Zimbabwe must fight for itself, David Jones

Zimbabwe Must Fight for Itself

David Jones,

Citizen Special

It is time to tell some truth — cruel truth. Words, even the most hectoring or denunciatory, are not going to lever President Robert Mugabe out of power in Zimbabwe. Nor are condemnations from the United Nations or elsewhere or sanctions of one ilk or another. The latest report of “power sharing” with the opposition reminds one of lions lying down with lambs — it requires replacing the lamb daily.

Mugabe is not going to leave voluntarily. He is a believer in his own cult of destiny. He had one large idea — elimination of colonial rule — executed it, and has no interest surrendering to the “pen” when he has weapons to sustain him — and his opponents no weapons to remove him. Even were he to consider for a Harare hour the possibility of a cushioned retirement, his establishment clique knows that its life expectancy would be measured in days if he departs. Indeed, one can imagine Mugabe on life support, akin to the final days of Spain’s Franco or Yugoslavia’s Tito as desperate minions attempt their final lootings before their private jet departures.

So the frenetic “shame-shame” yapping over this stolen election or that disgraceful violation of the human right of the moment is just that — yapping. The proverb goes, “the dogs bark, but the caravan passes on.” And so will Zimbabwe under Mugabe’s control if words and “sanctions” are all that are levelled against his rule.

Moreover, we should recognize that Zimbabwe’s citizens are doing very little to free themselves. With a world awash in weaponry, where is the armed resistance to Mugabe? Where is the guerrilla movement operating out of safe havens in neighbouring countries? Where even are the reports of resistance by those responding with their own clubs, iron bars, or gasoline bombs — it is not, after all, that Mugabe’s thugs are particularly sophisticated in their thugery? They are not Nazi SS. One sees nothing in Zimbabwe akin to the resistance mounted by desperate people throughout history to oppression. After all, the French Revolution was mounted by peasants with pitchforks. The American Revolution featured poorly armed farmers against the greatest military in the world. Or consider the efforts by Russian, Chinese, Cuban, or other revolutionaries to free themselves from authoritarian governments. And throughout occupied Europe in the Second World War, there was desperate resistance — often fatal to the resistors. In comparison, the laments from Zimbabwe remind one more of sheep bahing over a sheering that gouges.

Indeed, the best of Zimbabwe’s citizens appear to have escaped to havens in Europe, neighbouring African states, or the Americas from which they send remittances that are keeping alive those not in the Mugabe feeding chain. They should be arranging for weapons deliveries and putting their own lives at risk. Instead, they want someone else to bear the burden that they should be shouldering. We are correct to decline.

David Jones, co-author of Uneasy Neighbo(u)rs: Canada, the USA and the Dynamics of State, Industry and Culture, is a former U.S. diplomat who served in Ottawa. He now lives in Arlington, Virginia.

© The Ottawa Citizen 2008

One Comment on "Zimbabwe must fight for itself, David Jones"

  1. Raymond Adam ndlovu February 8, 2009 at 8:44 pm ·

    I totaly agree with Mr Jones. We, the Zimbabweans need to take our destiny into our hands and fight Mugabe.There has been attempts to do that in some way but always, there is no funding available. The situation in Zimbabwe does not need need an all out war but a targeted elimnation of those responsible because its just a few people holding the rest to ransom. I will be willing to receive suggestions from Mr Jones on how funding can be accessed.

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