Shame on Africa’s leaders that they have waited this long and have done nothing in Zimbabwe while Robert Mugabe goes ahead with his tyrannical regime, ignoring the plight of his people. How long are they and the international community going to wait?
I remember the days when the Organization for African Unity used to vocalize about white minority domination, apartheid and racism. But now in the case of Zimbabwe, with few exceptions, Africa has remained silent. It’s a shameful lesson in African history that African leaders, usually vocal in their denunciation of apartheid, are noticeably quiet in the case of Mugabe.
As everyone knows, the situation in Zimbabwe is worsening day by day. It should be clear by now that after being in office since 1980, Mugabe has no desire to give up power. Even if he loses an election, he will not yield. The only solution there is to either assassinate him from within or to topple him.
As far as the first solution is concerned, it would be impossible to do so as the army is in Mugabe’s pockets so there is very little that can be expected from within. Somehow dictators always know that if they want to cling to power, they should keep the colonels happy by supplying them with enough lucrative goodies.
A few African leaders have criticized Mugabe openly. Among them are Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga and South African Desmond Tutu, the retired Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, who stated that Mugabe should step down from office. He made a lot of sense when he suggested that African nations should even resort to military force if necessary to remove Mugabe from office, during an interview with Dutch TV program Nova.
Another option to force Mugabe to step down, Tutu said, is to threaten him with prosecution at the International Criminal Court. Mugabe “is destroying a wonderful country,” Tutu lamented. “A country that used to be a bread basket . . . has now become a basket case itself needing help.”
The ZANU-PF and MDC power-sharing agreement for all intents and purposes appears to be dead. To add fuel to the political pyre, Zimbabwe’s cholera epidemic continues to spread and has now claimed more than 1,000 lives among 20,581 cases since August. The easily preventable disease has spread because of the collapse of health services and water sanitation in Zimbabwe.
The UN World Health Organization has said the total number of cases could reach 60,000 unless the epidemic is stopped and yet Mugabe won’t allow physicians from other neighbouring African countries the visa to enter Zimbabwe with medicines.
The only solution, therefore, is for Zimbabwe’s neighbours to get together and invade the country. The time for discussions and debates is over. South African ruling ANC leader Jacob Zuma has already said in a radio interview there was no reason for sending troops to Zimbabwe. “Why military intervention when there is no war?” he told South Africa’s 702 Talk Radio. “We should be pressurizing them to see the light.”
Where are the courageous African leaders like the late president Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, who ousted Idi Amin after recognizing that his neighbour had become a tyrant and invaded Uganda to bring an end to the tyrannical regime? Nyerere has set an excellent precedent for African leaders to follow, but I see that they lack the courage that is required to do so.
Mind you, Amin was brutal, but his regime was even better than Mugabe’s as people in Uganda were beaten, tortured, abused and hundreds were murdered, but never did they starve to death or see the level of suffering which is to be found in today’s Zimbabwe, and yet there is no action from African leaders.
There is still a ray of hope that some country like, Botswana, though not as powerful as South Africa, may take the lead to invade Zimbabwe, or maybe Zuma may be persuaded to change his mind. But the clock is ticking and Zimbabweans are suffering and dying. Something must be done to stop that suffering.
If Africa doesn’t act, then as a last resort the international community should take matters into its own hands. Many may not like this suggestion but a mercenary or an international force should invade Zimbabwe and capture Mugabe and his closest allies. An example comes to mind when in 1976, Israeli commandos rescued 100 hostages, mostly Israelis or Jews, held by pro-Palestinian hijackers at Entebbe airport in Uganda.
Ugandan soldiers and the hijackers were taken completely by surprise when three Hercules transport planes landed after a 4,000kilometre trip from Israel. About 200 elite troops ran out and stormed the airport building.
If this is not acceptable, then the United States, saviour of all democracies, should be persuaded when Barack Obama takes office next month to invade Zimbabwe.
Bush invaded Iraq so why can’t President Obama, the first African-American president of the United States, authorize the invasion of an African country (Zimbabwe) and topple Mugabe’s regime? The idea doesn’t seem that far-fetched.
After Zimbabwe is invaded, Mugabe and his henchmen should be brought to The Hague to stand trail for their crimes against the people of Zimbabwe. His regime has not only brought destruction, but cholera, poverty, runaway inflation, destitution and starvation— reducing the country into one of the failed and mismanaged states. If we don’t act now, history will blame us for it.
As Martin Luther said: “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.”