Friday, November 28, 2003
Zimbabwe is in shambles. Land grabs by black squatters have plunged the country into an agricultural crisis. The former breadbasket of southern Africa must now import the food it needs to survive. Meanwhile, the vast majority of whites in the country have been forced to flee the only home they knew. Human rights are trampled over by the one-party state, as oppressive laws restrict press freedom and vigilantes, encouraged by the state, intimidate those who do not tread the ZANU-PF line.
To lift the Commonwealth suspension on such a regime would be a travesty. But African Commonwealth members, including South Africa and Nigeria, have been lobbying for just that. This illustrates the short-sighted prejudices of many people and countries in Africa, believing that the remedy to their ills is to reject anything said or done by the former colonial powers. They see the situation in Zimbabwe as a liberation project of black Africans against the white oppressors. They are wrong: blacks are the people intimidating and oppressing Zimbabweans, and blacks are the ones who must pay the price of blood and hunger.
The Commonwealth is an institution built upon respect towards the principles of democracy and freedom that Britain spread around the world. Ending Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth is a slap to these principles and all human decency. Mugabe must never attend another Commonwealth event ever: Zimbabwe must remain barred until the Mugabe regime is removed and its leaders tried as the war criminals that they really are.UPDATE (Nov 28, 09:10 PM): Mugabe now says that Zimbabwe will leave the Commonwealth if it continues to be barred from the group. Good riddance, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.