Africa shrugs at Mugabe

posted at 9:16 am on June 30, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Africa faces a major political test this week as Robert Mugabe attends the meeting of the African Union in Egypt.  The 53-nation organization has an opportunity to take a stand for the people that Mugabe has murdered and terrorized, but so far, it looks as though the AU won’t bother.  Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak didn’t even list Zimbabwe on the agenda:

On a continent where many leaders seized power by force and have held on to their office for decades, African leaders as a bloc remain reluctant to confront fellow rulers for alleged abuses in their home countries.

Mugabe seemed to be counting on that ambivalence. He has accused his critics among African leaders of following the lead of the United States, which announced new sanctions on Mugabe’s regime after Friday’s vote. Both England and France on Monday urged the African Union to take a tough line with Mugabe. …

African leaders were restrained in public comments Monday. In opening remarks, the African presidents cited an obscure series of clashes between Dijbouti and Eritrea several times more often than they mentioned problems in Zimbabwe.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the summit’s host, did not include Zimbabwe in the ranks of nations whose problems he said the African bloc must address. The African leaders made no immediate public statements on the validity of the Zimbabwe elections.

Over the last decades, the West has been repeatedly challenged to assist Africa with a series of catastrophes, from famines to epidemics to revolutions.  For the most part, the West has responded.  George Bush poured billions of dollars into AIDS treatment and prevention, and efforts to fight malaria, starvation, and the victims of the very leaders gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh.   South Africa in particular owes its current existence to global pressure from the West against the previous apartheid government.  Now, however, these nations can’t be bothered to address the oppression, terrorism, and murder perpetrated by one of their own.

If the AU doesn’t have the time to be bothered with Zimbabwe out of some strange love affair with Mugabe, then the West should make clear that the AU can expect no further assistance from the West on the rest of their issues.  Their welcoming of Mugabe after the violence perpetrated by his regime against his political opponents is the worst kind of appeasement — a cowardly failure to even acknowledge the evil he represents.  Why should we act to assist a group of nations in any capacity that refuses to police its own back yard?

The problems in Africa — famines, pestilence, revolution — all come from the root political failures of African governments.  Aid to these nations help perpetuate the failed political structures like those of not just Mugabe but across the entire continent.  Unless we have vital national security interests at stake, we should adopt a hands-off policy towards Africa and aid until such time as they adopt responsible governments.  The cessation of fawning over dictators like Mugabe would be one sign of that development.


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Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Jeremiah Wright, and Michael Pfleger could not be reached for comment.

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 30, 2008 at 9:20 AM

I think the US should adopt a policy that encourages African leaders to stop dressing like Don “Magic” Juan. Only good things can come from that…

watchmen on June 30, 2008 at 9:23 AM

watchmen on June 30, 2008 at 9:23 AM

Give him his props. He’s Archbishop Don “Magic” Juan.

As a wise man once said, “Don’t hate the playas. Hate the game.”

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 30, 2008 at 9:27 AM

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on June 30, 2008 at 9:27 AM

I knew I set myself up for that one! ;)

watchmen on June 30, 2008 at 9:33 AM

Dr Cwac Cwac at 9:20AM

Al Sharptongue & Jesse Flackson are busy shaking down corporations.
Far-out-can is picketing a Jewish old-folks home.
Phlem-ger & Wrong are buying American flags to burn July 4.

jgapinoy on June 30, 2008 at 9:37 AM

Unless we have vital national security interests at stake, we should adopt a hands-off policy towards Africa and aid until such time as they adopt responsible governments

Sorry, the TCC to which Obama belonged for 20 years is Afrocentric, not U.S focused. If elected, how could he refuse aid? By faith, it is his mother country. The U.S. would only be a source of funds.

a capella on June 30, 2008 at 9:38 AM

I agree..we have wasted too much money trying to help this nation. They do not seem to want to help themselves.

I love how these countries all hate us, but when they need assistance who do they get the most from? The USA.

becki51758 on June 30, 2008 at 9:40 AM

I feel very badly for the Zimbabweans. They had a vibrant country for many years with a good economy, excellent agricultural production, an educated populace, and a real justice system. Mugabe destroyed all of that when he realized the citizens might use that democracy to trim his power. He destroyed the independent judiciary, the economy, and made the police into his thugs. He didn’t do this alone. There is an entrenched elite in the ZANU-PF that set this up and will continue it if Mugabe dies. At this point it would take serious actions by the African Union to yank his supports (particularly South Africa) or an external intervention by a Western power. Neither is going to happen. Oh, and Sudan will carry on slaughtering the Darfur residents.

Ed is right. If the AU can’t get itself together to stand up for the rights of their fellow Africans not to be massacred because they wanted to vote for someone besides the guy that ruined their country – then we really don’t need to hear them whining for something else from us. This isn’t like Rwanda where immediate intervention by foreign military was needed. Mugabe exists on a lifeline from South Africa and international aid. Both could be yanked.

Jill1066 on June 30, 2008 at 9:44 AM

This is the CONTINENT that is the home of CIVILIZATION… What has happened in the last 1,000 years??? I wonder where they will be in 1,000 more years???

pueblo1032 on June 30, 2008 at 9:47 AM

Unless we have vital national security interests at stake, we should adopt a hands-off policy towards Africa and aid until such time as they adopt responsible governments.–Ed

+1

Mubarek and the African Union have made clear their values and their priorities. Their conference is strictly business, not regarding human suffering. They can feign righteousness for not casting the first stone at Mugabe and at the genocide of Christians in Darfur, or annihilation of populations in Africa by Africans. It is not so much cowardice amongst themselves so much as simply the way business is conducted in Africa, take it or leave it.

USA aid and benefits from compassion for the least of these our fellow humans must only reach the intended victims of inhumanity and not supplement the thug barbaric powers.

Given Africa’s unstable balance of power tipping towards the barbaric, we need to stay abreast with intelligence and consider every detail. As African governments go, exactly who or what allies have we in Africa?

maverick muse on June 30, 2008 at 9:47 AM

I just can’t get over the fact that “African-Americans” do little more than complain and cry racism on this side of the pond, knowing how life actually is in Africa.

bridgetown on June 30, 2008 at 9:48 AM

It’s time to let Africa go.

Cut all foreign aid. Stop giving money to charities that funnel that money to Africa.

Just turn your head and walk away. Write it off. Get over it. Move on.

Let Africa sink or swim by itself.

pabarge on June 30, 2008 at 9:52 AM

pabarge on June 30, 2008 at 9:52 AM

No, no no. There are a lot of people doing incredible things for the People over there….despite the pathetic governments over there. It’s a good thing.

bridgetown on June 30, 2008 at 9:58 AM

USA aid and benefits from compassion for the least of these our fellow humans must only reach the intended victims of inhumanity and not supplement the thug barbaric powers.
maverick muse on June 30, 2008 at 9:47 AM

It sounds easier than it is in practice. There are real people who are undergoing real suffering under real dictators. They need our help now more than ever. That having been said, when looking towards those who we can fully entrust to properly deliver our aid money, we need only look in a mirror.

MB007 on June 30, 2008 at 10:02 AM

Mugabe took a country with a per capita income of $1000 and raised it all the way to $500.

Fabulous.

And his neighbors just smile.

drjohn on June 30, 2008 at 10:08 AM

All our aid to Africa over the past 100 years equals a couple months funding for Iraq.

I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it…Africa is in better shape than Iraq.

alphie on June 30, 2008 at 10:10 AM

alphie

The only correct statement you made was that you won’t “lose any sleep” over the torure & murder of hundreds of innocent women & children–even babies–being ordered by Thugabe.

jgapinoy on June 30, 2008 at 10:23 AM

Africa is in better shape than Iraq?????

I knew the left was delusional, but why do they have to go so far out of their way to prove it.

MarkTheGreat on June 30, 2008 at 10:24 AM

“This is the CONTINENT that is the home of CIVILIZATION…”

Civilization? What civilization?

morganfrost on June 30, 2008 at 10:25 AM

jgapinoy,

You don’t understand, those deaths were necessary in order to ensure the planting of communism in those soils. As such, those deaths are to be celebrated, not mourned.

MarkTheGreat on June 30, 2008 at 10:25 AM

alphie

In Iraq–
justice is being done
a tyrant has been deposed
the economy is growing
the badguys are on the run
a beacon of demovcracy & freedom in a dark region of the world
–all of which still needs to happen in Zimbabwe.

jgapinoy on June 30, 2008 at 10:27 AM

This is another opportunity, in a long line over the last twenty years, for a Zimbabwe patriot to step up and shoot this mongrel.

Why it has not happened to date possibly says a lot about Africans in general. Who knows, maybe they like murder and mayhem as a throwback to their revered tribal days before “evil” colonialism disrupted their daily pleasure of raiding and slave taking. Whatever. I’m at a loss to figure out the continued Hutu vs Tutsi type mentality that suffuses modern African politics.

The only thing I’m certain of is there is nothing we can do about it except occasionally shoot the most fiendish of the lot so as to let them all know there is personal responsibility beyond a certain number of body parts.

patrick neid on June 30, 2008 at 10:43 AM

You can tell he is a man of great character and distinction by his fine taste in clothing.

He smacks of an upscale class that is hard to define but it seems to project intelligence and grace.

s/

TheSitRep on June 30, 2008 at 10:43 AM

How hard is it?

It’s pretty simple, stop sending $$$$ to Africa, it almost always falls into the wrong hands.

No aid, no immigrants to US. Let them stay and sort things out.

If we need to help them, we can start by putting a .50 cal round into a dictator’s melon, or rounding up some thug gangs and making an example. That’s how you deal with the Mugabe’s of the world, not through friggin’ sanctions and diplomacy.

reaganaut on June 30, 2008 at 10:48 AM

Check the BBC…..Kenya just asked the AU to suspend Zimbabwe until free elections are held.

Limerick on June 30, 2008 at 11:01 AM

I still am horrified by the story of the wife who had her hand and both legs cut off, and then was burned alive.

I am more horrified that this is all happening right underneath our noses, but nobody in the U.S. cares. Not the mainstream media. Not the race hustlers. Not even Amnesty International. (Must be because they can’t blame the U.S.)

This all has shades of Rwanda. Genocide happening right before our eyes, and we don’t care.

Really, race hustlers (looking at you Sharpton and Jackson). Does it always have to be about white on black violence? Can you, for once, speak out against violence perpetrated by the same color? (No, for the same reason they pay no mind to the continuing gang war between the Hispanic and African-American gangs in L.A. Just doesn’t fit the narrative.)

They care more about what Don Imus said on the radio.

It’s really depressing.

Hawkins1701 on June 30, 2008 at 12:33 PM

C’mon, this is normal for the people of Africa.

Why would anyone think this would bother them or even momentarily distract them from the living hell that is daily life in 98% of Africa?

Am I the only person on Earth who saw Congo?

SuperCool on June 30, 2008 at 2:43 PM

Other African leaders are afraid of throwing stones from their glass houses. The last thing they want is western heat being turned up on corrupt dictators, since they are the norm in Africa.

Grafted on June 30, 2008 at 2:45 PM

If the US steps out of the African picture, then we make that much more room for China, witness Zimbabwe.

The AU is a joke, but then so is the UN, and for the same reasons; legitimacy is not a requirement to participate.

If we stopped letting ourselves be stymied by China and Russia and the other non-free nations of the UN, and created a United Democracy organization, with democracy being defined as much more than an ink stained finger, then we would not only be in a position to pressure Zimbabwe and it’s enablers, we could invite eligible African nations to join. We could invite ineligible nations to become so, look at what the opportunity to join the Union did for for the former territories in the US. (Utah civilizing comment deleted by author for sake of commity) Decent African nations knowing they are disempowered by a despot riddled UN and a despot dominated AU would be pleased to join a United Democracy.

Hell, call it the Justice League for all I care, all I know is the UN has failed it’s vaunted mission and only legitimizes bad actors that ought to be banned from a truly worthy club, and we limit our ability to bless other nations by accepting the shackles of the failed UN. Disengagement will only invite more bad actors, we need to new paradigm.

Maquis on June 30, 2008 at 4:13 PM

The African continent political trainwreck rolls on. LBJ said on tape that history has shown that Latinos make bad administrators. I think it is safe to say that Africans make bad administators too.

saiga on June 30, 2008 at 4:42 PM

South Africa in particular owes its current existence to global pressure from the West against the previous apartheid government.

The ANC may have had something to do with it too….although Reagan sure didn’t help!

The AU is kind of a club for dictators, but that doesn’t mean we should cease aid to Africa. You seem to see actions to help alleviate AIDS and famine as some sort of African affirmative action. If we don’t actively help Africa millions will die as a result. The stakes are much higher in Africa than in America in regards to governmental assistance for blacks.

crr6 on June 30, 2008 at 6:36 PM

I agree..we have wasted too much money trying to help this nation. They do not seem to want to help themselves.

I love how these countries all hate us, but when they need assistance who do they get the most from? The USA.

becki51758 on June 30, 2008 at 9:40 AM

Who said all African nations hate us? And as a proportion of our GDP, the US actually gives the the least amount of foreign aid among industrialized nations.

I just can’t get over the fact that “African-Americans” do little more than complain and cry racism on this side of the pond, knowing how life actually is in Africa.

bridgetown on June 30, 2008 at 9:48 AM

This is why people think Republicans are bigots. Just so ya know. Keep doin your thing though.

crr6 on June 30, 2008 at 6:40 PM

The African continent political trainwreck rolls on. LBJ said on tape that history has shown that Latinos make bad administrators. I think it is safe to say that Africans make bad administators too.

saiga on June 30, 2008 at 4:42 PM

that too.

crr6 on June 30, 2008 at 6:43 PM

Soon, America will have the government it desires just like Zimbabwe.

The end of U.S. civilization is nigh.

TheSitRep on June 30, 2008 at 6:47 PM

crr6 on June 30, 2008 at 6:40 PM

Get with the program anyone who does not vote for Obama and or has the temerity to criticize any policy position by any black has already been targeted as a bigot by the overlords.

The sanctimony of the left is going to backfire though.

elduende on June 30, 2008 at 8:15 PM

I know this is late in the thread but… as part of my Bachelor’s I studied the contrasting relationship of Christians and Muslims in Tanzania and Nigeria. One of the things I found out was that in the typical Black African nation the leader (and his party), once voted into office view this as proof of them having received the “mandate of heaven”, ie. they are the choice of the Ancestors to lead the country. This explains why oft-repeated pattern in Black Africa is one, and one only, fair and open election followed by years of dictatorship.

This belief is extremely hard to break and should be viewed by us as a fundamental matter of worldview for Black Africans, similar to the fundamental view of Americans on, say, freedom of speech or personal liberty. Black Africans are culturally also very reluctant to disagree with one another. Tribalism too, has a determinative effect. I’m reminded of a lecturer who spent some time in Zaire when Mobutu was in power. When he questioned a local on Mobutu’s corruption the local answered “Yes… but he looks after his tribe well.”

So, yes there are many African leaders who are shutting up because they too have or are employing brutish tactics in their own countries, but the cultural forces should not be overlooked.

Liam1304 on July 1, 2008 at 1:11 AM