Britain is shoring up Robert Mugabe's oppressive regime: It shouldn't

After almost four decades in power, Robert Mugabe's vice-like grip on Zimbabwe seems to be slipping. There have been public sector strikes and street protests. The economy is shattered and the state coffers are empty, the government struggling to find funds even to pay security forces that shore up a calamitous regime. And the doddery 92-year-old despot is being deserted by key allies with calls for his departure amid a savage internal battle to succeed the President.

The latest sign of waning control came last week with a statement by war veterans attacking him as dictatorial and egocentric. For decades, these former comrades who led the disastrous seizure of white farms were the people so quick to defend Mugabe with violence. Now they claim they regret keeping quiet while citizens were abused, condemning suppression of free expression and accusing their President of corruption. "This rot needs to be uprooted, and right now," they said.

Zimbabwe has become a perfect graveyard of buried hopes. Although hunger is a stark reality, the real tragedy is not going for a day without a meal, the real tragedy is the poverty of our aspirations and the death of our hope. It is easy for those who are eating on behalf of us to romanticise poverty, to see poor people as inherently lacking agency and will. More often than not those in higher places have blamed the ordinary young person for failing to be entrepreneurial and to take charge of their sorry state.

Mugabe’s ‘Hit and Run’ – Taken from the Zimbabwe Vigil Diary:

19th March 2016:

President Mugabe, stung by the growing opposition of war veterans, complained at a rally in Bindura ‘some of you are going as far as China telling them that we need a new leader’.

The comment is ironic given reports that the nonagenarian is soon to go on yet another jaunt to the Far East – this time to Tokyo – which some might think shows that Zimbabwe does not need this leader at all. The Herald will no doubt tell us that the trip is as important as the Indian cultural festival that Mugabe used as a pretext last week to go to Singapore to see his doctors. But what credulity has the Herald?

The beautiful landlocked country of Zimbabwe has had its fair share of perennial political, economic and social woes. Most problems have stemmed from political and economic short-sightedness. Something has to be done to restore order and the rule of the law.

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