Robert Mugabe is a raving lunatic who has been buggering up Zimbabwe for years. His political opponents are regularly beaten up and threatened. He has used loyal police and soldiers to intimidate voters at the polls. He has banned most foreign media from the country, and suppressed all dissenting domestic newspapers from pointing out how corrupt and self-serving his government is. He has also been engaging in a programme of what could almost be described as ethnic cleansing in his campaign to drive out rich white farmers and redistribute their lands among the native black population, helping to destroy his country’s economy and bring about a famine in the process. No amount of external political pressure has made a blind bit of difference, because his vocal denunciation of the legacy of European colonialism has gone down very well with many of his African neighbours.
In short, he is a menace, and a prime example of precisely the kind of despotic leader to which George Bush’s America is likely to, and probably should be turning its attention at some point. This is hopefully more likely to get some progress thanks to Tony Blair’s recent calls for action in Africa to counter famine, civil war, corruption and genocide throughout the continent (a policy stolen wholesale from President Josiah Bartlett).
So, with all this unsavoury background, there was little hope that the leader of Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, Morgan Tsvangirai, would be cleared of treason. The fact that Mugabe’s government was also accused in court of trying to frame their chief domestic opponent is also quite astonishing in a country where dissenting voices are quickly rounded up and silenced.
Does this indicate a shift back to reason for this much put-upon nation? Or will there be retribution for this court’s insolence? Watch this space…