The problems in Zimbabwe have accumulated over four decades. Mr. Mugabe’s self-indulgent ways have markedly accelerated ever since he has found support for his views on “independent African politics”-- in South Africa and predominantly from President Mbeki. But the present impasse is an artificial and hollow craving for unlimited power that flies in the face of independence movements in Rhodesia. In turn, this drive for power is stripping all democratic institutions to a carcass of the original goals. Blends of populist methods have eroded economic, and thus national, security in this odd experiment.
In a game of petty powers, South African politicians fool themselves to believe it all as a free experiment. But the world ought to remind them that, from far away, regional problems equally reflect upon South Africa and the “emerging” description of South Africa could easily devalue with Z-Dollars next door.
Economic security is a fundamental concern. Without a stable economy, independence and ideology is meaningless. People (even those new landowner mob friends of Mr. Mugabe) cannot eat ideology, nor can they long remain as independent landowners with a rickety legal agenda. Such fundamentals cannot be brushed aside whilst pseudo-intellectuals test drive political doctrines and rip-offs that, at best, are old copies of tested trials. Mr. Milosevic of Serbia was the last gambler that took such odds, albeit in a more advanced country. Some 16 years later, Serbians continue to pay the losses of that wager.
The unified views of the Permanent Five of the U.N. Security Council ought to be framed as a realization of past errors and omissions. In hindsight, turning a blind eye to Zimbabwe and shooing away the problem with wishful talk therapy did not work. Mr. Mugabe’s political overdrive, and his blunt obstruction of the start of the newly elected parliament, is a clear signal that principles of democracy are subject to serious abuse. It can prove as a precedent in a resourceful continent and its human capital that yearns to be integrated with the rest of the global village.
Concurrent with a protest to Mr. Mugabe, the world community must serve a strong and united notice on South African politicians. Thereafter, the predicament for the UN is to assess whether Zimbabwe fits the definition of a failed state (say, Afghanistan circa 2001 or Somalia in 1990s) or perhaps a very brittle state that must be nursed back to stability (Lebanon circa 2006 or Liberia of 1989-2003). Shrugging off responsibility, a festering Zimbabwe, and a relapse to hollow inaction and talk therapy will crumble four decades of slow, fragile institutions that have slowly developed in sub-Saharan Africa. That is hardly a pleasant forecast for world security.
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