Surely the days of Robert Mugabe’s regime in Harare are numbered…? In the last week alone British prime minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicholas Sarkozy, Javier Solana, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, and Condoleeza Rice, the outgoing US Secretary of State, have all called for Mugabe to resign. Two leading Anglican clerics, Dr John Sentamu, Archbishop of York, and South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have called for African nations to come together to use military force if Mugabe refuses to go. Additionally Tutu has stated that Mugabe has committed “gross violations” against Zimbabwe’s people and ruined “a wonderful country” while Sentamu wants Mugabe put on trial at The Hague for crimes against humanity. More worryingly perhaps for Mugabe and his cronies is the call by Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga for African governments to oust Mugabe.
There is immense pressure on Zimbabwe’s neighbours to do something. With Zimbabwe’s inflation at 11,000,000% and ongoing violence against members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and other non-Mugabe supporters, there has been a growing trickle of economic and political refugees seeping through the porous borders – perceived as an economic burden by many of the indigenous peoples. (In South Africa there have been reports of vigilante groups of white farmers rounding them up and sending them back!) Now, of course, some of those refugees will be cholera carriers with the potential to spread the disease throughout southern Africa and beyond. (It is estimated that cholera will have infected a minimum 60,000 Zimbabweans by Christmas.)
The PURPLE vMEME, acting as a collective, rejects those-who-are-not-of-our-tribe and will become hostile when economic resources are at stake and/or the outsiders introduce a deadly disease. This can create a tremendous upward pressure on the leadership to take action to prevent the outsiders coming in – particularly when the thinking of the leaders may not be that much more complex than that found in the mass of the population. Thus, the leaders of Zimbabwe’s neighbours are not pressured for action by GREEN’s concerns for human rights – as so very much in the West – but by much more fundamental concerns as basic resources
If Odinga were to get a couple of other neighbouring countries to join the Kenyans and South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki, long a Mugabe sympathiser, could be persuaded at least not to interfere, then a military intervention could be a possibility.
How much resistance ZANU-PF and Zimbabwe’s military might put up to such an invasion is difficult to predict. According to Gordon Brown, the Zimbabwean state and its apparatus have effectively ceased to function. However, reports that the true number of people hospitalised by malnutrition and/or cholera is being covered up would indicate some sort of state machinery still exists.
The following e-mail from Zimbabwean John Winter – received via Alan Tonkin of the Global Values Network – most definitely portrays a functioning state machine, if a malignant and brutal one….
I reckon that these are the last days of TKM and ZPF. The darkest hour is always before dawn.
We are all terrified at what they are going to destroy next…. I mean, they are actually ploughing down brick and mortar houses and one family with twin boys of 10 had no chance of salvaging anything when 100 riot police came in with AK47′s and bulldozers and demolished their beautiful house – 5 bedrooms and pine ceilings – because it was “too close to the airport”. So we are feeling extremely insecure right now.
You know, I am aware that this does not help you sleep at night – but if you do not know, how can you help? Even if you put us in your own mental ring of light and send your guardian angels to be with us – that is a help – but I feel so cut off from you all, knowing I cannot tell you what’s going on here simply because you will feel uncomfortable. There are no ways we can leave here so that is not an option.
I ask that you all pray for us in the way that you know how, and let me know that you are thinking of us and sending out positive vibes…that’s all. You can’t just be in denial and pretend/believe it’s not going on.
To be frank with you, it’s genocide in the making and if you do not believe me, read the Genocide Report by Amnesty International which says we are – IN level 7 – (level 8 is after it’s happened and everyone is in denial).
If you don’t want me to tell you these things – how bad it is – then it means you have not dealt with your own fear, but it does not help me to think you are turning your back on our situation. We need you, please, to get the news OUT that we are all in a fearfully dangerous situation here. Too many people turn their backs and say – oh well, that’s what happens in Africa
This Government has GONE MAD and you need to help us publicize our plight – or how can we be rescued? It’s a reality! The petrol queues are a reality, the pall of smoke all around our city is a reality, the thousands of homeless people sleeping outside in 0 Celsius with no food, water, shelter and bedding are a reality. Today a family approached me, brother of the gardener’s wife with two small children. Their home was trashed and they will have to sleep outside. We already support 8 adult people and a child on this property, and electricity is going up next month by 250% as is water.
How can I take on another family of 4 – and yet how can I turn them away to sleep out in the open?
I am not asking you for money or a ticket out of here – I am asking you to FACE the fact that we are in deep and terrible danger and want you please to pass on our news and pictures. So PLEASE don’t just press the delete button! Help best in the way that you know how.
Do face the reality of what is going on here and help us SEND OUT THE WORD. The more people who know about it, the more chance we have of the United Nations coming to our aid. Please don’t ignore or deny what’s happening. Some would like to be protected from the truth BUT then, if we are eliminated, how would you feel? “If only we knew how bad it really was, we could have helped in some way.”
(I know we chose to stay here and that some feel we deserve what’s coming to us.)
For now, we ourselves have food, shelter, a little fuel and a bit of money for the next meal – but what is going to happen next? Will they start on our houses? All property is going to belong to the State now. I want to send out my Title Deeds to one of you because if they get a hold of those, I can’t fight for my rights.
Censorship! – we no longer have short wave radio (which told us everything that was happening) because the Government jammed it out of existence – we don’t have any reporters, and no one is allowed to photograph. If we had reporters here, they would have an absolute field day. Even the pro-Government Herald has written that people are shocked, stunned, bewildered and blown mindless by the wanton destruction of many folks homes, which are supposed to be ‘illegal’ but for which a huge percentage actually do have licenses.
Please! – do have some compassion and HELP by sending out the articles and personal reports so that something can/may be done.
“I am one. I cannot do everything, —but I can do something.. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do.” – Edward Everett Hale
Is Mugabe mad, as Winter implies? I doubt it. Some might argue he must have been deluded, thinking he could sustain Zimbabwe’s agriculture-based economy while slicing up white-owned large farms into black-owned smallholdings. Others might argue he is simply in denial as to how bad things really are. Yet others will postulate that Mugabe has a paranoid personality disorder, the way he so readily accuses others of attempting to undermine him personally and his country. (The latest manifestation of this is the Herald’s declaration that the cholera outbreak was a “serious biological chemical war … a genocidal onslaught on the people of Zimbabwe by the British”.)
Yet in the very week there was finally open talk of a military intervention, just yesterday Mugabe at last did a deal with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on the structure of the joint power-sharing government they first agreed to back in September. After keeping Tsvangirai dangling for 3 months. And the deal was brokered by Mbeki. Which means he has a credibility investment in it and will want it to work – or, at least, have time for it to work. Which means Mbeki will not allow Odinga or whoever to invade Zimbabwe.
As for the leaders in the West, preoccupied with the banking crises and the global turndown and with Britain and the United States still caught in the Iraq and Afghanistan traps, they will be relieved to allow Mugabe and Tsvangarai their chance to work together, thus putting Zimbabwe back on the ‘back burner’, if only for a while.
Mugabe psychotic? More likely he’s extremely Psychoticist – totally ruthless, completely self-centred, effectively psychopathic. And the way he’s manipulated Mbeki and Tsvangarai shows his RED vMEME is strong and robust. The only thing, of course, is that someone with a highly Psychoticist temperament and led by the RED vMEME will not think much about either the future or anyone else’s needs. Mugabe’s sole intent is to sustain his power. He has little concern about Zimbabwe’s multiple crises – other than how they affect his position personally – and that means he has even less idea how to sort out the mess. And, if Tsvangarai should actually ever get to sit in Mugabe’s cabinet, then he will make the perfect whipping boy – a scapegoat – as Zimbabwe plunges further into chaos.
Because that lock of Psychoticist temperament and RED-led motivation means Mugabe will only change if in danger from a power greater than his. United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon and MEP Glenys Kinnock are just two public figures who recently, from personal experience, have talked about how incredibly difficult it is to reason with Mugabe.
Sentamu, Tutu and Odinga are right. For Zimbabwe’s sake, Mugabe must go. But he has protected himself again…for a while.
So John Winter’s darkest hour can only get darker. And white Winter and the black brother of his gardener’s wife share the same paradigm of terror.
Winter’s original e-mail was sent in mid-November. As Christmas approaches, we can only hope Winter and the black brother of his gardener’s wife are still alive, still have a roof over their heads and some food to put into theirs and their families’ bellies.