Recent headlines have focussed on the “cargo of death” shipped from China to Zimbabwe last week, but in an even more sinister development, Chinese troops have been seen on the streets of a Zimbabwe town… (Daily Mail)  Chinese and North Korean troops were also in evidence alongside Mugabe’s own troops when he attended a rally in Harare recently.  I believe the Chinese and North Korean troops are now needed to stiffen Zimbabwean military support for Mugabe.  There are increasing signs that not all the police, or the military, are still willing to enforce Mugabe’s murderous rule. 

Despite South African President, Thabo Mbeki being a staunch Mugabe supporter, South African dockworkers refused to unload the Chinese shipload of arms and ammunition that was destined for Mugabe’s troops to use against the Zimbabwean people.  Instead the ship, with its load including 3 million rounds of small arms ammunition, 3,500 mortars and rocket launchers and 1,500 rockets for rocket-propelled grenades, was redirected to Angola on Southern Africa’s West coast (Reuters).  Angola has become a Chinese client state, and the country has become China’s main oil supplier.  The weapons and ammunition will certainly be unloaded there and transported to land-locked Zimbabwe speedily.  The Chinese require obedience from their African colonies. 

For example, the Chinese Ambassador in Zambia (Zimbabwe’s northern neighbour, and a neighbour of Angola) ‘showed the country’s claws with unusual directness during Zambia’s last elections in 2006:  he publicly threatened dire consequences if the “wrong” candidate (from Beijing’s perspective) secured the presidency’ (Sunday Times Book Review). 

It seems that we are seeing these “dire consequences” in Zimbabwe now, because the “wrong” candidate (Morgan Tsvangirai) won the presidential elections there.  A woman who is part of a “human wave” fleeing Zimbabwe says she has seen gangs loyal to Mugabe beating people – some to death – in her village (International Herald Tribune).  On Sunday, the leading opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, said more than 400 supporters had been arrested, 500 attacked, 10 killed and 3,000 families displaced.  A Zimbabwean newspaper publisher, Trevor Ncube, (now living in South Africa) was quoted as saying “If the British were our masters yesterday, the Chinese have come and taken their place.” 

I suspect that this is now out of Mugabe’s hands – after all, he wanted to step down when it became obvious that he’d lost the election (see my post Mugabe “admits defeat”); he is now no more than a figurehead…  Only South Africa can force a change in Zimbabwe, and it seems that the new leader of South Africa’s ruling ANC party, Jacob Zuma may be the man to do it.  Zuma should become president of South Africa in due course, and he is reported to be ready to break with Mbeki’s ineffective “quiet diplomacy” approach. (Sunday Times).

END

Author, Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists.  His novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesia’s war on terror, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.  http://www.peterdaviesbooks.com

Readers who would like to make a contribution to help innocent pensioners, who are unable to buy food and other basic necessities in Zimbabwe, should please contact Patricia Williams by email patashnix@btinternet.com.

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