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Mugabe is Racist

Anu Anand | 16:32 UK time, Monday, 17 September 2007

We're OFF AIR now, but you can follow the debate if you SCROLL DOWN to the end of this blog post. We've had a few technical problems with the blog today. So we've put all the comments together at the end of this post.

The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu has called Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe 'the worst kind of racist dictator', and likened him to the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin. He said Britain's prime minister Gordon Brown should lead a coalition of countries in mounting stricter international sanctions against Zimbabwe and said the time for 'African solutions' is over. Here's the storyin full. Until now, criticism of Robert Mugabe from outside Zimbabwe has come largely from white, western leaders. Dr. Sentamu himself fled Idi Amin's Uganda. Is he right about Robert Mugabe?

We're trying our best to get Dr. Sentamu on the programme today. Meanwhile, here's a very personal piece by former Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda defending Mr. Mugabe.


"There's no Belgian language. There's no Belgian nation. There's no Belgian anything," according to Filip Dewinter of the extreme Flemish nationalist party, Vlaams Belang.

Not everyone in Belgium supports his party, but recent polls suggest there is alot of support for an independent Flanders, the larger, wealthier Dutch-speaking part of Belgium. Belgium has just over 10 million people, and 11 local parties in parliament. There is no single national politician or national identity between Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia. The Economist magazine recently said it's time to abolish Belgium, calling it "a freak of nature". What other countries would you break up? Is it time to say 'au revoir' Canada? Dis-unite the United Kingdom? Since Czechoslovakia managed a "velvet divorce," why not end the vows of Spain's Catalans, Basques, Galicians and Castilians?

Here's the story in full.

COMMENTS WE'VE RECEIVED TODAY (not posted on the usual comments area today due to technical problems):

Zaphod Beeblebrox used it as a dirty word in times of frustration. Some people just can't handle pluralism. Whether in life or philosophy, and a homogenous nation seems the only way.
Dr Alan Marshall

Blog's not working today

I don't know what effect the EU's ruling will have on Microsoft. What I do know is that no try falls with one swing of the axe, and no dam breaks until the last drop can no longer be held back.

Microsoft is reeling internally. Vista is a giant flop. I know of no professionals who recommend installing it. Dell bought an extra 100,000 copies of XP from Microsoft to maintain the availability to offer it.

Throw in with it that free versions of operating systems such as Ubuntu and Linspire are becoming very user friendly. More companies are making software and hardware compatible for them. Also since Mac has switched to an Intel processor, writing for the new Mac machines is not relatively as different as developing for the Windows O/S.

It would be a great day when MS looses its grip of dominance on the information industry. The questions is what is the EU going to do with the money. I recommend that they use it to buy a few hundred thousands units without Microsoft on them. Instead, they can install one of the leading free flavors of Linux. Then they can fill classrooms wit the new units and break the circle of comfort the windows has attained. Maybe one can go on to develop a drafting program to rival AutoCAD, and I can get rid of my windows permanently.

Lord of logic

What will separation of Belgium accomplish? What is the real motivation for each group? Joe, Cleveland, USA

"In the world to come, they will not ask me 'why were you not Moses?' They will ask me, 'why were you not Zusya?'" -Zusya of Hanipoli



Listening to your guests what the Wallonians and the Flemish peoples have in common is that they both speak English, so why doesn't Belgium adopt English as its official language and then just get on with life!





I am sorry, but once again I have had to turn off whys -- the last time I did this was back when you had all the young people on from India for a week, and you could not keep them from all shouting at once. It was impossible to actually track what they were saying because of the overlapping sound and the anxiety-producing tone. I think you overestimate your listeners stomach for this kind of aural assault. It's too much like am-talk radio, with no one listening and everyone shouting. Your moderator today is making an attempt to get people to listen to each other, but if they won't and won't stop shouting hysterically, she should just say "Thank you for your input" and go to another caller. It was clear from today's shouter that he was going to interpret everything anyone said as patronizing -- we were never going to get beyond that. And he wasn't going to let anyone finish a sentence. Stop beating a dead horse and move on. You have a whole world full of listeners and contributors. Listen to Neal Conan to see how it's done. Your show is new, very ambitious, and exciting. But too often it's an auditory and emotional train wreck. The whole nature of radio is that your listeners are usually multi-tasking, even if the only other task is driving. I couldn't listen to this program about Mugabe, or the ones about the roles of women in India, and not worry about driving off the road -- it felt like no one was in control of the radio, so I had to keep shouting at it --"Shut up! Let him finish! Get a grip! Take it down a notch! Put a sock in it!" Not good.

Anyway, I hope you take this in the right spirit -- am rooting for your program to succeed. It's a much-needed window on the world -- here in Oregon we feel a little less removed from reality when we tune in. But there need to be some grown-ups in charge at the party.

Thanks for your good work.

Nancy Winbigler
Lake Oswego, Oregon

I think that the 3 Western states of the U.S.A. should break away from the union. It is a diverse and progressive people and the Federal Government drags it backwards.

JC in Santa Cruz

It's obviously that Zimbabwe is strongly against the West, so the West should leave them alone. The whole of Africa is backing Zimbabwe so leave them be. No sanctions no nothing!

Paul Mitchell, Jamaica


If Mr Mutonga is really Assistant Minister of Information it's only too easy to understand how the malign incompetence of ZANU-PF is destroying his country. Perhaps you could ask Tererai to give him a few useful hints on how to perform his Ministerial functions.

Owen Beith

Yet again African leaders blame everyone but themselves for the demise of their country(s) - the people of Sierra Leone recognised that they had been better off under colonial rule and asked the British to remain when they went there as part of a UN mission to rescue the country from their dictatorial rulers. Mugabe is the worst kind of blinkered self serving corrupt greedy myopic thief who has no interest in the people of Zimbabwe but only in lining his & his own henchmen's pockets - look at the recent BBC reporter's visit to Harare and all the people in poverty and their 'rulers' large estates. Are 4 million Zimababwians in south Africa wrong? NO & sadly it seems M'Beki would appear to be going down the same route - let them eat cake appears to be replaced with let them eat beetroot!

Yet again an excellent programme with a worthwhile debate.

Andy Robinson

That guy defending Mugabe really loves playing the victim card, to preserve the power of a dictator, everything is europe's fault. 400 years in the future, and dictators like Mugabe are still in power, will it still be the west's fault? At one point will the african leaders look at themselves and see the problem? These leaders want power to badly they will allow their people to suffer for their megalomania.




As usual this program (WHYS) is at the leading edge of British imperialistic designs.

After the horror which has befallen Iraq, thanks to the Anglo-American axis' illegal invasion, you have the temerity to bring up invasions of Darfur and Zimbabwe. Do you have no shame? Not that I do not feel for the suffering peoples in these regions, but the whole notion of "regime change" has the effect of dictators clamping down on the local folks.

Change in regimes is, first and foremost, the province of the local people. Furthermore, regional neighbours should be brought into political exchanges rather than some distant former colonial powers wanting to use force.

Of course, the archbishop's comments are welcome, because free-speech is important to be heard.

Wasn't there a Zimbabwean Catholic Archibishop, who was quite critical of the Zimbabwean regime, found out to be carrying on with the women folk of his parish, also called sexual trysts? So much for these people of the cloth!

Have a nice day.



Hello World Have Your Say,

I heard you say last week that you would be broadcasting from Phoenix in the next couple of months or so. I would be interested in hearing a show about the water crisis that Pheonix is causing downstream on the Colorado as well as their own impending crisis. I recently read a book by Fred Pearce called When the Rivers Run Dry in which he predicts that Phoenix will be the first city in the US to have their plumbing system collapse due to the water shortage that the city itself has helped cause. If you can locate some water experts who are educated on this area, I think you would have a very interesting subject there. I take an interest because we in southern Idaho will be right behind them in having our reservoirs and aquifers dry up as our cities continue to grow. But, as I found from this fascinating book, water shortage is a global crisis that does not get nearly enough coverage.


Regular WHYS listener
Twin Falls, ID

Hello WHYS,
I come from California, considered one of the fastest growing "green" regions in States and the world. But what is Britian's "global warming" policy? If it takes an active role to curb global warming, how is it attempting to curb the human impact we are having on the earth and would ever try to resurge the Kyoto Treaty?

What does he think Turkey needs to achieve inorder to be granted membership into the EU? What cultural differences that keep Turkey from entering the EU? What would he define as Europe? Could he name what he thinks to be the boundries?

Eric, San Francisco

Ok, some nations were contrivances by former colonial powers, take Iraq for example or Yugoslavia, but where does it end. Does every little region and tribe feel that a rush of patriotic independence should ultimately lead to it creating its own state? Such little 'nations' cannot survive on their own and become just as artificial as the conglomerate it was once a part of. Montenegro is learning what it is like to go its own way from Serbia, but that spilt is showing up its economic shortcomings and how they are solving such a crisis has not been well accepted by the people who end up short-changed by the experience. Perhaps some regions should break up, but then again you have the problem where once free to pursue their national desires still quibble about what lands they have been left with and rekindle old hostilities about who took what and did what to whom.


Robert Mugabe is treated so well by African leaders as these other supposedly democratic and not so democratic African leaders either have vested interests in Zimbabwe and gain from his continued presence or they feel that if they intervene on behalf of Zimbabweans then that leaves the door open for them to be ousted in similar circumstances. It would set a dangerous precedent for the continent to have a corrupt and ruthless dictator removed from power. No one wants to rock the boat. Add to that it tends to underscore the fact that this was a totally African problem and the former colonial masters cannot be blamed which has been a great excuse (as Mugabe himself constantly uses) to divert attention from the real cause of a nation's problems. This club of African leaders is all about self-preservation.


Hi dearest Anu and to all my good friends in WHYS! Hi to all WHYS good listeners! I'm totally against the idea of the sanctions in general! We in Iraq have experienced very harsh sanctions for 13 years from 1990 till 2003, those sanctions had hurt only the Iraqi people and hadn't affect Saddam's regime much! The change must come from the inside of Zimbabwe,not from the outside! The people of Zimbabwe must push towards the change! With my love! Lubna in Baghdad!

There is Belgian beer, albeit pretty bad stuff.

Rob Briggs
School Bus Driver Extraordinaire


Mugabe is just a bad person. He started off by killing thousands of fellow blacks in Matebeleland in the 1980s before going after white people.

Chester Mapala,
Lusaka, Zambia

Britain stills behaves as though it is still a global power. The money spent on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the nuclear submarines could be better spent on improving public services in the UK.

Chester Mapala,
Lusaka, Zambia

Belgium is a raw deal for the more prosperous Flemish people who subsidise the French-speaking Walloons in the same way the Southeast of England bankrolls the whole UK economy.

Chester Mapala,
Lusaka, Zambia


As a bilingual Belgian, I completely disagree with the analysis of the Economist.
The crisis we are going through here is really made up and fomented by politicians and the media. The regular citizens, in their large majority, do not wish the country to be parted. They do not care. All they want is to make a decent living, to have some hope for the future and to be able to enjoy life, to buy a house, a car, to sent the kids to proper schools, to go on holiday every once in a while... like everywhere.
Personally, I think it would be suicidal to separate our tiny country! We are so small, so insignificant that it does make no sense to become even smaller and more insignificant.
Moreover, times do change. For about 130 years, Wallonia was the rich part of the country, since 40 - 45 years, Flanders is the wealthy and dynamic region, but it will change again in 10, 20 or 30 years.
On top of it, how do we settle the problem of our capital, Brussels?
It is located in Flanders but 85% of its inhabitants are francophone.
And what kind of independent republic will we get here in Flanders? A fascist one or an far-right one?
And why should I, as an Antwerpener, have to live with people from Ghent or Bruges? They have another mentality and a weird accent when they speak! Why not go back to the Middle-Ages and create independant city-States???
Please BBC, be careful, you do not know how much harm the media inflict by relaying those stupid nationalistic ideas in the age of globalisation. They will only lead to quarrels, dissension, if not war. There are already enough of them around the world.

Isabelle Grynberg,
Antwerp, Belgium

Given his ethnic origins it is not surprising that Sarkozy proposes war against Iran. It won't be long before he urges NATO to invade the West bank and Gaza in order to wipe out all Palestinians.

[Prof] Joseph H Hulse


Its true mugabe is the worst dictator & the SADC leaders hav let the Zimbabweans down

Sanctions are a non-starter. To think that Mugabe is a dictator only exposes the Ugandan Bishop s ignorance! Ouma Samuel, UGANDA

The African Chairman J.A.Kuffour has been strangely Silent over the Zimbambwean's issue. Why? - Ana.

Mugabe & his men had started a jonny 4 independence demo Zimbabwe should not relent in dealing with anyone or group of people who obstruct democracy. Africa should follow suit - Majid

Sanctions are like open-heart surgery: u have to freeze the patient & stop the heart for the operation to succeed. Sanctions can drain people but can also cause freedom. Mark

The problem in Zimbabwe is not Mugabe but British imperialism & the western sponsored illegal sanctions. If the sanctions are lifted the problems in Zimbabwe w

It's very optimistic to see a good educated person defend such a failed government. Mr Matonga you have to think before you say. Ibrahim from libya.


I think because I am african i should suport mugabe, he should be criticised he has ruined the country. I was with a friend last week in South Africa and he was buying detergent to take back home. Sanctions will not help. Mugabe should go that's the solution. - Carol,journalist kenya

British Raj. Some countries may have been in a better state under the Brits, but only the masters benefitted, not local people. Also, countries such as India have done extremely well after Independance. The rest of us will get there in time. - Ivy, kenya

I really wonder if Mutonga knows how ridiculous he sounds. How can you defend a system that's killing its own people.

With all the pressure the west has been piling, African leaders look away. When disaster strikes we blame the west for dragging its feet on Zimbabwe. Shame on the AU From Isaac in Bo , Sierra Leone

My name is Uswege Mwaipyana from Tanzania, I think Mugabe is a mere racist and responsible for the hell Zimbabwe is going through.

Why doesn't Bishop Sentamu advocate for British assistance to poor Zimbabweans bypassing the government as they do to Palestine. I hope it is not racism.

I take exception to any attack on Zimbabwe that is so blind to know that land is central to any economic malaise on the country. P. CHINTHULI MALAWI

Zimbabwe will continue in its present hell because Mugabe, like all dictators, and out of self preservation must hang on to power until, like late Abacha of Nigeria, is struck off the scene by the all merciful God. Johnson, Lagos

Mugabe and power are till death do us apart - no solution in sight - dictators are removed by external force not by external words

I realy doubt an african intellectual capacity 2 handle complex issues is it genes or social - Mali in Zambia


He needs to stand down and stand trial. Things grow worse from day to day and the cities continue to rot and services are fast collapsing. People say he's trying to emulate the planned starvation brought about in parts of the world to do away with his detractors. The farms have been handed to cronies who are known as weekend farmers and production is way down on necessary levels. Mr. Matonga is hardly the most eminent of fair minded people as every Zimbabwean is well aware of. It is incredible that someone can defend such a cruel and hard hearted dictator who has destroyed this amazing land. It is incredible that Matonga has the audacity to be such a buffoon on air on a british radio station. Atilla with none from a darkened Harare. He needs to stand down and stand trial. Things grow worse from day to day and the cities continue to rot and services are fast collapsing. People say he's trying to emulate the planned starvation brought about in parts of the world to do away with his detractors. The farms have been handed to cronies who He needs to stand down and stand trial. Things grow worse from day to day and the cities continue to rot and services are fast collapsing. People say he's trying to emulate the planned starvation brought about in parts of the world to do away with his detractors. The farms have been handed to cronies who are known as weekend farmers and production is way down on necessary levels. Mr. Matonga is hardly the most eminent of fair minded people as every Zimbab

BELGIUM splits in2 2 Countries? Which bit leaves the EU? BRUSSELS? One Nation EUROPA: Ein Reich; ein Volk; ein F~hrer! It didn t stop Hitler. Worse 2 come. Josh

I d like to ask Mr. Mutamba why so many people have fled Zimbabwe? adam in portland,or,usa

How do we put sanctions on Zimbabwe without harming the poor people of that country? Adam in portland,or, usa


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