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Why don't we put Robert Mugabe on trial?

Mark Urban | 22:25 UK time, Friday, 20 June 2008

Why don't we put Robert Mugabe on trial? Well, there is a legalistic answer and there are all the other ones, the more political ones.

Legally, Zimbabwe did not sign up to the International Criminal Court. What's more, referring the country's senior officials to it would require a resolution of the United Nations Security Council. Talking to Judge Richard Goldstone (Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal 1994-1996) tonight, he feels that the main obstacles to such a UN resolution would be China, which has lucrative arms and mineral deals with Zimbabwe, as well as Russia.

There are other ways that legal actions could be pursued against Mr Mugabe of course. His own people might put him on trial when he is finally removed from office. And - remember the Pinochet precedent - someone might launch a legal action against him in a national court were he ever foolish enough to travel to certain countries.

When it comes to the political reasons for avoiding a trial, one might be simply that the best way to ease Mr Mugabe from power is for the opposition to negotiate an arrangement that would include immunity from prosecution. Some even speculate that the prospect of a trial may have convinced Zimbabwe's hard line security chiefs that they have no option other than to ensure that Mr Mugabe is returned to office.

If Zimbabwean opposition leaders chose to make a deal with the president in order to get him to step down, is that wrong? Is it acceptable to forsake the chance to try him for what has happened in this election campaign if doing so might save many more lives in the future? And what if the deal unravelled? This is what has happened to Charles Taylor, the former Liberian leader who thought he had negotiated immunity and a cushy retirement in Nigeria but has subsequently found himself on trial in Sierra Leone.

International criminal justice is still poorly developed, and the prospects for success against Mr Mugabe unclear. By remaining in office, of course, the president retains the powers of a head of state - including his army. He knows that the outside world is very unlikely to invade in order to depose him. It would be virtually impossible to get an enabling Security Council resolution (expect another Chinese veto). Key neighbours such as South Africa which would be required to cooperate in any invasion of land-locked Zimbabwe and they would be very unlikely to do so. Those problems might sound familiar from Kosovo or even Iraq - and at the moment the key international players lack the will for more projects on that scale.


  • Comment number 1.

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  • Comment number 2.

    Do you feel complicate in Murder?

    Well I thought it would never happen to me, but it has. I bow my head in shame.
    I had thought; how could rational people not protest at hitler (lower case due to my belief) and make something happen? I find myself totally gutted and wondering what I should do.
    There is no hiding the fact that I know about what is happening in Zimbabwe and yet I sit here having a drink on a Friday night. I am disgusted with myself.

    So Ok I am the lowest of the low. So what about my country leadership?

    Why cant the 'International' community pay for the south African nations to sort this out? We can't pay them cash because that would be mercenary, but could we work with the African nations and pay for fuel, vehicles etc and also pensions (no cash payments so they are not seen as mercenaries) for the poor people who give their lives.

    In summary I am discussed with myself and also with my government. They can not go in directly, they cant pay mercenaries, but what about support?



  • Comment number 3.

    Do you feel complicate in Murder?

  • Comment number 4.

    Zimbabwe is not unique in Africa - a lot has happened and is happenning in africa that has gone unnoticed at all. Kenya had the same political killings as Zimbabwe after the disputed election and a lot more people died and thousands displaced, Darfur, Chad, Somalia and again Kenya now in the Mount Elgon region people are being killed and this is not reported on. You cannot expect us to have faith in the international community to do much as some worse situatuion are also going unnoticed. l know people who have been killed by Zanu and some who have been killed by MDC and are not reported on. The reporting in the media presents a scenario of all people supporting MDC yet there are people who do ot support Zanu and do not necessarily support MDC. We also know of Tsvangirai's shortcomings and weakenesses.

    Mugabe and Tsvangirai have serous ideological differences - a government of national unity will only serve the leadeship and do very little for the ordinary suffering people of Zimbabwe. who goes into this government of national unity from Zanu. They have robbed the nation of its wealth and resources, they will continue to prosper whilst everbody else suffers.

    Where has a government of national unity worked - the Kenya one is shrouded in problems, furthermore the economy of African countries are in no position to support these governments as we see from Kenya.

    lts either Mugabe goes - l bet you he is not going now - the only way Mugabe will go is violently, thats the language he understands. MDC should have stood up and refused to accept the results - that was the biggest opportunity it had of winning - but instead tsvangirai spent time running around the world for what - monitors that Zanu was not going to let in. He should have stood with the masses for what they believed in. When the violence started people found themselves with no leader to turn to for guidance - up to now people feel that was the biggest let down.

    If Zanu wanted Tsvangirai dead they would have killed him a long time ago - like they did with a lot more other people who opposed or they felt were a threat.

    DICTATORS ARE GOT RID OF BY VIOLENCE THATS WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN - How long was Saddam in power for and how did he go.

    The notion that its all about Mugabe just shows how a lot of reporters and commentators are naive about Zimbabwe - there are strong ministers and generals who influence a lot of the happennings in Zimbabwe and they stand to lose a lot. They will do anything and everything in their power to stay in power.


  • Comment number 5.

    Hey let's get all touchy feely and well chilled Chardonnay about this.I saw a man who put a finger up to a Country who milked his people dry.....What does the average Sun reader in Britain know about freedom and Democracy?Little...Methinks.

  • Comment number 6.

    Why don't we put BBC on trial?........the tail end of a war machine if you ask me.....

  • Comment number 7.

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  • Comment number 8.

    I think you miss my point or ignored it which is fine by me, but I have a serious problem with my country of which I am a part.
    Yes the world is not fair, I am an adult and so dont expect the UK gov to agree with my personal points, HOWEVER since when has murder been OK?
    I am sitting here listening to genocide, now tell me ANY SITUATION in which this is justified as a UK citizen and I will join Korean



  • Comment number 9.

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  • Comment number 10.

    There was once a country called Uganda. It's people felt pride in the developments taking place. Education was at a high level for Africa, and families were stable, living moral and often Christian lives. Enter Idi Amin! Whatever he did, the world did nothing save wring its hands piously. Even after the gallant Israeli rescue of its citizens in Entebbe, the world just continued to ignore the suffering of Uganda's people. When finally Amin lost power, he was received by Saudi Arabia and free to live there. The Saudi excuse was that he was a Moslem. The truth is that like the West, the Saudis were craven hypocrites. Will the Mugabe saga follow the same vein?

  • Comment number 11.

    Whilst it's inconceivable to many in the developed world that many countries with populations with very low levels of literacy/educability (most of sub-Saharan Africa is almost childlike in this respect), more effort should be made to grasp why they may require authoritarian systems of government until they can change their differential fertility rates and demographics. If one looks at neighbours which have gone 'liberal-democratic' in recent times, one can see what happens when idealism (or cynical opportunism) triumphs over realism. Many of these countries aren't ready for liberal-democracy, and as it can't be fast-tracked though education, education, education, they need a variant of 'democratic centralism' as a modus vivendi. China is Zimbabwe's best bet for the foreseeable future, and the rest of the developed world should perhaps acknowledge that.

  • Comment number 12.


    Blimey JJ, now that IS laying it on the line.
    Do you have those gold cuffs that deflect bullets as well?

  • Comment number 13.

    Why did my #9 get pulled?

    I have no email to explain why.

  • Comment number 14.

    I think what I said in #9 was that Mugabe feeds off the racist hatred that he has for the west. Therefore Brown being too prominent may play to the domestic market but may be counter productive as it gives Mugabe a focus that boosts his party morale.

    I can't see Zimbabwe being economically viable and therefore would suggest to #4 MATIBAYA that its economic factors that will take Mugabe down not military ones. If Zanu-PF members are going hungry and don't see a future then his days are numbered.

    #11. I could not agree less. There are plenty of well educated people in Zimbabwe. Once a dictator has power its pretty hard to get them out. If China were to help bring peace then thats fine by me. But I don't see that happening.

  • Comment number 15.

    According to 14 its the economy that will bring Mugabe down - l doubt that very much, Zanu has always looked out for its own since the 80s. When there was drought in Zim in the 80s Zanu made sure its own are well fed and everybody else after. Land is the biggest issue and Zanu will always play the land game. In the 90s when the ex combatants became forceful once again and got paid Z$50 000, they had started complaining that its 20 years into independence whats happenning with land. Mugabe had to respond - thats were the power in Zim lies.

    You hear of people starving in Zim, but if you look into this its particular areas because some areas always have enough rains.

    Zim economy has been on the down since the 80s when they implimented Economic Structural Adjustment. To appease his people the ex combatants got paid, and we re let to run riot grabbing farms.

    People around him will not let Bob go, because they stand to lose - they have robbed the country dry, murdered years. ln the 80s just after independence a lot of people were killed for supporting UANC and Zanu Ndonga - the world took no notice because Mugabe was popular then. These troubles in Zim are new to the world, not to us who have been losing relations all the way since Zanu came power.

    Zanu wants to hand over to another Zanu so they live the way they are used to and not be held to account.


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  • Comment number 17.

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  • Comment number 18.

    #15 MATIBAYA

    My rationale was that Zan-PF are like the old Soviet Union. They are not in step with what their people need and are not benevolent enough to invite wide support. What took the Soviet Union down was not missiles but "collapsing under their own contradictions". They went bust and fell apart.

    Charles Taylor went after other African nations applied the pressure. There is hope is all I am saying. I am not experiencing the trauma you are I know, so its easy to say.

    You know MUCH better than me what is happening in Zimbabwe. Zanu-PF elites are eating today but what does the future hold? How likely are they to experience faction splitting and an internal bloodbath? People must be looking over Mugabes shoulder by now.

    Even if you win militarily - and it might come to that - the country would be rapped up in civil war for years.

    #17 JadedJean

    I have contempt for your views.

    I am no expert in the area but Edward de Bono took South American indians straight out of the jungle and they were hitting genius levels after training. IQ scores are often about the environment. So yes there would be a good link between IQ and stability.

    It just says stuff all on analysis.

    How you make the leap from IQ to specific government types makes sense in your world but not in mine.

    IQ results are an indicator of intelligence but not a passport to the right to determine their own affairs.

    There is no country in the world that can't determine their own affairs and there is no country in the world that does not want to improve its education.

    Lets not progress this discussion.

  • Comment number 19.

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  • Comment number 20.

    #19. At 12:35pm on 22 Jun 2008, JadedJean wrote:

    "Finland for instance is tiny, cold, and has a relatively homogeneous, White, population), what makes anyone think it can be done in Sub-Saharan Africa"

    WHITE. What does that have to do with it I wonder? Could this be a pseudo, a very pseudo, diatribe to cover the core racist argument?

    Are you a BNP activist trying to peddle your wares JadedJean ?

  • Comment number 21.

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  • Comment number 22.

    you have the options of protest, direct action (remember Peter Tatchell waylaying Mr Mugabe ?) writing to your MP etc. Now you might say that none of these will quench your anger, but assuming you (personally) are going to stick to non-violent democratic means, these are the methods you have to oppose what is going on and prevent yourself feeling complicit. As for the actions of governments, you can only do your best as an individual to have your say.

    I'm glad you've added your perspective to this discussion, because you've clearly got some insights on what's going on in Zim. It's not for me to endorse or refute your theory that violence alone will shift Mr Mugabe but I take your point that political or economic pressure of different kinds have not shifted him during many years, and may just feed in to the world view of hardline Zanu PF supporters.

  • Comment number 23.

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  • Comment number 24.


    I have posted elsewhere asking if there are any other quotients that get formally measured. I suggested an 'Artisan Quotent'.
    In athletics, if there were some sort of 'index of performance' in the various events, I would expect genetic difference to stand out. One group might score high in say: sprint, and the same group low in 1500 metres; and so on. Would it not settle the validity of IQ difference if we also had my AQ and a couple of others to measure?

  • Comment number 25.

    Whats the point of trying him? If Milosevic or Saddam are anything to go by he'll either die of old age or the bleeing heart liberals will claim he's a scape goat and that we should be trying Tony Blair for 'illegal wars' instead.

    Frankly it would be a lot easier and far more cost effective to put a 1000lb laser guided bomb through his bedroom window, then let the Zimbabwean people sort out their country the way they want it to be.

  • Comment number 26.

    The hope that because democracy works in the west it can be imposed on Africa is the one that is detrimental to the development of Africa. Levels of unequality interms of education, health, wealth is high and the majority of the population in Zim lives in the rural areas - they are not as informed as those in urban areas. The threat of war after the experiences of the 70s is real, thats why as you see in Zim the violence was more concentrated in the rural areas. mugabe has always won because of the rural voters - urbanities long gave up on Zanu.

    People in rural areas survive on land thats why land is a biggger issue than any other issue you may discuss. Why Mugabe still has some support, you may deny it in the west, but he still does - is because he pedals on the land disribution issue and keeps on it. The economy of Zim and much of Africa revolves around land and agriculture - Darfur, Somalia, Kenya, South Africa to name a few all the tension is about land and inequalities of land distribution.

    Look at the South Africa - how much does tourism bring - farmers are turning to game farms - visitors come in to shoot game and who is making the money white farm owners. lts the next Zimbabwe in terms of land redistribution or rather inequalities.

    lts easier to demonise whats happening in Zim but the reporting does not do justice to as to were all this comes from. lts not just about Mugabe staying in power - you have to look at the history of Zanu and why they went to war in the 70s, the Lancaster agreement - it does state that Mugabe had refused to ratify because they did not agree on land redistribution and Britian made promises - when Labour came to power Clare short wrote to the then Min of Agr. Thats were the problems with Zim govt and the British started.

    The Zim issue has to be looked at in a holistic way. MDC has its own failings in this process, and these are not discussed at all. Also the other problem has been that if you disagree with MDC you are deemed a Mugabe supporter. They want to preach democracy but do not want to practise it. There are people who hope somebody else should lead Zim other than Tsvangirai, their voices are not given room its all about Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

    You hear Nick Clegg say we should stop remittances to Zim - its money sent directly to ordinary people of Zim - he wants them to starve, and SA to threaten to cut electricity supply to Mugabe - SA does not supply electricity to Mugabe's home - it supplies ordinary Zimbabweans - its just shows how ignorant they are on Zim issues but have to be seen to be tough.

    Even Hain says the elections should be scrapped and Tsvangirai declared the winner - he did not win over 50% of the vote - even pollsters said it that none of them was going to win by over 50%. Provisions in the eclection say a rerun has to be had if noone wins by over 50%. Being born in SA does not make him an expert on Africa.

    Both Tsvangirai and Mugabe have been stubborn from the beginning - they under estimated the strength and resilience of the other. Tsvangirai thought it was going to be a walk in the park, and Zanu will just stand by. mugabe thought MDC was only strong in urban areas - he was shocked when they won in Zanu strongholds.

    A lot of black people agree with Mugabe not his conduct - even in Africa - read about how much MDC has been laughed off the stage as they tried to ganner support in universities - they booed in Ghana, left early. they never rely made friends in africa and that has been their biggest weakness, not many people came out for them.

    Reports on criticism of Zim violence of the leaders mentioned none has openly sited Mugabe they talk of the violence. Why wont they just say mugabe you are killing your own people - they are all the same. angolan President cannot say anything to Mugabe - he doesnt even hold elections himself, Museveni has given himself a life term, Mbeki wanted to extend his by another term, Tanzania is a one party state and the president was hailed as symbol of hope yet he is as corrupt as they come, Zambia the elections were deemed rigged even the courts recognised that, but did not do anything about it, Kenya Mwai declared himself the winner before the count was over, Nigeria they were marred by violence and the possible likely winner was not allwoed to campaign, Botswana is a one party state. The list is endless! How can AU do anything when its made up of these goons - SADC is referred to as Southern Africa Dictators Club. No election in Africa is free and fair - being seen to be free and fair are not the same. They are either free and fair or they are not.

    Yes its an African problem but they are all like Mugabe!

  • Comment number 27.

    #26 MATIBAYA

    What you say is interesting. I am no expert.

    There are a couple of points.

    Mugabe claims Carrington agreed to fund land compensation at Lancaster House. He says he did not. I have always believed him as I would have thought that was something that would have been enshrined in writing.

    I am very surprised though that Museveni of Uganda believed, or preferred to be seen to believe, Mugabe on Newsnight the other day.

    I assume there was nothing in writing so far as you know?

    Also is Zanu-PF factionalising?

    The other point is I don't think anybody is trying to "impose" democracy on anybody. I think the concern in the West is genuinely humanitarian. There is no angle.

    That said you mention land disputes and the war veterans.

    But if there is not democracy how do you avoid the cycle of revenge and vendetta that seems to come from excessive tribalism (literal and political tribalism)?

    South Africa may decide to help because they are going to experience problems themselves if they don't. I see Mbeki as a failure as a leader, Zuma may be better? The AU has virtually no credibility left so sooner or later they will either fold or have to change. Instability tends to spread and grow.

    As an outsider it looks to me as though Zimbabwe just can't go on as it is for much longer , Mugabe or no Mugabe.

  • Comment number 28.

    #23 JadedJean

    If you are not peddling any wares then why do you mention "White"? It was the capital W that caught my eye.

    You are not propagating some version of the "white mans burden"? It sounds like hyped up supremacism to me.

    Mao tended to massacre his opponents. Its a while since I read the history but the Cultural Revolution was probably not that much help to those people he had executed and imprisoned. Still thats not a problem for you as in your world if they don't get the right IQ they don't vote?

    "If we let demographic parameters slip here, we too may begin to see some of the social ills which blight Zimbabwe". What are these parameters. If you are talking about education or are you talking about race?

    I feel no sense of shame when I describe somebody as a racist when they say:

    "i.e. it's primarily about genes, selection, and 'gene barriers' (although one has to understand all of that statistically). ".

  • Comment number 29.

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  • Comment number 30.

    #28. I agree with most of your comments but some of the worst racists in Africa have black skin. My great uncle worked very closely with the Zulus and their idea of Zulu racial superiority was straight out of Berlin.

    Mugabe is as racist as any in his comments about 'White' people and his policies of taking land from white farmers is just a reverse apartheid.

    Sadly the problems of zimbabwe are basically greed, corruption and incompetence and unfortunately the greediest, most corrupt and most incompetent zimbabweans seem to have black skin. They then claim the 'racism' card when someone with white skin criticises.

    Incidentally speaking as a qualified geneticist there's often more genetic variation between two members of the same race as between a black man and a white man. There's virtually no genetic criteria for race, so if someone says it's primarily about genes, selection, and 'gene barriers' they're not necessarily racist, just plain wrong.

  • Comment number 31.

    #30 Peter_Sym

    Woh! I am NOT expressing support for Mugabe and I agree he is an out and out racist.

    The only caveat is that I agree with your paragraph two on the basis that Carrington said he never agreed compensation. So fas as I know nothing exists in writing and if it was agreed and it involved money there would have been a document.

    And I just caught your last paragraph and thanks very much indeed. Noted.

  • Comment number 32.

    @ peterSym #30:
    agree nem con with the rest of your posts, but surely the land appropriations would be acceptable in any sub-saharan african state? after all,. the land was to all intents and purposes stolen by white colonialists in the 19th century? Or have I got this wrong?

  • Comment number 33.

    l dont know if Mugabe is a racist - if you look those white farmers who have kept themselves out of the politics still have their farms. Nicholas Hoogstratten has businesses in Zim and lives in Zim -he is a friend of mugabe - do not if they still are because he was arrested some time back and let out. l know some who have kept to themselves and are living well.

    MDC - some call it Media Driven Crazies should have got rid of Tsvangirai when he was deemed to have lost the first elections in 2002- Zanu's problem is with Tsvangirai not MDC -if Mugabe have stated anyone can rule Zim other than Tsvangirai.

    Do not get me wrong l am not Mugabe supporter - the issue with Zim has reported more about pro MDC - voices of those who do not support MDC have not been heard. When you out of Zim you would think Zanu has no support, and others. Makoni would have done very well at march 2008 elections had he mobilised earlier - he identifies with people who are anti - Zanu but do not want MDC and those who are in Zanu - he is the most capable leader for Zim.

    Zuma will be worse for SA than Mbeki because Zuma is a populist - and astrong believer in land redistribution. If you can find some of his old speeches you will see. He is Zulu and believes the Zulus are superior to everyone.

    Africa is dominated by tribalism - it plays a big role in were you stand interms of leadership. Zanu factionalism is on tribal grounds - its were you come, your totem etc - the same played in MDC thats why it spilt. Majority of people of influence in MDC are from the same line as Tsvangirai and people who have breached constitution in MDC and are close to Tsvangirai have been left to carry whilst others were given their marching orders.

    Zanu has been divided since it came to power because this tribe could not trust that one.

    l do not know watch Mugabe leaving office soon - Zanu constitution states you cannot lead the party past 85!

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  • Comment number 35.

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  • Comment number 36.

    Peter Hain just spoke on newsnight and this shows how little regard they have for thge people of Zim in trying to get rid of Mugabe - how can he advocate for SA to pull the plug on electricity to Zim, this is supplied to the people of Zim not Mugabe how much more do we have to suffer.

    This shows everyone is fighting Mugabe and forgetting us the ordinary people of the country. Snactions imposed never served their purpose because their children still travelled and went to the best universities - can provide a list of students in the UK alone who are part of the over 100 on whom rstrictions were imposed on.

    Do not expect SADC leaders to say much against Mugabe. They are already falling out over Levy Mwanawasa's announcement that MDC will not take part in the run-off without folowing the SADC protocol. During his election Mwanawasa threatened the opposition leader that he would charge him with treason just like Mugabe. These people will vocalise and not do lot about Mugabe. The majority do not like Tsvangirai, someone working for SADC said. They will be seen to be saying the right words, but not act on it.

    There is a lot about relationships within SADC that goes on - and they will all look out for each other.

    Desmond Tutu will speak but he long fell out with Mbeki. No one listens to him within SADC. Wilf Mbanga writes a lot of made up stories - first apologise for your father's conduct - when he worked for RF.

    lf African leaders were to condemn Mugabe they should have done it when the violence began, now what difference will it make. They atched as Zanu strangled any hope for democracy in Zim. lts not like this started now its been going on since 2000 if not earlier.

    Africa has become the front for a new 'cold war' for resources between the wst and China. China wil protect its interests in Africa ignore the politics as long as it gets what it wants.

    Zimbabwe is easy to condemn because the situation hasnt gone far - the world has watched Darfur and Somalia get worse. What have they done. Had the world helped in these it would have more credebility to ask for action in Zim.

    Government of national unity serves who in Zim - the political elite. MDC has made promises to the people of Zim that they are going to address the gurahundi killings in Matebeleland, the corruption were Mugabe and his family have become so wealthy at the expense of everyone. The oligarths in Zanu have amassed farms. A government of national unity will protect Zanu and leave us with no answers. No one will be held to account for the killings that are happening now. ln Kenya now they cannot decide how to deal with the aftermath of the disputed elections because they now all in government and cosying up to each other, and pretending its all the past. The ordinary people cannot live next to each other because of hate and distrust.

    Zanu should be held to account.

    Tsvangirai needs to make up his mind as to what he is going to do. The idea that they are after him and he goes into hiding - Zanu would have got him a long time if they wanted - look at Biti he was nabbed on arrival. Tsvangirai needs to stop his obsession with the media and get on with the job. now people feel let down - the councillor for Harare whose wife was found dead stated we cannot stop now - we have to go all the way.

    The media should be more factual - no African leader has distanced themselves from Mugabe yet, they have condemned the violence and not Mugabe. The Rwandan President Kagame we all know they do not see eye to eye because mugabe supported the DRC to fight the Tutsi in Congo. Odinga was in the same position as Tsvangirai - Mwai Kibaki cannot say much he is just like Mugabe. You wonder who else will come out for Tsvangirai.

    l wonder if this is the end for Mugabe or Tsvangirai - if not both. MDC has been destabilised by poor or rather the lack of leadership from Tsvangirai. Mugabe has aged and wont go on forever - a lot of people want him to hang on as Zanu decides wo takes over. Zanu spent all its life in power protecting themselves and forgot they were all aging and made no way for successors - thats why its in all this trouble. They lost touch with a section of society.

    Stop referring to the youth as Mugabe thugs - these were never thrown at Kenyans at the time of all that violence. lt was political violence in Kenya and now thuggery in Zim - it all the same the leaders did not want to leave office. You preach impartiality so practise it.

  • Comment number 37.

    #35 JadedJean

    Don't wait for them to offer you the Nobel Prize - just demand it!

    I am assuming that it would be for Science.

    On the Prize for Peace front I think if your idea of Maoism for Zimbabwe takes off and the killings are industrialised, as Mao would have done, people might start looking at the origins.

    With your huge reputation I think that these intellectually inferior people may mistake your influence (with a reputation like yours I assume its global) for something that is not benign or healthy.

  • Comment number 38.

    Because it will not benefit anyone. Who would do the process of filing charges, which country, juries, judges and etc.

  • Comment number 39.

    #26 MATIBAYA

    Dude hang in there. I don't know Zimbabwe as you do and I am not saying things will be better tomorrow but I don't see this problem going on for that much longer.

    I think your points about Kenya and youth and Darfur were very astute. I am ashamed that I appear to come from the same country as JadedJean.

    You are brave and intelligent.

    Don't let despair dominate your mind. I know how hard it must be but I can't say that I have experienced a comparable situation.

  • Comment number 40.

    The sad thing about Zim is we had a life preMugabe - l am not defending Colonisation but things wer readily available. Parents went to work, children went to school and looked forward to work. The Zim of now post 99 is about how to survive. Young people have lost faith in education as the best way forward because now everyone is trying to be a dealer to survive, and thet are making more money out trading on the blackmarket than those going to work.

    We have lost a generation if not two. People are dropping out of university because they cannot afford it and go out to fend for their families. Those who are abroad with nothing because they have been denied asylum will go back with nothing - may decide why go back when you ahve nothing to show for being away - no wonder some people commit suicide rather than go back. People came to UK hoping they would work and go back to Zim thats how good Zim was but things changed and they could not.

    Parents and relatives are being tortured and beaten up for having children in the UK. You are having people being reported to Zanu because someone is jealous they get a little help form abroad.

    lt is painful to hear someone like Nick Clegg and Peter Hain speaking in simplistic terms about the solution to Zim crisis. This is not just about Tsvangirai and Mugabe being in power. The question that has to be asked is why Mugabe still commands support - look at the margin between the 2 in terms of votes in the 1st round - l know some will say it was rigged - go to Zim forums and you willl see how much support is there for Mugabe.

    ln the UK and elsewhere you have Zimbos who claim to be MDC supporters to get asylum yet are Zanu - the sad reality is they actually get it at the expense of people who have genuinely suffered at the hands of Zanu. You also have people who cannot go back because their families are accussed of sending information out of Zim on the situation and these are told you are not at risk from Zanu.

    You also have people who believe Tsvangirai is not the best person for Zim with the way things are - he will find it a challenge to turn the around, because expectations are high. Just like in the UK were Labour accusses Conservatives of having no clear policies - MDC has never given any clear policies on how they will rescue the economy, continue land reform, education - how do you rebuild people's faith that education is the future when they now believe in corruption.

    Everywhere in Zim is corrupt - the police, customs, courts, army, farming, health sector, education, even just to get basics from the shop if they are available you are having to bribe the shop assistant, security guard etc. This is not just about change of government - its psychological, social - its got to be a holistic approach. MDC lacks the vision.

    Africa is inherently tribalistic - Tsvangirai is no exception - Hepson Makuvise who is MDC-T spokesperson in UK is so uninfromed you wonder what his real role is and why he is there in the first place - oh by the way he is Tsvangirai's uncle. Tsvangirai's children school in Aussie - l am not saying they should not - how does he afford? is the question people sometimes ask.

    To the outside world its easy to say all will be well oce Mugabe goes - l doubt that very much. Land is still and will always be a contentious issue - people will want to know who got what under Mugabe and why some have so many farms. That will need to be addressed, and the question is how will MDC do it. Tsvangirai will want to also own a farm - just like many in his team. already they have their eyes on what they can have. Politics in Africa is a way out of poverty into riches - because you will have influence.

    All tenders will be going to those inline with the government - now it will be worse because people have learnt the hard way - that coruption works! Its easy to say we will work to eradicate corruption -its difficult when its become part of everyday life.

    People know who has benefited from zanu being in power and they will want to see this addressed. You have people like Mutumwa Mawere he made money because of Zanu, yes he is away because they fell out, Chiyangwa, Leo Mugabe, Solomon Mujuru, James Makamba now living in UK to name a few. Then you have those who robbed the country and fled to the Europe including UK and America will they be brought to justice?

    A government of national unity just sweepsthese atrocities under the carpet. In Kenya now Odinga is fighting to help those who killed after the elections so they cannot be persecuted - were is the justice in that. Children were orphaned and they will want answers - if justice is seen not to be done hatred will continue - peace will never prevail. People in Matebeleland want answers for Gukurahundi -if there is a govt of national unity - this will not be addressed. Will MDC want its people persecuted for the post March 08 election, but their supporters will want justice for those killed by Zanu. How do they do it. Someone has to answer for all the food that was in silos that disappeared - we know Kumbirai Kangai sold much of it, thats why we have food shortages in Zim. Who does a govt of national unity serve? lt clears the conscience of the outside world that we did something about that - the ordinary people continue to be bitter. MDC will have failed as a party on its promise - you ask yourself why it commands a lot of support in Matebeeland.

    Would the UK have a government of national unity - Gordon Brown as PM and Cameron as chancellor or deputy PM? l doubt, would US have Obama as President and Mccain as his Deputy or vice versa, l do not think so. National unity seems to works were you have the same principles - even Zanu and Zapu who had more or less the same principles it did not work - Dumiso Dabengwa said he joined because he did not ant to disappoint Joshua NKomo. The reality is they never got on Mugabe and Nkomo, they appeared to be getting on but they did not. Even the one between Ian Smith, Abel Muzorewa and Ndabaningi Sithole - the then Zimbabwe-Rhodesia did not work. lt was just tokenistic. l have never had of a country were a govt of national unity has worked. Pakistan they cannot agree on anything!

    Do not tell us this is the best way forward for Zim - its for those who want to see Tsvangirai in power and Mugabe out - not us ordinary Zimbos. lt will serve the interests of a few people only. Who in Zanu will want to be left out and who in MDC?

    Tsvangirai should have made up his mind a longtime ago -either he was in or out. All he did was play into Mugabe's hands and now he starts to complain - its like fish complaining about water!

  • Comment number 41.

    Firstly I would like to say I am disgusted with the actions of Mugabe and the treatment of his own people.

    However I would like to draw attention to the fact that the British have no rite to criticise his actions, as to this day the are still the greatest abuser of human right's the world has ever seen and some of there actions in the past make Mugabe look like a peace maker.

    Up into the civil rites movement in Ireland in 1969. There was not a fair voting system. Catholics were not aloud to vote if they did not own a property and wealthy British business men would have several votes, this meant that even in many nationalist areas such as Derry city most of the council was made up of British power even though the local people did not wish them to be there and yet the Briyish continue to criticise what is happening in Zimbabwe.

    After 1916 when the British sent in the 'black and tan's' which was an organization of thugs and looters and Irish men, women and children were killed just for the fact they where Irish no matter what there beliefs. I draw a lot of comparisons to them and the thugs that are roaming Zimbabwe at the minute.

    To this day the treatment of the Republican POW's during the troubles is the greatest breach of human rites the world has ever seen. Something on par with the Nazi concentration camps. but yet British MP's will condemn Mugabe even with them have the devil in control of there country in the 70's and 80's..Thatcher.

    Mugabe need's to be removed from power before he can destroy more life’s. He has gone mad with power just like the British when building their empire.

    My last point is that when Mugabe was first elected he was seen as a hero. for removing the Evil power that was in place in Zimbabwe before him. this is not the worst crisis to hit Zimbabwe, before the had to deal with the white British man coming over, taking there land and forcing them to obey their law. All this done with the mite of a musket against people with simple weapons like bow's and arrows. surrounding African nations do not criticise Mugabe because they realise there terrible past and have the common sense not to stand up in public and condemn him, I think it's time the British sat down too and kept there mouths shut left this to the real peace keepers at he UN.

    Lets face it the British probably wouldn't of helped anyway they have cleaned out all of Zimbabwe resources along time ago...

  • Comment number 42.

    As l thought the elections went ahead and Mugabe once again became the president of Zim. MDC threatened he had 48hrs to curl the violence and they would talk. All the threats did not deter Mugabe and Zanu PF - all it did was expose the weaknesses of MDC and Tsvangirai. They have no coherent strategy for dealing with Mugabe, and like any other opposition party before them they will just be forgotten if they do not get organised quickly.

    AU - what did it do nothing - all they could do is call on both parties to talk and have a govt of national unity. That Zanu will not accept. The threats from the EU that the only govt they will accept is one led by Tsvangirai - l guess they will just have to dream on - and watch Zanu destroy MDC.

    The violence has almost stopped, there are only sporadic if not non existent. All the scare mongering by Paddy Ashdown there will be civil war if Zanu is let to have its way, are false. Zim people love peace, as long as they can wake up and get on with their lives they will not bother about what Mugabe is doing that much. Not that they are happy with Zanu - No - l think they have come to accept MDC is not going to save them from the clutches of Zanu.

    The only way forward for MDc is to get rid of Tsvangirai, evaluate their position. Undermine Zanu by drawing people who are Zanu but are not happy with Mugabe. The idea that they will get support from outside to oust Mugabe will not happen. Now Levy Mwanawasa is gone watch who will become the new leader of SADC.

    MDC needs to make friends with African leaders and not run to the west first. This is the reason why they have not been welcomed into the club. Tsvangirai is becoming desperate for power because he let it slip -as he watched 6 weeks in SA and a week in the Dutch embassy. He failed to stand with the people who lost everything for him - people felt abandoned when it all was about to happen.

    Look how quickly Zim is disappearing from the headlines - by next week it will al be forgotten. Something would have taken over.

    Until all African dictators are treated the same - not accepting some, there is no lesser evil - they are all EVIL! Places like Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Eritrea and Sudan, to name a few are seen in the same light as Zimbabwe, people like Mugabe will carry on. To them it will all about who has less blooded hands than me! With all that happens in Africa Mugabe to some is almost a peace maker!

    Lets be real about problems in Africa and do not just condemn for the sake of condemning or so you want to be seen to be tough. Words tend not to do a lot for we all know they are just words.


  • Comment number 43.

    "Why don't we put Robert Mugabe on trial? Well, there is a legalistic answer and there are all the other ones, the more political ones"

    Why don't we put Tony Blair and George Bush on trial? Well, there is a legalistic answer and there are all the other ones, the more political ones.

  • Comment number 44.


    "Legally, Zimbabwe did not sign up to the International Criminal Court. What's more, referring the country's senior officials to it would require a resolution of the United Nations Security Council."

    Prompted by one of your other NN blog contributors (Xie_Ming) I thought others might like to consider the USA's behaviour (as reported by Human Rights Watch) with respect to the ICC.

    Just imagine - Team America rescuing their CiC from The Hague after he's been indicted over Iraq or Iran, with Bob Mugabe's Fifth Brigade called in to fend them off.

  • Comment number 45.

    Are the divisions in Zimbabwe, still generally along tribal lines?
    ie matabele vs shona

    MDC vs Zanu

  • Comment number 46.

    why is it that Tony Blair followed George Bush into Iraq?
    we all know that Bush's agenda was to take control of dwindling oil reserves (not necessarily taking the oil out of the ground). If Zimbabwe was endowed with such natural incentives on a scale comparable to Iraq to an overgrown fatcat America then i suggest that History would be different. I suggest that the sooner Mugabe the Despot Dictator is taken care of the better. I hope that the so called Developed Nations hang their heads in shame for not intervening in this despicable and horrific era that Zimbabwe is forced to endure.


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