03 July 2012

Zimbabwe and Mugabe

The Man from Beijing by Henning Mankell, 2010, Excerpts

As early as 1980, when Zimbabwe, then called Rhodesia, was liberated from Ian Smith‘s fascist regime, Mugabe had offered the white farmers open discussions aiming at finding a peaceful solution to the vital question of landownership. His overtures had been greeted by silence on that first occasion and then many times over the following fifteen years. Over and over again Mugabe had repeated his offer of negotiations but had received no response, only contemptuous silence. His patience finally ran out, and large numbers of farms were handed over to the landless. This was immediately condemned by the West, and protests flowed in from all sides.

At that moment the image of Mugabe was changed from that of a freedom fighter to that of the classical African tyrant. He was depicted just as anti-Semites used to depict the Jews, and this man who had spearheaded the liberation of his country was ruthlessly defamed. Nobody mentioned that the former leaders of the Ian Smith regime, not least Smith himself, had been allowed to remain in Zimbabwe. Mugabe did not send them into the law courts and then to the gallows as the British used to do with rebellious black men in the colonies.

He was constantly and brutally attacked in the Western media. The loud protests from landowners and their newspapers were intended to drown the cries of pain coming from those who were still suffering from torture inflicted by colonialism. It was too simple to place all the blame on Mugabe. The truth was more complicated. Zimbabwe and Robert Mugabe were under siege. The sanctions imposed by the West meant that the basic infrastructure of the country was close to collapse.

Zimbabwe sets banks deadline for handing over control
03 Jul 2012
Zimbabwe has given foreign banks a year to hand a controlling stake to black Zimbabweans. The government has said they must adhere to the 2007 law requiring at least 51% of shares to be held by locals. The policy has divided the Zimbabwean authorities, with the reserve bank and finance ministry arguing it could damage the economy. The latest deadline also includes hotels and telecommunications firms.

Mugabe threat to nationalize US and UK Zimbabwe firms
17 Dec 2010
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe says his country will nationalize all US and UK companies operating in the country unless Western sanctions are removed. "Why should we continue to have 400 British companies operating here freely?" Mr Mugabe said. "Why should we continue having companies and organizations that are supported by Britain and America without hitting back? Time has come for us to [take] revenge." Under Zimbabwe's empowerment laws, black Zimbabweans should acquire 51% of foreign businesses. Western states have imposed travel bans and asset freezes on President Mugabe, his wife and inner circle. Trade bans are also in place against Zimbabwean individuals and companies.

Zimbabwe inflation at 2,200,000%
16 Jul 2008
Mr Mugabe denies that he is ruining the economy, laying the blame on international sanctions he says have been imposed against Zimbabwe. The US and the EU have imposed targeted sanctions, such as a travel ban and an assets freeze, on Mr. Mugabe and his close allies.

Mugabe threat to expel US envoy
25 May 2008
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has threatened to expel the US ambassador, accusing him of meddling in the country's political process. Earlier this month ambassador James McGee warned post-election violence in Zimbabwe was "spinning out of control". "As long as he carries on doing that, I will kick him out of the country," Mugabe said of Mr McGee, a Vietnam War veteran. "I don't care if he fought in Vietnam. This is Zimbabwe, not an extension of America," he said.

PM to boycott talks over Mugabe
27 Nov 2007
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he will not attend an EU-Africa summit after Zimbabwe's leader Robert Mugabe confirmed he would be there. “Given the circumstances of the last 10 years and our attempts to give assistance in Zimbabwe, which have been thwarted and resisted, it is not possible for us to attend this summit and sit down with President Mugabe." The collapse of the Zimbabwean economy and society therefore was something for which President Mugabe and his policies have got to take full responsibility, he added.

Huge Rise in Zimbabwe Inflation
17 May 2007
Critics have blamed President Robert Mugabe's policies, particularly the seizure of white-owned farms, for damaging the once self-sufficient country - in the past described as the bread basket of Africa. President Mugabe, meanwhile, has accused foreign governments of trying to sabotage Zimbabwe's economy and topple him.

Robert Mugabe

No comments: