will budge. They are vowing to press ahead with the election despite suggestions Mugabe will have no legitimacy if he wins this vote.

Perhaps Tsvangirai had little choice. President Wade said he fled to the Dutch embassy on Sunday — where he is still seeking refuge — minutes before soldiers came to his home. Western powers have defended his decision.

But at the end of the day, will international pressure make any difference?. Mugabe has a long history of defying outside pressure, even though now his support within Africa is diminishing. Can he continue to ignore the pressure and battle on in Zimbabwe as the economy spirals even further into total chaos?

Did Tsvangirai misjudge his move? Has he let down all those who have suffered to support the MDC, some at the price of their lives? Or has he made a calculation that by pulling out of the vote he will show that Friday’s election is a sham and he will win in the end? What do you think?


Political brilliance! – now the world, especially the other African nations, will be forced to take some responsibility.


This is a potentially shrewd move by Tsvangirai. I say potentially because he is relying on the international community to back him up and not recognise Mugabe in a flawed one-man run-off. Will Zimbabwe’s neighbours follow through with pressure or quietly forget about it when the violence subsides? My guess is that when things quieten down, people will look the other way. The time for maximum pressure is now, not after the ‘election’.

Posted by Christopher Doll | Report as abusive

Surely if Tsvangirai had stayed at his home, been killed by the soldiers, and made into a martyr, the outcry would have been more dramatic. But to think that anyone should give up his life in this way is too much to ask. Tsvangirai did NOT misjuge his move–he simply did what was necessary to save his life.


Why are people talking of invading Zimbabwe and asking what should be done to end his dictatorial rule now that the ballot can not do it?! The rate of inflation in Zimbabwe is 165 000% the Z$ or par with US$ when Mugabe came into office in 1980 has devalued so much that today 1 US$ is worth Z$ 20 trillion. These are the economic facts of a national economic in free fall. Mugabe does not have the foggiest idea as what to do to turn the economy round. All the need be done now is make sure Mugabe and his cronies too feel the economic hardship of the economic melt down.

The regime’s ruling elite have managed to enjoy a very comfortable life whilst the rest have suffered thanks to the US$1 million a day in foreign currency repatriated by Zimbabweans outside the country. The regime has never had it so good, all they have done is print more and more Z$ to buy off the foreign currency.

Zimbabweans in the Diaspora have the economic muscle; they can stop sending the money. They all, to the last man, hate the Mugabe regime and what Mugabe is doing with a passion but, unfortunately, they do not have the mental agility to flex their economic muscle.

A mass stay away by local Zimbabwean could force the sickly economy to finally grind to a holt. Again there is no quality local leadership to this through.

Zimbabwe’s neighbours have been directly or indirectly subsidising the Zimbabwe economy to keep it ticking by continued sell of electricity and fuel, for example, although Zimbabwe’s account is arrears to the tune of months’ supply. Pressure from the International Community in the form of cut-off aid to these neighbours will force them to end these subsidies.

It is economic pressure that will force Mugabe out of office and so why search for anything else?!

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

Tsvangirayi has done all that is democratically possible given the Zimbabwean circumstances. The support from the UN Security Council and the now audible voices of SADC members and the ANC show that Mugabe is alone and this has bolstered Morgan\’s case.
For too long SADC collectively have been on an appeasement trip with Mugabe. For too long the Western world was humstrung with not wanting to offend the African leadership and now look where this has left the Zimbabwean people. This is about Zimbabweans and not Morgan or Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe is humstrung with losing to Morgan Tsvangirayi. The truth ,however is that Mugabe has lost the people of Zimbabwe.He has not lost to Morgan. Tsvangirayi therefore stands on a high moral ground. He has the support of the people and that is what elections are about; the people choosing who should lead for a limited period and not forever.

The sooner the world tells Mugabe this, the better this world will be. God did not elect Robert Mugabe in 1980. We did. Now we don\’t want him. Period

Posted by C Chipikiri | Report as abusive

Mugabe has been a pain in everyone’s ass for almost 30 years…its time for him to leave and for his supporters to be ousted from power. It cannot be done “by ballot” or it would have been by now. Either a UN force needs to enter and restore an environment that is voter “friendly” (highly unlikely), or an African-supported coalition should be back by a multilateral force to “facilitate” the end of the oppressive, brutal, elitist regime of Mugabe!

Posted by Me Again | Report as abusive

Africa Runs On Fatal Mistakes……………..What`s New?

Posted by Milk_the_Cow | Report as abusive

Good move on the MDC part. This will play out and Mugabe and Zanu PF are doomed – just wait, the brutality, torture, rape and killing have only fortified the resolve of the people. Time is on the MDC side – Mugabe and Zanu PF are desperate for both time and options – but it is too late for them now – within six months there will nolonger be a ZANU PF.

Posted by Tashinga | Report as abusive

Tsvangirai does not learn from the mistakes that many african puppets “leaders “( britishmade and whatever self called leaders…) do everyday in Africa. Even if Tsvangirai has the support and protection from London, EU…, he must respect the law of his country. We know that this kind of democracy that European Union wants to implant in Africa does not work. We also know that the change that the “leaders” of the World want in Zimbabwe is worse for african ( Zimbabwean people ) population. In the name of revenge, and for some reason, they want to humiliate President Mugabe. We know that when the “leaders” of the World say: ” this African leader is bad, or dictator…”. It merely means that he is good for his population. This is the case of President Mugabe.

Posted by Tendaie | Report as abusive

Morgan made a fatal mistake. First people were turning against Mugabe in big numbers because of Mugabe’s violence behaviour against his own people. Now they have no other option but to vote for someone they did want to vote for or stay home. Morgan should explain to people why he stepped down the last minutes, it was better to take the bull by the horn than to run scared.


It’s nice to see all of Mugabe’s puppets showing up here on the blogs. They want to tell the world all about their “heroic” leader. Fools, all of them. I wonder how many of them are probably on his payroll? Just as is is with the Chinese, the world knows well how tyrannical governments send out their agents over the internet to tout supposed support. TENDAIE – turn off the computer, will you? Go back to watching your countrymen suffer, maybe after a while it will finally begin to affect you.

As for Tsvangirai – he did what he had to do in order to save himself and potentially the lives of his supporters. Martyrs serve no purpose in modern times, and certainly not in Africa. Hopefully, and with some luck, he’ll have a chance to be president of a FREE Zimbabwe one day.

Posted by Bardas Sudislav | Report as abusive

MDC choice seems to be only way out rather than sacrifice his supporters to prove a point. He who runs away lives to fight another day. From the comments and action of Mugabe and his cohorts in these past days, there was really no other way out to avoid further bloodshed. Morgan has demonstrated his statesmanship and that he cares for the people he wants to govern. Mugabe has lost every sense of compassion and fairness and at 84 years, he is really does not seem to be in charge but some others who have hidden agenda. Mugabe should learn from the mistakes of his predecessors like Presidents Abacha of Nigeria, Mobutu Seseko of Zaire and Idi Amin of Uganda who were humiliated out of office.

Posted by PAUL MANI | Report as abusive

right move, such decision do not come cheap.

Posted by shavas | Report as abusive

No person can determine what he or she would do in a clearly life threatening situation until such situation presents itself. However, if Tsvangirai is not astute enough now to manage his way through an election, which he must have known at the outset was life threatening, (at least intellectually he must have known this) and provide for his security how exactly will he manage Zimbabwe, if he is elected. Will he continually run to other countries to help him manage Zimbabwe and various violent factions that may arise, which are bound to emerge under the circumstances, especially now that it is clear that he will run away. Tsvagirai is proving that he will flinch in the face of danger. Mugabe is showing that he will not and apparently from what I have read, he has not in the past either. Why didn’t the Mugabe opposition anticipate that Mugabe would send soldiers for their leader and provide the appropriate security? Did the security run away also? How can one lead if one runs away in the critical moment. If one fears Mugabe, who else will one fear. The economic condition will not be remedied overnight and the challenges are just as profound as they were when Mugabe first gained power. Actually, the problems appear far worse at this juncture. Asking for assistance is completely acceptable. There is a difference between assistance and asking third parties to do the work for you. I am not sure why it is okay for third parties to go into Zimbabwe and risk the lives of their people to save Zimbabweans and make sure that there are free and fair elections, while the proposed new leader of the country sits in safety and security until an orderly election and country is delivered into his hands. This concerns me deeply. Asking for help under the circumstances is completely appropriate, but the leader that asks for the help needs to be right there with his or her life on the line as well. Otherwise, such leaders fitness to lead is highly questionable.

Posted by kscott | Report as abusive

right aved lives of many, the next thing he is going to force everyone to go to the elections by beating and killing

Posted by Noe | Report as abusive

I have been watching the situation in Zimbabwe and I am dissapointed that we in the West are just sitting by and letting this dictator Mugabe crush the people. If there were oil involved we would be in there by now sorting things out, but as there are only innocent people being murdered we stand by and watch…

Posted by tom griffiths | Report as abusive

The right decisions are not necessarily the best and this one example

TENDAIE how much blood do you want on your hands before you see that what Mugabe is doing is wrong. He is 84 for God’s sake. ZANU PF’s policies border on the ridiculous in justifying their intentions

There are countries in Africa that are trying to prove to the world that they can be democracies despite their problems. MUGABE MAKES US LOOK BAD!


People calling on Mugabe to cancel the Friday election should stop wasting their time; he is not going to do it. When it suits his evil purpose he will break all the rules and then follow to the letter the next rule.

He has broken all the regional and national rules on the conduct of free, fair and democratic elections and, now, he simply will not break an inconsequential one. Apparently there is no provision in Zimbabwe law for a candidate in the run-off to withdraw or for anyone to call off the said election. And so to “prove” he is a law abiding man with great respect for the rule of law, etc. he will not be the one to break Zimbabwe’s law!

Mugabe is the sort of man, condemned of adultery, murder, etc. would plead that he should be declared a saint since he had never ever in his life committed any sin, not one, on the Sabbath!

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

Interesting, isn’t it? That you people sit on your computers and type away your thoughts whilst Tsvangirai is dramatizing the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe for his predominantly white audience, in Whitehall. And the timing, so well calculated to coincide with the UN Security Council gathering. The people of Zimbabwe are not suffering because of Mugabe, but because of the manipulations of the west.

The fact is Tsvangirai and his handlers know too well that they will not be able to repeat the stealing act they achieved on March 29.

Posted by Willom | Report as abusive

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chairman George Chiweshe said Tsvangirai’s withdrawal last Sunday had been filed too late to have any legal effect.

“Accordingly, the commission does not recognize the purported withdrawal. We are, therefore, proceeding with the presidential election run-off this Friday as planned.”

This is because they have worked so hard to manufacture the results and dont want their hard work to go to waste!

Interesting how history repeats itself – now Mugabe and Zanu PF will be just like Ian Smith and the RF – unrecognised in the world with real sanctions. Only difference is Mugabe and Zanu PF will collapse and capitulate much quicker.

Posted by Tashinga | Report as abusive

Supporters of Mugabe continue to say Zimbabwe is doing okay and westerners exaggerate the situation. I guess the millions of Zimbabwe people who left do so because they are tourists and not because of the situation back home. They are truly living the high life in SA with mobs chasing them. It must be extreme excitement type of tourism because things are soooo great in Zimbabwe with Mugabe as the king.

For those Zimbabwe people who are outside the country and support Mugabe, it’s time to go home and enjoy the high life of surplus cheap fuel at the pumps and shelves of plenty in the stores.

For those Zimbabwe people who support Mugabe and live in America I ask, why are you allowed to live on my aboriginal land without fear of us taking it from you without compensation. If we were like Mugabe you would be gone because you are not indingenous to our land. Fortunately our leaders look forward and not backward to when we were invaded and colonized by other nations and lands including africa.

Posted by buffalojump | Report as abusive

It would have been better for Tsvangirai and his supporters outside of Zimbabwe to say that because of Mugabe’s dictatorial usurpation of power in his declaration that he’d not give up power even if he lost the election, the window of opportunity for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to absolve Mugabe’s supporters from legal consequences for their illegal acts had closed; until then it was still possible for them to be pardoned if they promised to no longer engage in political violence, but they themselves closed that window so they have nobody to blame for what comes when regime change does occur, and rest assured it will and there will be consequences.

Posted by jimbo | Report as abusive

Tsvangirai did the right thing. I think there’s a distinct possibility – considering his 84 years of age – that Mugabe has lost some of his mental capability. What else could Tsvangirai – or anyone – do when faced with the growing excesses of an ageing man in power, who is showing such irrational behaviour? Mugabe is increasingly doing himself no favours if he believes that this situation cannot end badly for him. To my mind, that shows irrationality. Tsvangirai had no choice but to walk away.

Posted by S. Evans | Report as abusive

Right move definitely. Mugabe is a tyrant who has now become a puppet himself of the junta that is running the country. its time that the world rallied behind Tsvangirai with a military force that can restore sanity in Zimbabwe. People like tendaie and willom seem to be his spies and must stop trying to cover up the atrocities that are being committed in Zimbabwe after all it is your mothers who are being raped and your fathers who are being beaten by the green bombers daily. How long shall the people wait for their voices to be heard?

Posted by mukoma tafirenyika | Report as abusive

The Western media (particularly the British) are so desperate for an invasion of Zimbabwe to protect their economic interests that they have resorted to fabricating articles.

The Guardian fabricated all appeal for military invasion by Tsvangirai. It was so embarrasing that even Morgan had to issue a denial.

God bless Morgan for refusing to let the British/Americans/white farmers use him as a vessel for their own personal agendas in Zimbabwe. He needs to do more of this.

This is Tsvangirai’s denial:


The Guardian, Thursday June 26, 2008

An article that appeared in my name, published in the Guardian (Why I am not running, June 25), did not reflect my position or opinions regarding solutions to the Zimbabwean crisis. Although the Guardian was given assurances from credible sources that I had approved the article this was not the case.

By way of clarification I would like to state the following: I am not advocating military intervention in Zimbabwe by the UN or any other organisation. The MDC is committed to finding an African solution to the crisis in Zimbabwe and appreciates the work of the SADC in this regard. I am asking the African Union and SADC to lead an expanded initiative, supported by the UN, to manage the transitional process. We are proposing that the AU facilitation team sets up a transitional period that takes into account the will of the people of Zimbabwe.

It is the opinion of the MDC that to address the immediate political, social and economic crisis facing us, four actions must be taken with immediate effect. The violence must stop immediately. Emergency humanitarian organisations must be allowed to operate freely and without hindrance throughout the country. All political prisoners must be freed immediately. Parliament and senate must be sworn in and begin working on the people’s business.

We in the MDC appreciate the overwhelming international support from numerous organisations and leaders who recognise that the time for finding a solution to the Zimbabwean crisis is now. We are committed, with the mandate we have from the people, to play the necessary role to ensure that a peaceful, sustainable solution is achieved.

Morgan Tsvangirai
President, MDC

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

The fabricated article by The Guardian, which calls for military invasion of Zimbabwe.

They are so desperate to turn Zimbabwe into another Iraq: a modern-day Western colony:

WHY I AM NOT RUNNING – Morgan Tsvangirai

My people are at breaking point. World leaders’ bold rhetoric must be backed with military force

By Morgan Tsvangirai

The Guardian

Wednesday June 25, 2008

In the course of the last few tumultuous months, I have often had cause to consider what it is that makes a country. I believe a country is the sum of its many parts, and that this is embodied in one thing: its people. The people of my country, Zimbabwe, have borne more than any people should bear. They have been burdened by the world’s highest inflation rates, denied the basics of democracy, and are now suffering the worst form of intimidation and violence at the hand of a government purporting to be of and for the people. Zimbabwe will break if the world does not come to our aid.

Africa has seen this all before, of course. The scenario in Zimbabwe is numbingly familiar. A power-crazed despot holding his people hostage to his delusions, crushing the spirit of his country and casting the international community as fools. As we enter the final days of what has been a taxing period for all Zimbabweans, it is likely that Robert Mugabe will claim the presidency of our country and will seek to further deny its people a space to breath and feel the breeze of freedom.

I can no longer allow Zimbabwe’s people to suffer this torture, for I believe they can bear no more crushing force. This is why I decided not to run in the presidential run-off. This is not a political decision. The vote need not occur at all of course, as the Movement for Democratic Change won a majority in the previous election, held in March. This is undisputed even by the pro-Mugabe Zimbabwe electoral commission.

Our call now for intervention seeks to challenge standard procedure in international diplomacy. The quiet diplomacy of South African President Thabo Mbeki has been characteristic of this worn approach, as it sought to massage a defeated dictator rather than show him the door and prod him towards it.

We envision a more energetic and, indeed, activist strategy. Our proposal is one that aims to remove the often debilitating barriers of state sovereignty, which rests on a centuries-old foundation of the sanctity of governments, even those which have proven themselves illegitimate and decrepit. We ask for the UN to go further than its recent resolution, condemning the violence in Zimbabwe, to encompass an active isolation of the dictator Mugabe.

For this we need a force to protect the people. We do not want armed conflict, but the people of Zimbabwe need the words of indignation from global leaders to be backed by the moral rectitude of military force. Such a force would be in the role of peacekeepers, not trouble-makers. They would separate the people from their oppressors and cast the protective shield around the democratic process for which Zimbabwe yearns.

The next stage should be a new presidential election. This does indeed burden Zimbabwe and create an atmosphere of limbo. Yet there is hardly a scenario that does not carry an element of pain. The reality is that a new election, devoid of violence and intimidation, is the only way to put Zimbabwe right.

Part of this process would be the introduction of election monitors, from the African Union and the UN. This would also require a recognition of myself as a legitimate candidate. It would be the best chance the people of Zimbabwe would get to see their views recorded fairly and justly.

Intervention is a loaded concept in today’s world, of course. Yet, despite the difficulties inherent in certain high-profile interventions, decisions not to intervene have created similarly dire consequences. The battle in Zimbabwe today is a battle between democracy and dictatorship, justice and injustice, right and wrong. It is one in which the international community must become more than a moral participant. It must become mobilised.

· Morgan Tsvangirai is leader of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe
The vote need not occur at all of course, as the Movement for Democratic Change won a majority in the previous election, held in March. This is undisputed even by the pro-Mugabe Zimbabwe electoral commission.

For this we need a force to protect the people. We do not want armed conflict, but the people of Zimbabwe need the words of indignation from global leaders to be backed by the moral rectitude of military force. Such a force would be in the role of peacekeepers, not trouble-makers. They would separate the people from their oppressors and cast the protective shield around the democratic process for which Zimbabwe yearns.

Intervention is a loaded concept in today’s world, of course. Yet, despite the difficulties inherent in certain high-profile interventions, decisions not to intervene have created similarly dire consequences. The battle in Zimbabwe today is a battle between democracy and dictatorship, justice and injustice, right and wrong. It is one in which the international community must become more than a moral participant. It must become mobilised.

:) :) :)

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

Pan-Africanists: Our collective duty to Zimbabwe tures/48919om

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

The future of Zimbabwe will be decided in the next few hours, days and weeks and ordinary Zimbabweans will be given no say. Others will decide and they will be presented with a fait accompli.

Mugabe will no doubt have plenty to say and President Tembo Mbeki will see to it that he gets his way. Tsvangirai will be allowed a few face serving concessions (which Mugabe will then contemptuously disregard as usual)! Last year SA hosted talks between Zanu PF and MDC and no other Zimbabweans were invited. The talks were shrouded in such secrecy everybody else was kept in the dark.


Even if at the end of the day the future is decided and their voices are ignored, at least they would have a serious debate!

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

All hail to the new Hitler/Stalin, Mr Mugabe, Africa’s weakest, most incompetent yet effective psycho since the mad axe man.

His criminal insanity cried out for him to be brought down, quickly.

If not he will continue his thuggery, murder and wholesale destruction of any semblance of democracy.

We look on and are horrified at what this monster and devil has done.

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

In reply to Vincent’s post:

Kiss Mr Mugabe’s aspidistra as much as you like, your ignorance and crass blind eyeing of Mubabe abominations is breathtaking.

You are part of the problem!

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

please god arrest mugabe in egypt to stand trial for crimes against humanity.

Posted by jon | Report as abusive

The west seems to regard Africa and her leaders with very little respect, Africans are not culturally the same as the people in the west and I do not think they should be expected to be ruled in the same way, maybe the political system in the west works for westerners but would it work for Africans they just do not have the same values, I think that we should consider what the blacks in Zimbabwe has been through, the many years of British rule where they were driven off their land by the whites and were treated as slaves in their own country then the whites declared UDI and broke away from British rule and the blacks were subjected to the evil and wicked apartheid system, the country went through years of international sanctions and in spite of all this the country some how is still pulling together I think this uncle tom of an opposition leader Morgan whats his name should support his president Robert Mugabe and stop whingeing and help to build up his country. God Bless Zimbabwe

Posted by Earl O'Flaherty | Report as abusive

The Truth,

I see that you white farmers are frustrated.
I make all my points clearly, but (predictably) you all resort to insulting me when you are exposed.

You all automatically assume that I support Mugabe because I expose your lies and evil motives.

The truth is that London and Washington are starving millions of Zimbabweans with economic sanctions because of a few thousand greedy white farmers like you.

It is over. Ian Smith is not coming back. You either accept to live in equality with all other Zimbabweans or go back to Britain.

You had 20 years to share the land, but you were too greedy to share. You wanted to remain landlords paying slave wages to black farm workers (housed them in shacks wile you lived in mansions like kings even though you stole the land from them through rape, torture, and genocide).

The people of Zimbabwe will not allow you British settlers to exterminate them like you did aborigines in Australia and native Indians in North America. They are willing to share the land with you, but you must also be willing to share.

IT IS OVER FOR YOU. Even Tsvangirai is coming to the realization that all you care about is yourselves and not Zimbabwe.

Greedy, evil racists.

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

Vincent go ding you land and eat dust out of it

Posted by Gogo | Report as abusive


Vincent, your grasp of reality and fact are as suspect as your skewed and perverse view of the world.

I am not a farmer – I am a human rights activist.

This has NOTHING to do with colonial plots and it is high time people like you stopped dragging up the ancient, long gone past.

That you keep preaching Mugabe’s diatribe of nonsence, racist claptrap and pure deluded fantasy, is testament to your appalling sense of justice and human rights.

You should be condemning Mugabe!

Have you no mercy for all the people Mugabe has had beaten and murdered?

Fact: Mugabe is a psychotic, murdering monster.

Fact: you have a gun at your head so you cannot agree with me? If you do he will kill you? That is what Mugabe does – he has people killed. Watch your back – he may come after you!

You must think that people are as gullible and facile as your leader if you actually believe that human rights abuses of the worst kind can go unnoticed.

Delusions, lies, misinformation and a woeful ignoring of your own people’s suffering marks you out as a shameless cohort of Mubabe’s mad, bad and dangerous world.

Human rights abuses transcend racism – we witness hate, violence and evil and yet the very evil we see in Mugabe and his supporters, is clumsily subverted by them into a bizarre tit-for-tat game of recrimination and intellectual banbruptcy, which beggars belief.

There is NO justification whatsoever for Mugabe’s actions – he now stands isolated and his fate is sealed.

The writing is not only on the wall – it’s written all over his malicious face.

Be smart – reform your ways and get out of there!

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

To Vincent:

I have seriously no idea why you believe that this election is for the return of Zimbabwe to become a British colony if Tsvangirai is elected.

You say that Western Powers are responsible for the downfall of the Zimbabwean economy because of their economic sanctions and all. While it may be true that the sanctions contribute to its collapse and all. But look at other countries, North Korea, Burma, Iran, Iraq (Pre-invasion) etc, all faced UN sanctions at some point in their history. Did their economies fall in such a drastic fashion? North Korea still hung on, Burma still produced rice before Cyclone Nargis, Iran has a capable economy and Iraq managed to persist until the invasion. So if they mananged to secure their economy despite UN sanctions, you cannot fully push the blame to the Western countries.

Next, you said that the white farmers were greedy people who hoarded land and refused to share their assests. Tell me, isn’t it them who managed the land and actually produced a sizeable quantity of argiculture crops? Sure, they earned the most and appears to do the least work, but so does my boss and perhaps your boss. The people in the top management are the ones who facillitate the entire operation, its no easy task I can tell you, they are responsible for what happens below.

Perhaps Mugabe is right trying to spread equality as most of the top farmers are white, but it is useless without proper education. Would you prefer to send your car for repair at a certfied mechanic or would you like to send it to a baker?

Posted by Maurice | Report as abusive

The Truth

OK let us assume you are a human rights activist.

If you are a hunman rights activist, should you not see things objectively? Can you tell me where I have defended any human rights abuses by Mugabe?

I called you a white farmer because youyr response to me was typical of their respinse: insult anyone who dies not toe the general line of lies and more lies designed to serve the agenda of western governments and their puppets.

If you are a human rights activist, do you not think that the West should not be punishing ordinary Zimbabweans with ECONOMIC SANCTIONS (I have provided proof of these sanctions above)?

Do you think these sanctions affect Mugabe and Tsvangirai? No. It is the ordinary people who cannot feed their families.

Should you not be condemning the deportation of poor Zimbabweans from Britain to Zimbabwe even though conditions there are so bad?

Should you not be condemning the British government for allowing this tragedy to occur by reneging on its obligations regarding land redistribution?

All I hear and see are condemnation of human rights abuses by Mugabe (he should rightly be condemened for abuses), but all the parties involved should also be condemned.

There are no justifications for human rights abuses by any party, be it Mugabe, ZANU, MDC, or anyone.

There are also no justification for economic sanctions that are starving millions of Zimbaweans, turning a whole country into beggars simply because George Bush wants “democratic reforms.”

You cannot expect to be taken seriously as a human rights activist, if you condemn only what the Western media and government want you to condemn and attack anyone who points out the inconsistencies and the real motives behind the propaganda.

You should be on my side instead of insulting me.

I condemn human rights abuses by Mugabe, ZANU-PF, and the MDC.

I also condemn the creaul human sufferings caused by the economic sanctions that are designed to serve the interests of a few members of the elite.

I condemn the USA/British governments for these punishing sanstions.

I condemn the British government for refusing to fulfill its obligations.

I condemn the white farmers for their greed. I condemn the war veterans to their rampant murders and terror.

Can you say the same? Can you condemn all the guilty parties?

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

Since the people of ‘your’ country have been forced to starve and since you fail to strongly admit that Mugabe’s violence is the real problem here, you lose the moral high ground.

Your argument is thin, bald and lacklustre.

It takes guts to cut through the diversionary arguments and address the real problem.

Mugabe is a monster.

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

The Truth,

That is the problem I find with most of you guys.
You prefer to see the issue through your own narrow window: Mugabe is a monster. Full stop. Exactly what the Btitish (Western) media tells you. You do not stop to ask: what is Britain’s involvement here?

You cannot even find the moral fiber to accept that outside forces are involved.

Again, I condemn Mugabe for his alleged violence, torture, and human rights violations. I also condemn the economic sanctions that have impoverished millions of ordinary Zimbabweans.

I challenge you to acquire the moral fiber to condemn all the sides involved.

The Western governments’ strategy is as criminal as Mugabe’s actions because it is designed to starve the people until they are so hungary and poor that they will cast their votes for the West’s chosen candidate.

This is not new. The strategy was tried in Iraq, where 500,000 children died over 10 years (according to United Nations figures).

You say you are a human rights activist, but you are only willing to condemn one side of the story and ignore eveything else.

If human rights workers were willing to criticize Western governments more openly, we would not have all these tragedies around the world.

As we speak, US-sponsored Ethiopian forces are slaughtering Africans in Somalia (we don’t hear human rights activists), the US-backed Ethiopian dictatorship is slaughtering people in the Ogaden region (no human rights activists to shame the US government), the US-backed dictator in Gabon literally owns the country (nobody to call out the USA)…

You all pick and choose who to condemn.

I hear so many “human rights activists” condemning South Africa and Mbeki for not cutting electricity to Zimbabwe (to make the ordinary Zimbabweans suffer even more), but we do not hear anyone calling on the USA and Britain to end the suffering caused by their sanctions.

Again, I challenge you to acquire the moral fiber to condemn all criminal acts, no matter who is perpetrating them…

Posted by Vincent | Report as abusive

Mugabe has called the world’s bluff. In the past he has called on his fellow African leaders to blink first- and without failure they did. Many of them have no democratic credentials of their own; still, this time Mugabe has gone too far, they can close their eyes to his brutal excesses.

The UN and the rest must act decisively against Mugabe now, ahead of the AU meeting on Monday, to stiffen the AU resolve against Mugabe. Let the AU take a lead on this and Mugabe will once again have his way!

The MDC for its part, must hold its nerve. The party was forced to withdraw from the election because of the campaign of violence and murder against its candidate and supporters. It therefore cannot recognise the run-off as anything else but a charade.

The 29 March elections, although there were peaceful compared to past election, still they were not free and fair.

Everyone except Mugabe and his Zanu PF supporters have been calling for a democratic constitution for years now.

Well this is a wonderful opportunity for Zimbabwe to clear the deck, to have a clean start. Disregard the charade of the presidential run-off and put aside the results of the 29 March parliamentary and senatorial election which were not a true reflection of the free will of the people. There should be a six month Interim Government composed of all interested parties in Zimbabwe whose task will be to draft a new constitution and to organise free and fair elections. The government emerging out of this election will have the true mandate to take the tough decision facing Zimbabwe today and thus take the nation forward.

A GNU formed out of Zanu PF and the few elected MDC officials will be a weak and indecisive. What good will it be to Zimbabwe?

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

The are so many double standards which are applied in the world. Yes Tutu seems preoccupied with travelling the world collect acclaudes. Its amazing that the crisis in Zimbabwe are so dire, that the crimes being committed in Iraq, Darfur, Somalia and DRC which have been going on for years have not received so much attention. Zimbabweans have suffered under the already imposed Sanctions under the ZEDRA of 2001. Its amazing that the crimes committed against the farm workers by the former white farmers was worse than Slaves. Tsvangirai is not a saint, and maybe he misread the situation, but the lies coming from the western media is amazing. Its worse than Nazi German, Its militia running amock, drunk and being unruly. Zimbabweans are listening to all the lies and we wont forget, as the gains of independence wont be reversed. Never forget that. Mugabe seems to not get manipulated and that seems to really annony the western world. Intelligent African Leaders are not accepted on the continent. HMS Beecroft shipped out African Kings into exile, so dont even think of shipping anyone out of this country, maybe ship Tsvangirai to Holland because its seems he loves it already. This country is not safe for him, yet he drives around in his fully marked bus and sitting on so close to the windows. The vile and the charade is do clear.

Respect one another. Why fight against one another whilst our resources are being stripped bare, and then we get given AID FROM OUR OWN WEALTH. This is the 21st century, Slave mentality seems to cloud Condi Rice. Being used to speak against African Presidents. Not one African Ambassador gets involved in American politics, its not that your politics in mature, its because you all think you are master and superior, that is the major problem. Lack of leadership not in Zimbabwe, but the world.

Posted by Thuthukani | Report as abusive

Zimbabwe is a beautiful country. Tsvangirai did lets us down, and his utterance are playing to discredit the re-runelections, to tell everyone to votew for Mugabe. He can foil the rest of the world, but not the Zimbabweans as the song they are singing has be rehearsed from Miliband and Rice. Illegitimate Government, but according to the constitution, he cant also declare himself President because he didnt win the require numbers to be President. We all want peace in the country, but the speech being coming out of MDC Camp is for War. Who benefits out of an invasion. Iraq and Afganistan have had war going on for 7years. The lives of the people have not changed. People like Tutu who do as if they spoke against Aparthied yet they were selling the brothers today are making noise for Mugabe to step down, being used again to parrot Western world agenda. Food in this country is not grow by white. They want to feed the people here, yet people in Ethopia are needing urgent attention, the NGOs want to feed the rural people in Zimbabwe.

Posted by Jane | Report as abusive

Wow! Some of the bloggers seem to be “smoking” some powerful stuff.

At the end of the day though:

Zanu pf controls the guns and has the militias, and clearly will use them to retain political control no matter what.

What Zanu Pf does not have is the technical or financial capacity to prevent the country from becomming a subsistence basket case.

For all the crying from Zanu PF about “sanctions” the fact is the West does not have do do anything. The myth that Zimbabwe is of strategic importance to the West is…just a myth. There is no oil and Zimbabwe has no mineral that cannot be obtained from other sources. Tobacco…now a historical crop for Zimbabwe and all the big processors owned by far east companies. The West is like a giant python that is slowly crushing a small rodent (Zanu Pf) and there is no escape from its powerful grip. Zanu Pf a big player in Zimbabwe is nothing on a global scale and the pythons grip will very soon get much tighter.

The white farmers (racist or otherwise) are now a “non-entity” the very few remaining are either Zanu Pf supporters or have made accomodations with Zanu Pf (personally I dont think that free hold land tenure for agricultural land has a place in Africa).

The international media…their facination with Zimababwe is a bit like a morbid reality TV show on a country self-destructing. But if they did not cover the tragedy then there certainly would be a great hue and cry. Biased – maybe? But Zanu Pf have only themselves to blame for this. Banning, chasing and locking up journos is simply stupid! OMG they even lock up the technicians driving a delivery van.

Given that Zanu Pf holds/retains control of the administration but has lost control of the legislature. It is now faced with the challenge of trying to regain control of the legislature – which it will now inevitably do (bump off a few MDC MPs and rig the by-elections). However like it or not it needs legitimacy! Only Zanu Pf can create the conditions that will result in Zimbabwe achieving intenational legitimacy – will it do it? If you listened to Patrick Chinamassa today and his conditions for negotiation with the MDC then they are still far from it.

So Zanu Pf is determined to play out the “end game” – a game they cannot win and one which will result in untold suffering for many Zimbabweans. To use a chess analogy they are in “check” but it is not “check mate” yet….as far as moves well the MDC can wait – they have time on their side and with patience Zanu Pf will have to make the moves and this will play into their hands – like it or not.

Posted by Tashinga | Report as abusive

Hi Tashinga

Thanks for your balanced and sensible comment. I agree with your analysis of the almost complete non-importance of Zimbabwe in global politics, however I didn’t understand why if Zimbabwe is of no strategic importance the West would be bothered to crush the tiny rat of Zanu-PF at all? Is there any definite evidence that the West is involved at all in the current situation in Zimbabwe?

Perhaps I am simply not aware, but I often come across paranoid-delusional-sounding comments about the West’s “behind the scenes” wickedness – never anything to substantiate the claims though! Besides the usual skirmishing expected of any powerful country to responsibly keep a presence in any region for it’s long-term options, what is the evidence that the West is anything more than trying to wash it’s hands of the disaster that is Zimbabwe? (I’m surprised that while Pan-Africanist bloggers are droning their worn-out prattling about the evil West, nobody seems to be noticing that right now China and India are carving Africa up…)

First I thought the “Western interests” comments were just the tired attempt to lay the blame for the failure of Africa to govern itself at the West’s door, but I have occasionally read such comments in quite educated posts, and since I am certainly not “in the know”, I wonder if I am missing something? I thought to ask this of Tashinga because we cannot expect anything sensible from certain other bloggers on this site!

Of course I know that Western powers manipulate countries all over the world, (and the USA are the world’s biggest terrorists by a considerable margin!) but I note that recently in places the West is definitely interested in, they storm in all guns blazing and enforce what they want – in Zimbabwe they don’t need to resort to cloak-and-dagger tactics because the whole region couldn’t keep Zanu-PF in power for 12 hours if Western powers actually wanted it out. Who could stop it? Right now the West has the perfect opportunity to wade in with military intervention and do so with global approval so come out looking like heros even endosed by Afican cultural leaders such as Desmond Tutu – and they’re not taking it! In my opinion if the West has an ageda of weakening Zimbabwe to destabilise the region then it should only try to keep the embarrassingly imcompetent ruling party in power because Zimbabwe is straining and weakening the whole of Southern Africa!

Is there really any firm evidence that the West has anything more than a mild interest in Zimbabwe?

For the rabid crazies out there ready to scream the usual rhetoric about my point of view being formed by Western media, I am a Zimbabwean – no poliical expert, but well aware that political interference is to be expected by dominant powers anywhere in the world so I’m not really buying the “Western Imperialism” nonsense any more. That was history and time has moved on… In my opinion the greatest threat to Africa is Africa’s failure to deal with its own problems – ever looking to childishly blame internal incompetence and disgraceful corruption on historical injustices in the fading past, as if now-mighty countries (eg Japan) never had to recover from wars, occupancy or disaster within the same timescale Zimbabwe has nose-dived so spectacularly…

Refreshing to read a sensible post as yours was Tashinga.



Posted by Gordon | Report as abusive

Moral rectitude, the law, human rights, honesty, sanity, grace, mercy, peace, care, affection and respect have been trampled and smashed by Robert Mugabe.

Some posts here choose to gloss over this emphatically obvious fact.

Remove Mugabe and stop all violence and intimidation: why is that not a good idea?

Civilised behaviour is marked out by treating other people with respect, dignity and fairness.

If leaders cannot manifest the above, then they are UNFIT for their job and must be removed from office as soon as possible.

However, Mugabe is criminally insane and has become a highly dangerous man with the morals of a maniac.

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

I am actually sick and tired of all this incompetent spineless so-called African leaders want-to-be who crack and run at the mere sound of a firecracker. Robert Mugabe took the steps he took because he knows Morgan Tsvangirai will eventually run and hide. Africa is going through a faze right now that requires leaders that are willing to sacrifice everything including their lives if need be, for the benefit to move us to civilized citizens. The Mugabe’s of Africa must and should be eradicated by all means necessary, and to do that, we need true African leaders that are not scared to give their all. Tsvangirai, you should have stayed at home and we all would have stayed home with you.

Posted by Timi George | Report as abusive


Thanks for your comments. In reply:

I think one of the problems that we have in dealing with the West is our lack of understanding of Western motivations. We often bemoan the fact that the West does not understand Africa but having lived briefly in the US I firmly believe that WE do not understand the West either. The question why western countries care about Zim when there is no strategic reason to do so is interesting and in my opinion not just a single easy answer. But here are a couple of points:

1. Contrary to the comments of Bright Matonga the other day western countries particularly the Scandinavian countries contributed significantly both materially and financially to ZAPU and ZANU during the liberation struggle. The issue of human rights is a very big one in the west (especially in Europe)- it is a moral/human rights/democracy issue and I think Zimbabweans underestimate the importance of this to them. especially western Europe and particulalrly the Nordic countries.

2. Zimbabwe has not always been a pariah state. In fact for the first 15 years of its existence it was held up as the model for Africa and an example of pragmatic governance and reconcilliation for post Apartheid South Africa. This status brought with it large amounts of bilateral and multi lateral aid from western governments and financial institutions. But when Zimbabwe started abusing its own citizens the public opinion in the west forced the scaling back of funding to Zimbabwe

3. In 1980 Zimbabwe played an important role in cold war politics – not as a player but as neutral ground. As a Zimbabwean you might have wondered why in the 1980′s were there so many east and west european diplomatic missions in Harare? Much of the espionage and exchanges between east and west were brokered in Harare. With the end of the cold war almost all of the eastern european missions have merged or closed down. However, Zimbabwe continued to play an important role as a regional hub for many international organisations and NGOs. So the international community have a reasonable understanding of Zimbabwe, what it has been and perhaps what it could be.

4. The Uk obviously has a particular interest in Zimbabwe. But it is presumtious to say this is due to latent colonial ambitions. The British response to Mugabe has reached a point where they will no longer accept him as the President of Zimbabwe things between the UK and Mugabe are now personal. Whether this is right or wrong is not going to make any difference and I doubt there is anything that will change this – not even Morgan T. The complaint that the UK and US exhibit double standards will not make one iota difference either – the world is full of double standards. As I said previously they do not have to do anything and they can control the pressure as they like. One possible response that we have not seen yet but it could still happen is for Zanu Pf to expel all British/US nationals – stupid move but it could happen – has happened before.

5. The US – they follow the British lead on Zimbabwe – but may take a harder line when Obama is elected President.

Your point on military intervention – the West will only intervene militarily if the lives of their nationals are threatened. Yes they could defeat the ZNA very quickly – but the West is casualty averse and Europeans and Americans don’t care that much about Zimbabwe. Their pubic would argue “cut the funds impose sanctions sure” but send our boys in – No! The other factor is that they would need the support from at least one SADC country from which to launch an invasion – who?

No it will be the economy and the lack of international credibility and legitimacy that will bring down the Mugabe regime – possibly sooner than we think.

Posted by Tashinga | Report as abusive

I am completely guttered by the UN’s failure to condemn Mugabe’s political machinations. No doubt the AU meeting on Monday will rubber stamp his election.

Nelson Mandela recently spoke of “the tragic failure of leadership”, here the failure is both north and south of the Limpopo River. Mugabe’s failed leadership is well established. For President Mbeki, (on the Zimbabwe crisis at least) it is a failure of omission; it was SA that opposed a stronger condemnation of Mugabe by the UN.

Zimbabwe’s hope of end Mugabe’s new presidential term to a quick end now is if the G8 meeting in Japan soon take a firm stance against Mugabe’s regime. Mugabe’s Achilles Heel remains the Zimbabwe economic which has been in free fail for the last few years now. The G8 can impose political and economic sanctions of the regime and cut aid to all its neighbours who continued to assist it. It will not take much; the national economy is already in an advanced state of paralysis already.

Zimbabweans themselves can also do a lot to help bring about the economic collapse. It is the ordinary Zimbabweans themselves who have kept the economy ticking over although it is Mugabe and his cronies who have creamed off the wealth generated. It is the ruling elite who will stand to lose and suffer the waste if fuel supplies are completely cut, for example.

Zimbabweans have been drilled into the belief, first by the white colonial regime and now by Mugabe’s, that they are totally helpless and at the complete mercy of the government of the day. This saved Smith and Mugabe self saving interests well as we all know. We must start to believe in ourselves if we are ever to be masters of our own destiny!

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

Another African success story…even a broken clock is right twice a day…this broken clock is the only exception.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive


Take heart. This is a battle that Mugabe and ZanuPf cannot win. Those in SADC and the AU that are happy to feed Zimbabwe to the “Great Hyeana” and his dogs will be remembered. This will indeed be recorded in history as a period of great shame for our continent and its inability to reolve its own problems.

It will also be recorded as a period of great heroism for the Zimbabwean people who have faced the most brutal leader in the world and stood up to him armed only with peaceful resistence.

Posted by Tashinga | Report as abusive

The Pan-African parliament observer team have said the presidential run-off election was not free and fair and therefore there should be a rerun. Mugabe has been in power for 28 years and has yet to hold free and fair elections. The level of violence, intimidation, etc used against his political opponents and critics have got progressively worse with each successive elections. In the past African election observer teams have down played Mugabe’s excesses and reported of the elections as being “largely” free and fair. Not so this time.

The AU has craved the image that the continent is perfectly capable of running its own affairs. Africa is the poorest continent in the world and yet it is also one of the riches in terms of natural resources and economic potential. It used to be the norm to blade white colonial oppression and exploitation for this disparity but with many countries in their third or fourth decade after independence that excuse is frankly wearing very thin. The truth in far is that most countries were economically better off before independence than they are now.

Africa’s problem is one of bad governance; corrupt and undemocratic leaders who once in office have plundered their nation’s wealth and would cheat, rig and, yes, even kill to remain in power. African leaders have grudgingly accepted this but, typically, have resisted outside pressure for reforms claiming they will deal with this themselves. They elected to use peer pressure; African leaders leaning on a fellow African leader who falls out of line. So the AU came up with its guidelines on the conduct of elections, for example, and routinely sends its own Pan African parliament observer team to monitor elections.

The Pan-African parliament observer team have now reported its finds and made its recommendation. The challenge now is to see whether or not the AU will act. The AU has repeatedly failed to act, but this time is own team of observers condemn the election, a very, very rare act of honesty and common sense by any AU organ. So will the African Leaders at the AU summit refuse to welcome Mugabe in their midst or will there be the usual blast of hot air blowing in Sharm el- Sheikh, Egypt!

Posted by Wilbert Mukori | Report as abusive

Im a Zimbabwean who is totally behind the Land Reform Programme. But the problem comes when we start talking about the sanctions.
Tsvangirai did right by withdrawing from the 27June run off elections. otherwise he saved the lives of many who had fallen victims of the political violence in the country.
However, Zimbabwe felt the embarassment of being led by a mentally retarded President who contested in the elections alone, declared himself the President and quickly rushed to the AU summit in Egypt.
He is such a shame, stubborn and a disgrace to the Zimbabwean citizens who trusted him most.
However, there is much need for Mr Tsvangirai to politically mature because he has political deficiency and we cant be led by such a leader. We need a well vexed leader like the 1980-97Mugabe who no longer exists.
Mugabe is old and now he thinks like a baby…please may someone rescue Zimbabwe from this mess.
Cant remember the last time i ate a decent meal because of this aged baby.

Posted by Mamoza | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see