For too long have the Zimbabwean people searched for true freedom for their country away from the probing fingers of a autocratic Government. Mugabe was supposed to be the man to lead them away from the opressive Smith regime of South Rhodesia. Mugabe was supposed to be the light to shine upon one of the darkest corners of the earth and bring equality and strength to Zimbabwe. Yet 29 years after Mugabe’s victory in the election of Febuary 1980, little has changed in terms of Government or style. White soldiers opressing the Black population has now turned into ZANU-PF soldiers opressing the Black population. The economic troubles of the 1970s caused by economic sanctions have now been replaced with an economic crisis based around failed land reform and Mugabe’s reputation (which has sunk far lower then Smith could ever have reached). This is the Zimbabwe of today where hyperinflation ravages the land and where its people are struck by diseases such as cholera and aids while the Government stands idly by claiming that this is all a slanderous lie by the west to take power back in Zimbabwe. How did things get to this? What has happened to a country that had so much hope? The answer is simple - Mugabe. This one man has taken the mantle of the bad man of Africa from the likes of Bokassa and Idi Amin, and one wonders where they keep finding these meglamaniacs who lack even the slightest degree of humanness.
From all of this hate and despair that grips Zimbabwe today is there any hope left? Elections have failed, negotiations have failed and power sharing agreements have failed. What are the options for Zimbabweans and the world to change this horrific situation? Military intervention to remove Mugabe will not happen, and if it did I don’t feel it would have a positive effect as we could just have another Iraq on our hands. Flouting international law and violating the sovereignty of another nation is not the right way to go, and this could just create another ZANU-PF martyr who could claim to be fighting the west and take back power. Similary by now negotiations have failed and unless Mugabe suddenly has an uncharacteristic change of heart then I don’t see any headway being made by Tsvangarai, and any Government formed will just be another one dominated by Mugabe. I have faith in the Zimbabwean people to fight off the terror of the Mugabe regime, but at a time when they are barely staying alive due to the onset of diseases, hyperinflation and lack of food, how is it possible for them to rise up? People are too scared to act lest they be taken away, while any sign of activity is ruthlessly countered by Mugabe’s police units.
Hope however remains which centres around Mugabe’s age and health. Mugabe will be 85 on Febuary 21st and he surely cannot last much longer which brings me to my main point. Mugabe is the symbol of not just terror, but also of the revolution away from white control which may seem strange to us but is evident with many black people. Once this image of fear and history is gone there is no way that ZANU-PF could continue in power with the way the country is running at the moment. This may seem like a ‘wait and see’ policy, yet it need not be as old age has been showing signs of catching up on him which creates a window of opportunity. Pressure from the United Nations and South Africa in particular will turn this opportunity into a reality. If ZANU-PF see Mugabe’s health declining then they will take steps to bring in a new leadership and this is where the break from them can happen. The people of Zimbabwe will see the opportunity for change in power, and so if ever there was the chance to change Zimbabwe for the better then this is the moment to give help to the Zimbabwean people and the Movement for Democratic Change. I for one applaud reports that President Obama is planning on making change in Zimbabwe one of his main international aims. With the right pressure we can avoid a costly war that would scar Zimbabwe for years, while also bringing the change that is necessary to take a country that is now the basketcase of Africa back to the breadbasket that it once was. Some many see this article as saying that there is no solution to Mugabe and that we should just wait, however I believe that change is just around the corner and that now is the time to put pressure on Mugabe as his health fails so as to present us with the opportunity to remove this brutal dictator once and for all.