The Vigil expects Belgium’s diamond thirst to prevail and that the EU will lift the remaining targeted sanctions. After being told that – despite being the major donors to Zimbabwe – they would not be allowed to observe the elections they blithely said the EU would be guided by SADC as to their credibility. Well, SADC leaders ignored their own election guidelines and closed their eyes to all the evidence, hailing the blatantly-rigged elections as a triumph for Mugabe and going on to choose him to chair the organisation next year.
Even President Zuma’s advisor Lindiwe Zulu has seen the glittering light reflected by the diamonds and is now calling on the West to be nice to Mugabe and, furthermore, close down ‘pirate’ radio stations. Perhaps Mugabe was more justified than we thought in calling her ‘an idiotic street woman’. Idiotic, certainly, otherwise she would know that the West cannot close down radio stations operating perfectly legally or they would have to close down the BBC World Service.
So what difference will it make if the sanctions are dropped? Well, it will legitimize Zimbabwe’s stolen elections. But Africa and much of the world have shown that they are quite happy with stolen elections.
The Vigil thinks that one positive outcome of the end of sanctions could be that Mugabe would have to find another excuse for the cataclysmic failure of his governance of Zimbabwe. When he came to power Zimbabwe was the second biggest economy in SADC. Now it is one of the poorest. Previously despised Zambia now has a GDP three times as big.
What worries us most in the diaspora is that the UN says it will have to feed a quarter of the rural population in the coming months. This is at a time when the UN says it is running out of money to feed desperate Syrian refugees.
The Vigil has an idea for the British government. Why not feed the starving people in Zimbabwe with money from the $1 billion or so it donates to SADC countries every year? These countries have shown they want to help Mugabe. This would allow the UN to devote its scarce resources to the urgent needs of the suffering people of Syria.
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