Back in mid-December, I wrote about a proper tongue-lashing Western industrial nations received from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, when he addressed the recent Copenhagen climate change conference. Back then I wrote: “He’s concerned about our [Western democracies] ‘double standard.’ I’d be satisfied if this ruthless despot had a single standard that could bear scrutiny by any standard of civilized conduct.”
At the best of times, Zimbabwe’s despot has little of value to add to international debate of any sort, let alone one concerning morality. Further evidence of the man’s cognitive challenges is the recent news that Mugabe’s government has passed a law that forces Zimbabwe’s white-owned companies to hand over majority control (51 per cent) to black businessmen.
This is nothing short of larceny on a national scale. It’s nothing new, of course, for those who have followed the man-made disaster that has befallen Zimbabwe, which was once referred to accurately as Africa’s “breadbasket”.
Since 1980, while in the iron grip of Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s once-thriving economy and health system has collapsed. Here’s a quotation from Richard Sollom, MA, MPH, a Senior Researcher at Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) as it appeared in the Harvard International Review:
“Zimbabwe has over 90% unemployment as well as the world’s highest inflation—an unfathomable ninety sextillion percent. All public-sector hospitals have been shuttered since November 2008. The nutritional and health status of Zimbabwe’s people has acutely worsened this past year due to epidemics of cholera, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculosis. Zimbabwe now has one of the world’s lowest life expectancies at 36 years. High maternal mortality and severe malnutrition augment the daily death toll.
“Heedless of the concern world leaders have expressed for the people of Zimbabwe, the Mugabe regime has derailed international efforts to assist: he has politicized humanitarian aid, detained journalists, tortured human rights activists, and even blocked Kofi Annan, Jimmy Carter, and Graзa Machel from their humanitarian mission.”
To put it kindly, Robert Mugabe’s despotic regime has been an utter failure in every measurable respect. And yet his December speech at Copenhagen was well-attended and greeted with occasional applause even as he lashed out at those who would offer a helping hand. Apparently, the “green” movement does not give two hoots from whence they derive their support—strange bedfellows indeed. They applaud wretched leaders like Hugo Chavez and Robert Mugabe, yet heap scorn on Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Notwithstanding the fact this tyrannical edict has come as no surprise—”whites” already are barred from several sectors, including agriculture, retail and transport, barbers, bakeries and beauty parlours—what does surprise is the continued presence in Zimbabwe of international giants such as Barclays Bank, Standard Chartered Bank and Rio Tinto.
Despite my commitment to the pursuit of profit, I find it unconscionable that these firms and dozens of others like them would remain in Zimbabwe to enrich its repellent politicians and their backers.
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© 2009 Russell G. Campbell
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