Ruled by criminals

BY STANFORD MUKASA WASHINGTON - The recent visit to Zimbabwe by the United Nations envoy, Jan Egeland, has highlighted one fact: Time has come to bring Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) to the International Criminal Court of Justice. Zimbabweans in Diaspora, the international community and the Secu

rity Council must now take the first proactive steps towards prosecuting Mugabe. The international community must lobby the Security Council to act immediately after it has heard the report from Egeland.

The charge against Mugabe is simple and evidence is ample. Mugabe is responsible for some of the most horrendous crimes against humanity as defined by the United Nations.

Virtually all international reports on Zimbabwe, including those of Mugabe’s regime, have given consistent factual information and statistics that point to a country that is in a free fall, a country whose social, political, economic, health, and agricultural systems have all but collapsed. Democracy and the rule of law are outlawed by the increasingly panicky and unstable Mugabe regime that is even afraid and suspicious of its own shadow.

These are clearly signs of a dysfunctional Mugabe. Like a naughty school boy, he has had the gall to use graffiti language to insult the very same people who are trying to help him out of the mess he has created. He once called British prime minister a Blair toilet and used the word lice to refer to US secretary of state Condoleeza Rice. Now he has condemned UN envoy Egeland by saying his Swedish background makes it difficult for Egeland to understand English!

Mugabe has consistently used the international forums he has attended as a pulpit to preach the gospel of hatred and cliché politics. He has lambasted the West for no justifiable reason. Talk of biting the hand that feeds you!
Those are visible signs of a decaying and criminal mind of Mugabe.

In less than 10 years, the number of Zimbabweans officially classified as poor has doubled to 80 percent of the country’s population. In others words eight out of every 10 Zimbabweans are absolutely poor. There is no more middle class in Zimbabwe. It is now a country of very rich few and masses living in abject poverty.

Mugabe’s mismanagement of the country and the economy has set Zimbabwe back 50 years. Life in Zimbabwe is exactly what it used to be in 1950s. Human rights abuse, sanctioned by Mugabe, is the order of the day in Zimbabwe. Human rights organizations monitoring the situation on the ground report continued harassment and violence, even though it has declined somewhat, against opposition supporters.

Freedom of speech and the press are a non- existent luxury. Elections are routinely rigged to the extent that it is now practically impossible to defeat Mugabe through the ballot box.

For a long time he refused to allow the United Nations to launch an international appeal to help the poor, starving and homeless Zimbabweans. He only relented to humanitarian assistance for the poor because he suddenly discovered that he and his cronies stood to drum up some business. When Mugabe eventually agreed to the offer to build homes for the homeless his vice president, Joyce Mujuru, had reportedly seized a brick- making company.

What kind of cruelty and evil has possessed Mugabe’s senile mind to deny homeless people the right to be sheltered in tents? The reason is purely economic. Mugabe knows he cannot generate a viable business from prefabricated tents. None of his companies has foreign exchange to start manufacturing the tents.

The map of Africa today is undergoing a major transformation under new winds of change. Democracy, basic human rights and the freedom of the press are being embraced in many parts of Africa. All of Zimbabwe’s neighbors are a visible evidence of a new democratic culture that is gaining roots.
Yet Zimbabwe under Mugabe remains the odd man out, refusing to change with the time and stubbornly balking at the notion of democracy, the rule of law and basic human rights. Mugabe has clearly violated a cardinal tenet of the UN charter. It is time for the Security Council to act decisively on Mugabe.

He and his cronies must be brought before the International Criminal Court of Justice. They will of course not come voluntarily. But they can be tried in absentia. Let the world note that Zimbabwe is being ruled by criminals.

Post published in: Opinions

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