Monday, May 14, 2007 at 9:57 AM

The UN sanctions Mugabe’s genocidal rule in Zimbabwe

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

The Robert Mugabe government of Zimbabwe is the most corrupt, dysfunctional and incompetent in Africa. And, on a continent that has the most corrupt, dysfunctional and incompetent governments in the entire world, Mugabe’s achievement in this regard is a truly dubious distinction. [The iPINIONS Journal, March 2005]

Since 2000 I have written a series of forlorn articles about international sufferance of the genocide being perpetrated in Zimbabwe under the iron-fisted rule of its de facto dictator-for-life, Robert Mugabe. And I’ve been harshly critical of African leaders, most notably South African President Thabo Mbeki, for breaking their pledge (made after the 1994 Rwandan Genocide) that never again would they standby and allow innocent Africans to be ethnically cleansed for political gain. Because they’ve done just that – not only in open and notorious fashion vis-à-vis Darfur, Sudan, but also in more “politically-correct”, though less celebrated fashion in relation to Zimbabwe.

Nevertheless, I clung to the hope that UN General Secretary Kofi Annan would honor a similar pledge he made on behalf of the United Nations. After all, my hope was informed by the fact that, in making his pledge, Annan – a purportedly proud African – apologized to Africa and the international community for “failing to sound the alarm” in his capacity as the head of the UN Peacekeeping Operations as the Rwandan Genocide unfolded.

Five years ago, Zimbabwe was the breadbasket of sub-Saharan Africa; today, it is a basket case of starving people. Five years ago, there were 4000 white-owned farms in Zimbabwe; today, there are only 400 – mostly unproductive – farms left. [The iPINIONS Journal, March 2005]

But my forlorn hope for the oppressed people of Zimbabwe suffered a devastating blow in November 2005. Because that was when, despite voluminous reports about how he was starving his people (and ethnically cleansing his political opponents), the UN Food and Agricultural Organization gave Mugabe an international platform in Rome to seem relevant and respected. And, betraying why the UN itself is now such a corrupt, dysfunction and incompetent institution, Mugabe mounted that platform and condemned America and Europe for “crippling the development of agriculture in Zimbabwe”…to the rousing applause of his fellow delegates.

Imagine my indignation, therefore, when I read news reports on Friday that Zimbabwe had been elected to head the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development. After all, this election reflected far more than international sufferance of Mugabe’s genocidal rule; this actually sanctioned it! And, with that, what little hope I had that the UN might impose sanctions against Mugabe to save Zimbabwe was effectively sapped.

Meanwhile, at least I derived a little consolation from the fact that – in reaction to this UN electoral farce – Prime Minster John Howard ordered Australia’s world-class cricket team to cancel a planned tour of Zimbabwe in September to play three one-day tournaments. Here, in part, is how he expressed his outrage and explained his order:

The Mugabe regime is behaving like the Gestapo towards its political opponents….I have no doubt that if this tour goes ahead it will be an enormous boost to this grubby dictator.

Hear, hear! Never mind my wonder about why, given the ferocity of Howard’s indignation, the Australians were planning this tour in the first place….

More importantly, however, is it any wonder that so much of Africa remains mired in dire straits when member states from this Dark Continent nominated Zimbabwe and were primarily responsible for its election? And, what does it say about the future of Zimbabwe when its Ambassador to the UN, Boniface Chidyausiku, accepted this dubious honor by declaiming defiantly that:

When they tell the African group to change, it’s an insult to our intelligence – that we Africans can’t think.

No Ambassador Chidyausika, it’s not that you can’t think; it’s that your genocidal way of thinking is an insult to our shared humanity.

And shame on the United Nations…again!

Related Articles:
Yes, save Darfur, but what about Zimbabwe (Note links to a few of my other related articles)
UN invites Mugabe to lecture world on agriculture


  1. Rishard P May 14, 2007 at 8:42 pm

    Well said Anthony. International and regional institutions such as the UN and the AU continue to dissapoint as it relates to Zimbabwe. The question is though, what can viably be done to relieve the Zimbabwean situation? I suspect that military intervention is the only effective method but I dont think any country is willing to make the troop committment and related necessary costs.

  2. ALH ipinions May 14, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    I appreciate your question Rishard.

    It would help to begin treating the members of Mugabe’s government like the international pariahs they are, instead of honoring them like statesmen.

    Moreover, if sanctions were sufficient to force regime change upon the Apartheid government of South Africa (with its perversely-efficient and relatively-formidable military), there’s no reason to doubt that sanctions would cripple Mugabe “grubby” and thuggish dictatorship. (Hell, just denying them the freedom to travel to Paris with their entourage of concubines on shopping sprees might compel Mugabe’s henchmen to mount a coup against him to regain this kleptocratic privilege.)

    Beyond this, if you have a little time on your hands, I refer you to the Related Articles in which I delineate comprehensively how to deal with Mugabe’s regime. (Does the name Charles Taylor ring a bell…?)

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