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Thabo on Zimbabwe

August 27, 2007

Anyone hoping for a more robust stance on Zimbabwe from other Southern African leaders will be disappointed by Thabo Mbeki’s latest blog entry.

Thabo – just back from a regional bosberaad in Lusaka – reaffirms the need for regional solidarity, assistance to Zimbabwe’s economy, and respect for the country’s sovereignty. He calls for lines of credit to be extended to Zimbabwe, and for us to work against boycotts and sanctions in the name of ‘regional solidarity’:

“The restoration of the country’s foreign exchange generating capacity through Balance of Payments support is crucial: however, the most urgent action that is needed to start this process is to establish lines of credit to enable Zimbabwe to import inputs for its productive sectors, particularly for agriculture and foreign currency generating sectors.

“SADC should do all it can to help Zimbabwe address the issue of sanctions, which is not only hurting the economy through failure to get BoP support and lines of credit, but also through reduced markets for its products. Sanctions also damage the image of Zimbabwe, causing a severe blow to her tourist sector.”

I don’t think it’s sanctions that are destroying Zimbabwe’s tourist sector, do you? I think maybe it’s the police state that has wrecked the economy.

The ‘respect for Zimbabwe’s sovereignty’ means, of course, that Mad Bob can do what he likes: Thabo’s given him the go ahead. Once again, Britain is to blame:

“[we have] unqualified respect for the sovereignty of Zimbabwe and the right of its people to determine their destiny. At no point will SADC and its member states act as a super-power that has the right to expropriate the people of Zimbabwe of their right to self-determination, as imperial Britain did.”

The only advice given to Zimbabwe is economic:

“Zimbabwe on her part must continue to implement robust policies to reduce the overvaluation of the exchange rate, to reduce the budget deficit and to control the growth of domestic credit and money supply which fuel inflation, and to reduce price distortions in the economy.”

Nothing about human rights, then.

Come on – where do Bob’s police get the bullets they use to shoot people? Zim has no arms industry. If you restore the ‘foreign exchange generating capacity’ they just buy more military equipment.

Seal the border. Don’t let any more weapons, petrol, foreign exchange or electricity into the country until the murdering bastard unbans the newspapers, stops beating up the opposition and unions, and allows them to organise freely for a democratic election.

Shut down the economy. Democratise the land invasions, and make sure people grow enough to feed themselves. AS in Iraq, there are portions of the Zimbabwe economy that are booming. But the people making money in Zimbabwe are corrupt opportunists.

Perhaps in acknowledgment of the fact that currently about one quarter of Zimbabwe’s population are living as impoverished refugees in South Africa, he points out the blindly obvious:

“The reality is that in a very real sense the problems of Zimbabwe are our problems…”

No shit, Thabo.

Thabo sees the writing on the wall and realises it won’t be long before his party is seen as the enemy of the people. But that’s what happens when a bourgeios nationalist party comes to power with the support of workers and peasants. After a while, the workers and peasants want to know when they’ll get there share, and have to be ruthlessly suppressed.

The problems in Zimbabwe, of course, are the fault of the media, because “they manufacture news and information and communicate complete fiction as the truth.”

Warming to his theme, Thabo says:

“The hostile allegation that our countries have recklessly turned their eyes away from the problems of Zimbabwe, because of the imperatives of solidarity, has always been nothing more than a product of propaganda.”

(Mbeki’s paranoia about a hostile media is unfounded: it is the media’s role in a democracy to critique power, not to be cheerleaders for government. Have a look at the kind of cartoons The Guardian, a broadly government-supporting paper, runs in the UK:

Criticism is normal, Thabo. Get used to it).

So: Mad Bob can continue as before, but we must work together to rebuild Zimbabwe’s economy.

Come on, South Africa – let’s get rid of this clown. In fact, let’s get rid of this entire class of corrupt, elitist politicians. If we ever want peace and prosperity, we need to finish what we started and free Azania from the control of a corrupt elite beholden to global capital.

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