Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gobsmackingly Inept or Corrupt

I've been following the problems in Zimbabwe with considerable interest. From an economics perspective, like Venezuela, it provides an excellent example of what not to do. But as a humanitarian crisis, this is one of the cases that I can't help but feel considerable empathy for their plight against an overwhelmingly corrupt military supported "leader".

It's interesting though that it's a British legacy that has resulted in the fact that there's any opposition at all which gave the junta a peaceful way out which they have less than politely declined. Now there's this. According to the New York Times:

“I wouldn’t describe that as a crisis,” Mr. Mbeki told reporters after his discussions with Mr. Mugabe and before the summit meeting began. “It’s a normal electoral process in Zimbabwe.”
But let's remember that Thabo Mbeki, while the President of South Africa, is the same man who only recently subscribed to the possibility that AIDS was related to HIV to avoid having to deal with the crisis which only got worse under his watch. Since his Presidency, he has been a reliable supporter of dictators and despots - or in his view: 'African self determination.' I genuinely wonder if it's because he's staggeringly corrupt or inept. Mr. Tsvangirai, I hope you burn down that bridge.

I hope this proves instructive for China: oppressed people tend to remember who their friends are.

Update: The state of Zimbabwe gives credence to studies like this: "A country whose autocrat is assassinated is 13 percentage points more likely to move toward democracy in the following year than a country where the assassination attempt on the autocrat failed."

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