Mugabe meltdown in Zimbabwe

posted at 5:10 pm on April 3, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Hopes for a peaceful and honest settlement of the elections in Zinbabwe faded this afternoon, as Robert Mugabe’s security forces began raiding offices of the opposition MDC. Foreign journalists have gone missing as Zimbabwe prepares to head for a violent clash that could tear the nation apart:

Raids on opposition party offices and the rounding up of foreign journalists are threatening to push Zimbabwe further toward confrontation between current President Robert Mugabe and the apparent winner of national elections.

Police raided the Meikles hotel, which is used by the opposition, Movement for Democratic Change, and ransacked some of the rooms. Riot police also surrounded another hotel housing foreign journalists, York Lodge, and took away several of them, according to a man who answered the phone there.

“Mugabe has started a crackdown,” Movement for Democratic Change secretary-general Tendai Biti told The Associated Press. “It is quite clear he has unleashed a war.”

The New York Times said that its correspondent Barry Bearak was taken into custody by police.

A government spokesman admitted that security forces had arrested foreign reporters for practicing journalism without accreditation, but gave no word on when — or whether — they would be released. They wouldn’t even identify the reporters being held, promising to release their names tomorrow instead.

The journalists who remain in Zimbabwe will rightly see this as an intimidation tactic to keep the word on further crackdowns from spreading across the globe. It gives an indication what will likely follow. If Mugabe has already begun arresting reporters and raiding MDC offices, he wants to ensure that he can operate with the greatest degree of latitude in rigging the run-off election between himself and Morgan Tsvangirai.

He may have miscalculated in this instance. Zimbabweans are tired of starvation and corruption, the two most significant achievements of the Mugabe regime. They want change — and if it doesn’t come at the ballot box, it will come at the point of a gun. When that happens, Zimbabwe will become another collapsed African state, and yet another post-colonial civil war will wreak its depredations on millions.

If Africa wants to avoid this, then leaders on the continent had better convince Mugabe to retreat and to abide by the actual election results. It looks like they may have run out of time already.


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Is this Bush’s fault again?

Defector01 on April 3, 2008 at 5:17 PM

Ah, the irony. We, too, are tired of starving and corruption. We’re starving for strong, ethical leaders, just as they are. The difference, of course, is that we would never resort to violent suppression of the opposition party – or would we?

It does sound like something Clinton’s would orchestrate (then denying knowing anything).

fourstringfuror on April 3, 2008 at 5:17 PM

How soon before the left cries out for us to intervene in this civil war like in Darfur?

Even though we shouldn`t get involved in civil wars, right?

ThePrez on April 3, 2008 at 5:22 PM

If I can’t be president nobody can WAAHHH! I’m going to take my prisoners and go home!

xler8bmw on April 3, 2008 at 5:26 PM

Hey, I called it on the other thread. He’ll rig the results, the opposition will appeal to the UN who will send in peacekeepers who will in turn rape, molest, sell donated foodstuffs on the black market, and run away at the first sign of trouble. The UN Human Rights Commission will then have a conference and blame Israel.

a capella on April 3, 2008 at 5:26 PM

Now are the africans going to ask for reparations after the country becomes free and ends the slave trade?

xler8bmw on April 3, 2008 at 5:31 PM

This particular situation looks like a perfect opportunity for a joint US/Russia/China operation to get Mugabe out of office. The idea being to tell the people involved that the world had had enough of their crap.

crosspatch on April 3, 2008 at 5:31 PM

Isn’t that country so much better off now that the evil white farmers have been expelled and racial injustices of the past have been dealt with!

JellyToast on April 3, 2008 at 5:47 PM

Take away their guns and air drop millions of boxing gloves and have them all fight it out in the back yard.

Swinehound on April 3, 2008 at 5:52 PM

One of my favorite quotes from “Dark Star Safari” by Paul Theroux:

Even the kindly winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Reverend Desmond Tutu, had said,

“The man is bonkers.”

If you want a way back machine experience, check out to be more like…Zimbabweans.

tree hugging sister on April 3, 2008 at 5:52 PM

JellyToast on April 3, 2008 at 5:47 PM

Yeah, I can’t wait for Barak to do the same thing here! Reverend Jeremiah Wright for Secretary of Doing the Right Thing!

Kafir on April 3, 2008 at 5:52 PM

Where is the World Court? the Human Rights Commission? the International Red Cross? et cetera

What? Is Mugabee simply imposing his own version of the Fairness Doctrine?

onlineanalyst on April 3, 2008 at 5:58 PM

Give them GUNS!!!!
Now is the perfect time actually to drop in about 5,000 rangers. US military could have a huge bang for the buck by coming in now to support the opposition.

Spartacus on April 3, 2008 at 6:02 PM

Nah, not Bush’s fault, just your typical white man’s fault thing.

Count on someone looking for an Israeli link, though.

hadsil on April 3, 2008 at 6:32 PM

Unfortunately Zimbabwe and New Orleans have much in common. Zimbabwe has their Mugabe and New Orleans has its Ray Nagin, William (and brother) Jefferson and the old Landrieu mafia. Both placed are tired of the same old situation yet keep re-electing (in a Stalinist way) the usual suspects as long as the empty promises keep coming.

Maybe someday a Jindal equivalent will come along and start cleaning out the corruption and crime though don’t bank on it any time soon. Democracy and civilization will come to both places the moment the natives choose to demand it from themselves yet expect the same old political families to keep on as long as they can.

viking01 on April 3, 2008 at 6:38 PM

Attention all libtards:

THIS is what an actual fascist gov’t looks like.
THIS is what actual suppression of free speech looks like.
THIS is what an attempt to “steal an election” looks like.

Compare with Bushitler’s administration. Learn. Evolve. Then STFU.

JustTruth101 on April 3, 2008 at 6:48 PM

This is going to end badly for a lot of people. I might even feel a rustling of respect for any tinpot dictatorship that offers Mugabe asylum to end this thing now and live out his days in a tropical condo somewhere.

Give it up, man.

DrSteve on April 3, 2008 at 6:57 PM

Maybe all the crazy islamists currently plotting to take over England and Holland can just fly down to Zimbabwe and claim that little plot of land instead. Something tells me there’s a power vacuum… might as well be them. Look at how wonderful the Sudan turned out after they got their hands on THAT paradise. Yeah… Z is totally in need of some good ol’ jihad.

Gartrip on April 3, 2008 at 7:34 PM

Give it up, man.

DrSteve on April 3, 2008 at 6:57 PM

I do not understand how a Mugabe or Castro get to die as old men in their beds. People in other countries have managed to overthrow and kill their tyrants.

JiangxiDad on April 3, 2008 at 7:35 PM

Dan Rather lecturing South Africans to be more like…Zimbabweans. In 1994.

tree hugging sister on April 3, 2008 at 5:53 PM

Pathetic. Did Rather ever get a story right? What a clown.

Zimbabwe has been in a death spiral since the moment Mugabe took over.

Jaibones on April 3, 2008 at 8:04 PM

Hey, I called it on the other thread. He’ll rig the results, the opposition will appeal to the UN who will send in peacekeepers who will in turn rape, molest, sell donated foodstuffs on the black market, and run away at the first sign of trouble. The UN Human Rights Commission will then have a conference and blame Israel.

a capella on April 3, 2008 at 5:26 PM

A Capella for Prophet! He sees the truth!

…you forgot to find a way to blame it on McCain, though…

heldmyw on April 3, 2008 at 8:29 PM

What would Bob Marley do?
Bob

Bobnormal on April 3, 2008 at 8:40 PM

JustTruth101 on April 3, 2008 at 6:48 PM

They won’t listen – Bush is white.

OldEnglish on April 3, 2008 at 9:13 PM

According to a BBC report I saw on TV, a NYT reporter has been arrested by the regime.

aengus on April 3, 2008 at 9:37 PM

Well, that’s something we could learn from Zimbabwe.
:)

hadsil on April 3, 2008 at 9:50 PM

Is this Bush’s fault again?

Defector01 on April 3, 2008 at 5:17 PM

Well, he has sent troops in to Liberia before (and pulled them out when their job was done). Why not the same for the oppressed Zimbabweans or the victims of the Janjaweed in Darfur?

A small contingent of US troops could turn the tide and the people would welcome them. (The troops would not need to stay long, either.)

What is the virtue in watching Zimbabwe and Darful self-destruct from a far — Katrina-like?

It’s called gunboat diplomacy, something Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan understood.

sanantonian on April 3, 2008 at 10:25 PM

When the white South African government did stuff like this, the leftwing press, UN and all the liberal ilk in the world was up in arms condeming the oppression. Now we hear…even the crickets have fled. What is also vacant is the press questioning Mr. Barack on his throughts, condemnation, etc. towards Mugabe. Don’t hold your breath.

wepeople on April 3, 2008 at 11:05 PM

JiangxiDad on April 3, 2008 at 7:35 PM

They die in their beds because they have grown up an entire corrupt administration around them. They are merely the heads of an enterprise of thousands of people, all of whom could face the noose for their actions. Each cabinet minister, secret policeman, receiver of largess — even the doormen and janitors — who has received benefit from this regime has a share of blame for it. And when the people decide to reckon the accounts, even a small sliver of taint can make a man’s life forfeit.

Past a certain point, it is rare to find bloodless revolutions — and when an administration holds on past the decline of a strongman, the bloodbath can be particularly severe.

I’ve never been there, but what Zimbabwe is probably heading into will disturb anyone with the least touch of human compassion.

cthulhu on April 3, 2008 at 11:09 PM

What a shocker: an African kleptocracy that can’t feed itself, create a functioning economy, maintain their physical environment, or hold an election without devolving into civil war.

Sounds like Washington D.C.

Jaibones on April 3, 2008 at 11:17 PM

When the white South African government did stuff like this, …

wepeople on April 3, 2008 at 11:05 PM

Uh…like what? I believe you have apples and oranges here.

Jaibones on April 3, 2008 at 11:19 PM

He’ll rig the results, the opposition will appeal to the UN who will send in peacekeepers who will in turn rape, molest, sell donated foodstuffs on the black market, and run away at the first sign of trouble. The UN Human Rights Commission will then have a conference and blame Israel.

The only problem with this scenario is that there is no functioning currency in Zimbabwe, so the only thing that foodstuffs can be sold for is sex.

Great way to spread AIDS.

njcommuter on April 4, 2008 at 12:22 AM

a capella on April 3, 2008 at 5:26 PM
Bobnormal on April 3, 2008 at 8:40 PM

I actually did LOL. When crap happens beyond my control, a good laugh always reminds that I’m grateful I’m a U.S. citizen.

Sultry Beauty on April 4, 2008 at 12:17 PM