As thousands of Zimbabweans lie dying of cholera in various provinces around the country - and now in neighbouring countries too - the world is at last starting to take notice. Yes, the unfolding humanitarian disaster that has been happening for ten long years is finally being taken seriously.
How so? Well, Mr Brown, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has said Mugabe is very naughty or something similar. Mr Obama has been quiet, but I expect some words post-inauguration. Mr Bush has said Mugabe is very naughty too, probably after Ms Condi Rice told him who Mugabe was and showed him this place called Africa, an island off the coast of Florida.
But yes, its been ten years of agonised cries for help by a population suffering terribly at the hands of one of the most evil people to ever walk the surface of the planet.
South Africa, the regional powerhouse has for the last ten years led the 'mediation' between Mugabe's ZanuPF and Tsvangirai's MDC. Mbeki's "quiet diplomacy" has for ten years failed. For ten years we have all been pointing out the absolutely, totallly and irrefutably obvious, that "quiet diplomacy" is the very LAST thing needed to remove a recognised genocidal butcher from power.
In fact, I believe "quiet diplomacy" is the carefully and deliberately applied slow-death torture that Thabo Mbeki has enjoyed inflicting, together with his cohort Mugabe on Zimbabweans. They have acted in collusion. After ten years, that is obvious. Mbeki has reinforced Mugabe's position time and time again. He feels and the ANC feels, that they owe Mugabe a favour; that his loyalty to the ANC during the Apartheid era must now be repaid at all costs.
The truth is, Mugabe did not help the ANC. It was us, the people of Zimbabwe who all helped the ANC. The very same people who are now suffering at the inactive hands of the ANC. Mugabe put our country at the ANC's disposal. Our country, not his country.
And this is the basic fault with African politics. History has shown time and time again, right across Africa, that most of the leaders never seem to realise that they lead a people. They look at only themselves as important, and see only counterparts as important. And the reason is simple. They help each other to subvert freedoms, to keep democracy at arms length. Mugabe helped Mbeki; Mbeki's quiet diplomacy has helped Mugabe. Mugabe helped Mobuto Sese Seko of Zaire, then rapidly switched to helping his replacement, Laurent Kabila. He helped Marxist President Samora Machel bring Mozambique to its knees, fighting off the pesky concept of democracy. He mollycoddled the utterly useless President Kaunda of Zambia... there are more... the club of incompetents all wrecking Africa in a circle-jerk of self -importance, greed and corruption.
But it is South Africa where the spotlight falls. South Africa has the regional influence to dramatically change the course of history in any of its neighbouring countries. It should have used its influence in 2000, nipping in the bud what was a very nasty situation even then. Instead, it chose to side with the Mugabe rather than with Zimbabwe.
Now, when South Africa prepares to pose and preen on the world stage as World Cup hosts, its neighbour has to suffer the dreadful consequences of its inaction. Any firm action taken by South Africa now would be welcomed, but it will have been too late. Mugabe should have been dealt with in 2000. There is simply no excuse.
African leaders, very wrongly, enjoy a lot of leeway when it comes to their governance and moral conduct. They are forgiven a lot (just look at Mugabe's genocide which everyone swept under the carpet). And because they are forgiven for one thing, they carry on and do something worse until they are all behaving like... like... ummm well, African Leaders.
Time to stop it. South Africa must be made to utiliuse its influence. What possible harm can be done over and above that which is already being done by Mugabe? South Africa must act as it did years ago to bring the Rhodesian crisis to an end or if it would rather carry on supporting Mugabe and his (really quite small) band of thugs, then it must lose the right to host the World Cup. There are other more deserving, more democratically free countries, to host the tournament. Let voting South Africans suffer the consequences of their leaders' inaction, the consquences of electing to power a party that would rather support a dictator than his desperate people, and let it be an example to the rest of the swine that rule in Africa. This is no misdemeanour we're talking of. Its a crime against humanity. All 13 million of us Zimbabweans. South Africa could have, should have helped avert it.
I have little doubt that many South Africans will feel I'm being rather unfair. Let me just offer a word of caution: I have seen Zimbabwe squander its freedom. Our voters allowed our leaders to ride roughshod, first over tiny freedoms, then later (when it was too late) anything they chose. Right Now South Africans need to get a grip of their freedom because I see the signs of it being wasted. You've set your standards too low. Expect better from your leaders, expect better from your ANC - and watch them like a hawk! They are way too powerful - just like ZanuPF.
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