Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Inside Mugabe's World

I have just read excerpts of an interview with President Robert Mugabe, by Heidi Holland, which took place last December.

When the Ms Holland suggested that his policies had caused the economy to collapse, he sat up straight, his eyes flashing.

"Our economy is a hundred times better, than the average African economy. Outside South Africa, what country is [as good as] Zimbabwe? ... What is lacking now are goods on the shelves - that is all."

On his reasoning behind the land invasions, he said: "We had hoped that the British would take notice of it and that they would say: 'Let's meet and discuss this'"

It became clear that Mr Mugabe has arranged himself in a bubble of denial to avoid facing what he has done in Zimbabwe.

What a sad old man he must be ... a despotic, sad old man.

Excerpt from "A glimpse inside Mugabe's world" by South African writer Heidi Holland.


On another tack, I see that Kenyan PM Raila Odinga is urging the African Union to suspend Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe until he allows free and fair elections.

As to the other members:

South Africa's Thabo Mbeki is the key mediator. He has not criticised Robert Mugabe, despite pressure from the ruling ANC.

Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa has taken the toughest line. He's called Zimbabwe a "regional embarrassment". But he has just been rushed to hospital in Egypt.

Angola's President Jose Eduardo dos Santos is one of Robert Mugabe's closest allies. He has urged Mr Mugabe to end the violence.

Botswana has summoned a Zimbabwean envoy to complain about the violence. It has supported Zimbabwe's opposition.

Namibia is an ally of Robert Mugabe. It wants to re-distribute white-owned farms to black villagers. It has not criticised the violence.

Mozambique has hosted some white farmers forced out of Zimbabwe when their land was seized. It is seen as sympathetic to the opposition.

Tanzania's ruling party has a history of backing Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. Its foreign minister has condemned the violence.

DR Congo's President Joseph Kabila is an ally of Robert Mugabe who sent troops to help his father, Laurent Kabila, fight rebels.

Malawi is seen as neutral. But 3m people from Malawi are in Zimbabwe and many were badly hit by the farm invasions.

As for the EU, Italy has recalled its envoy to Zimbabwe, and called for other members to do likewise.

And the British? Oh, I expect we are making a nice cup of tea to calm the situation.

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