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Zimbabwe’s negative image abroad

In Zimbabwe, things are just getting worse and worse:

An estimated three million Zimbabweans are seeking sanctuary in neighbouring South Africa, while 400,000 have gone to Mozambique. Anything from 10 to 20 per cent of the Zimbabwean population have left their homes to seek job security and wages in neighbouring lands.

Trains, buses and lorries have been used by the South African authorities to deport 498,321 since the crisis began in 2000, according to official figures, although it is believed that only one in six illegal immigrants is caught.

Even desperately poor Mozambique is now attracting Zimbabweans. Thousands have streamed over the mountainous eastern border into Manica province, hoping to be paid in any currency other than the Zimbabwean dollar.

Ironically, many black Zimbabweans are leaving for Mozambique to work on farms being run by the same white farmers kicked off their land by Mr Mugabe.

Zimbabwe may hate the white farmer, but scores have been welcomed into Mozambique by the authorities keen to lure agricultural specialists, especially in the tobacco sector.

Botswana, too, has also been inundated. A rare African economic success story, it is now under threat from hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants. It is dramatic proof of the regional chaos caused by Mr Mugabe’s chaotic rule.

So is anything being done about this horror story? According to Zimbabwe “Information” Minister Jonathan Moyo, something is being done:

“Britain, America, Australia … and New Zealand are truly and seriously committed to regime change, they seek a regime change in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“They are pursuing it through acts of economic sabotage and they use weapons of mass deception, (under the cover of) instruments of democracy, human rights rule of law, good governance, to sound reasonable,” Moyo said.

“They steal our foreign currency earnings, they attack even our own currency to the point of saying it’s scarce, to blame the government, to seek regime change, and they drive the parallel market,” he told top government, economic and civic officials seeking solutions to the economic malaise.

We can hope, I suppose. But you get the feeling that although lots of people know what’s going on out there, nobody important in the world has this horror story near enough to the top of their to-do list for anything to be done about it at all soon. Only when, having destroyed Zimbabwe itself, the Mugabe regime destroys itself, as it presumably will when there’s nothing else left to destroy, will this horrible chapter in human affairs draw to a close.

The final paragraph of this second story, originally from Agence France-Presse, is a classic of Gallic gallows humour:

The two day conference convened by government and business heard yesterday that Zimbabwe’s economy was being undermined by contradictory and ineffectual government policies, corruption, greed and the country’s negative image abroad.

Yes how true. Government policy isn’t being imposed nearly firmly enough. If government officials were murdering people selflessly and ungreedily, instead of how they’re doing it now, and if Zimbabwe could shed its negative image abroad, all would be well.

17 comments to Zimbabwe’s negative image abroad

  • Sage

    And to think, Mugabe was the toast of Paris on a few months back, while his death squads went about their grisly work.

    Is anybody surprised by this? Of course not.

  • Ted Schuerzinger

    I found myself thinking of the Tobin Tax: Regular Zimbabweans want any currency than their worthless Zimbabwean dollar, but the Tobin Tax is designed to force third-worlders to use their worthless local currencies.

  • Well, GWB at least mentioned the plight of the Zimbabs in his recent speech for the National Endowment for Democracy:

    “Our commitment to democracy is tested in countries like Cuba and Burma and North Korea and Zimbabwe — outposts of oppression in our world. The people in these nations live in captivity, and fear and silence. Yet, these regimes cannot hold back freedom forever — and, one day, from prison camps and prison cells, and from exile, the leaders of new democracies will arrive. (Applause.) Communism, and militarism and rule by the capricious and corrupt are the relics of a passing era. And we will stand with these oppressed peoples until the day of their freedom finally arrives.”

  • Dan McWiggins

    Yes, those evil white colonialists were awful people to have left poor Rhodesia in such a state. Bad white people. Bad! Bad! It’s so good to see that black rule can bring freedom and a better life to the
    huddled masses formerly so oppressed by the evil white man! Let us sing the praises of the powerful, strong, honest black Africans like Mobutu, Bongo, Nkrumah, Banda, Toure, Bokassa, Moi, Mariam, Doe etc. THEY have truly been the saviors of Africa!

    We’ll ignore that political junkie who once wrote that “a people generally get the government they deserve.” And DAMN that Kim DuToit for writing such essays as “Let Africa Sink.” The African ship of state sails proudly on in its splendor and grandeur…just like France.

  • Like Mobutu, the former Philippino and Haitian dictators, Khomeiny and many others, Mugabe will probably be welcome in France, eventually. It’s another one of those things we do “on principle”. You can’t let a dictator go homeless. It is so inappropriate.

  • Sage

    Sylvian, France just played host to Mugabe a matter of months ago. That was the point of my post above. He was Chirac’s honored guest.

  • Sage, I know. I still carry that passport and it becomes a heavier burden every time Jacques desperately pets his own Presidential ego in public.

    Still, I have been following this only remotely and thanks to the decent and quite stubborn coverage by The Economist. I had not realized it had gotten so god-awful 10 to 20% had left their homes. This is beyond criminal.

    Where is the UN ? Where is the international community’s outrage ?

    Oh yeah. I forgot. America and Israel are the real threats to the world.

  • steph

    When people are escaping to Mozambique you know things are bad.

  • One more thing. Mugabe’s heroic opponent, Morgan Tsvangirai, was put on trial for some sort of treason charges.

    Anybody followed the details of that and how it’s going for him ?

  • Andrew X

    “Where is the UN”?

    Anybody remember Colin Powell being vociferously booed at the Durban “Conference against Racism (and for anti-Semitism)?”

    Yep. He was booed when he had the gall to spicifically criticize Mr. Mugabe. How dare he!

    That is …. “where” the UN is.

    Also interesting….”Britain, America, Australia … and New Zealand are truly and seriously committed to regime change, they seek a regime change in Zimbabwe” says Mugabe’s mouthpiece. I note the spectre of the Anglosphere rising again… and I note the conspicuous and unfortunate absence of Canada on that illustrious list.

  • Well, yeah. Or France, for that matter.

    I mean we are talking about making a dictatorship accountable here.

    Only the big, bad, evil, ugly Anglo-Saxons are known to do such disgusting, immoral, illegal things.

  • ed

    Which is why everyone should get on board and push, as hard as we are all able, the concept of “odious debts”.

    If the world financial community faced the prospect that loans to tyrannical dictators would (legally) not be honored by the victim nation, then those dictators will get less financial support.

    Frankly as long as they get the equivalent of free money, these sorts of things are just going to continue.


  • EU Delenda Est

    ed – I agree with you, but we have allowed, in the name of inclusiveness, the tranzis to get too powerful to defy our will. (Well, *I* didn’t, but the rest of y’all were a little lax there.) The Kofi Annans of this world should not be in an international governing position. Sorry. He’s an oxygen thief, but people fear to say so for fear of being deemed “racist”.

    In addition, if you push hard for these dictators to repay their debt (and, let’s face it, it’s money that went straight to Switzerland, so it’s their debt, not their country’s), the tranzi International Red Cross goes whining on camera about a “humanitarian disaster”, and the FAO and the WHO and Amnesty International and all the rest of the non-wealth creating blood suckers prod the open wounds of the liberal conscience. And unfortunately, right now, the liberals are in charge.

    And Andrew X notes the rising of the Anglosphere … What rising? What have they done besides talk? They allowed Chirac to invite Butcher Bob to Paris when there is a ban in place against him being allowed into any EU country. Listen up folks, international treaties and agreements mean nada. Which is why, if Britain opted out the UN Asylum convention and even the EU, absolutely nothing would happen – other than a flood of talk on TV.

  • EU Delenda Est

    Ooops! “The Kofi Annans of this world should not be in an international governing position.” My bad. There should be no such thing as an “international governing position”.

  • Dave

    I don’t recal Chirac rolling out the red carpet to Mugabe, he wouldn’t even do the publicity photo with him

    Given who Chirac does contact, that was pretty serious.

  • Verity

    Dave, with respect, do they breathe oxygen on your planet? Chirac wouldn’t pose for publicity photos with Mugabe? Then who was that in all that TV coverage of Chirac receiving him at the Elysée Palace – Tony Blair in blackface? Mugabe was more than welcome, Dave. Chirac didn’t have to defy all the other countries in the European Union to get the other African leaders in – but he had to move heaven and earth to get Butcher Bob in. Chirac’s one giant concession to the rest of the EU was, he said he would shake hands with Mugabe, but deny the greeting kiss on both cheeks. Mugabe, who was in the EU against the strongly expressed will of the other EU countries, could live with that. The warm handshake and and the smooth segue into the back pat without a kiss was routinely shown on all news casts here. In France, entertaining a merciless, kleptomaniac, oppressive dictator but denying him greeting kisses counts as the high moral ground.

  • R. C. Dean

    My recollection (and reaction) is the same as Verity’s.