One does of course understand that no reporters are allowed into Zimbabwe, making actual reporting difficult.

But that doesn’t excuse the AP from their admiring reporting on Mugabe.

Analysis: Zimbabwe’s Mugabe confident on Cabinet

Yup. Not stubbornly refusing to cooperate with the agreement: he is confident!

It’s a waiting game, and no one is better at outlasting his competition than Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe.

Again, the language is that of admiration: “better at outlasting competition”, as if this was a game and this was a winning tactic, so let’s all cheer.

Of course, those of us familiar with Zimbabwean history know that a similar game was played with Joshua Nkomo, who joined a unity government and then found himself and his party merely shams, without power at all. This is what the “waiting game” is about: waiting for outsiders to start pressuring the opposition, or for more opposition leaders to accept gifts bribes or threats and back the government.

The destruction of the economy, the murder of political rivals, and the starvation of the population? Go down toward the bottom of the page, and all described in politically correct non judgemental language.

For decades, Mugabe has consistently shown that he is more interested in power than the fate of his people. In contrast, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change is pained by the delays in instituting reforms that could help Zimbabwe’s hungry masses.

Ah yes. But he’s confident.

Mugabe has even more leverage because he has never been afraid to use violence against his rivals. His police, soldiers and party militants drove opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai out of the June presidential runoff with attacks on opposition supporters….

Since (the South African mediated agreement to share power) the two have been unable to agree on how to share the Cabinet, with Tsvangirai accusing Mugabe of trying to hold on to the most powerful posts.

No, you write that as if  Tsvangirai’s accusations were just a political opinion. It’s not an opinion, it’s a fac.

Mugabe lied when he signed the agreement: He had no intention to let  the powerful posts be appointed by the opposition, as agreed to. And what posts are they? The important ones: the ones that allow Mugabe to terrorize his people into fleeing, dying, or keeping quiet. The Army, the Police, and the Government youth gangs AKA the Green Bombers.

From Bloomberg:

Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) — Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe‘s talks with the opposition over the formation of a unity government are deadlocked over control of the ministries in charge of the police, military and judiciary, officials from both parties said.

Mugabe is resisting handing over control of the 22,000- strong police force and the army’s 35,000 troops to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai…Military generals, senior police officers and intelligence officials fear that if the ruling party loses control of the ministries and command over the armed forces they may be prosecuted for human rights crimes either at home or abroad, the officials said.

That part about “human rights crimes…abroad” means the 10,000 troops that Mugabe sent to help President Kabila of the Congo as “peacekeepers”in the late 1990’s.

These troops, and the huge amount of money spent to keep them there, was on reason for the economic problems starting in Zimbabwe; and the original farm seizures of the early 2000’s, that wrecked the vibrant agricultural economy (whose exports kept foreign currency coming in) was done in the name of these troops, although most of the farms were merely given to Mugabe’s cronies and the troops used to terrorize the population.

The point that is missing in all these stories is that they assume Mugabe and his thugs are men of good will, and that negotiations will work. President Mbeki of South Africa is the biggest hypocrite in this playacting, because he knows damn well that all of his actions to “settle things peacefully” was more about preventing the UN or the UK from intervening than it was about Mugabe.

My criticisms of the press is that too many press agencies are reporting all this as if we had civilized people of good will unable to agree on a political problem. Just peruse the headlines in the Google news section:

Unity talks at risk of collapse, says Mugabe party
International Herald Tribune, France – 16 hours ago

Zimbabwe ruling party says MDC jeopardising talks
Reuters South Africa, South Africa – 15 hours ago

Zimbabwean Parties Still Arguing Over Cabinet Posts
Voice of America – 14 hours ago

Zimbabwe rivals still deadlocked over power-sharing: opposition
AFP – 12 hours ago

Zimbabwe ruling party says MDC prejudicing talks
Reuters South Africa, South Africa – 21 hours ago

No, no judgementalism allowed.

But there might be a method behind Mugabe’s madness. He has outlasted the threat of Tony Brown, and will outlast the threat of Bush/McCain’s idea of a League of Democracies that would enable real intervention to prevent genocide.

Those “pacifists” who still live their “Glory Days” of opposing the Viet Nam war try to place all wars into their template of anti Americanism.

Yet dozens of wars have  been stopped not by “peacekeepers”, but by aggressive intervention: From the Philippines to Malaysia to Bosnia.

It was the US Marines who finally settled down the Liberian civil war until they could be replaced with UN Peacekeepers, and it was the UK Army who settled down the civil war in Sierra Leone,

Yet, Mugabe watches the pro Obama CNN, and knows he has little to worry about should Obama become president. Obama will work with the international order, and the “liberation” leaders of South Africa will continue to defend him via diplomacy from outside intervention, and of course China is likely to veto any attempt by the UN to intervene.

Besides, if this essay on the Pro Obama Huffington Post is an indication, a President Obama would refrain from helping the starving in Zimbabwe under the excuse that more people are dying of the Congo, so since no one is stopping that (despite lots of ineffectual UN Peacekeepers) why worry about Zimbabwe?

Ummm…maybe because it was African leaders like President Mugabe who helped the Congo get into that mess? And maybe because the UK, with it’s colonial policies, started the mess, so should help clean it up?

Ironically, in the Congo, it is China who will probably end up settling the mess,  by building infrastructure and sending in security guards to keep their people safe, so as to get a profit from the local mines. The presence of Chinese soldiers/security guards in Zimbabwe is also documented: not helping Mugabe as much as working as private contractors to protect their own investments.

So my take is that Mugabe is playing a waiting game, until the US and maybe the UK change leaders to those more committed to “international cooperation”. This will allow Mugabe to get away with his gamble, while the people of Zimbabwe starve and everyone with an education moves elsewhere to find jobs.

The real danger will occur when Mugabe dies. Will there be a civil war or major power struggle? And if so, who will be willing to intervene?


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her webpage is Makaipablog.

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