Mugabe swears in and jets out

Robert Mugabe was sworn in at a ceremony on Sunday at which he promised talks with the opposition; talks which the MDC seem willing to participate in but sound less than optimistic about:“Mr Mugabe has a sweet tongue but sour actions,” Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman for the MDC, told the BBC. “But when all is said and done, there has to be dialogue about a transitional period that would lead to a free and fair election. The politicians of this country need to set aside their egos and think of the future of this country. We need to put a full stop on our people’s suffering,” he said.

Mugabe himself has gone to the meeting of the Africa Union, whose monitors condemned the election, as did the Southern African Development Community’s. A number of possible scenarios have been postulated.
The actions of the South African government are critical and the very likely new South African president Jacob Zuma seems to be willing to adopt a harder line than Thabo Mbeki.
SADC whose chief mediator is Mbeki has its origins in the anti apartheid struggle. There is of course another historic parallel between South Africa’s role now and its role in the end of Rhodesia. The end of Ian Smith’s Rhodesian regime was largely brought about by, if not economic sanctions, economic unhelpfulness masterminded by South African PM Voster and his withdrawal of South African ground troops and military aircraft, which up until that time had helped the Rhodesians. Smith was extremely popular amongst white South Africans and Voster of course ran a more racist and discriminatory regime than Smith. As such continuing to assist Smith would have seemed more likely. However, Voster felt that pressurising Smith would reduce pressure on him from other African states and also please the Western powers.

It will be interesting to see whether the South African government will play the same part with Mugabe as Apartheid South Africa did with Rhodesia.

  • I only learned at the weekend that he had been knighted by the Queen of England. Apparently he’s only been divested of his titled in the past few days. How come it took so long? Or is this normal behaviour for Knights of the British Realm?

  • Hogan

    When the Clegg first questioned Miliband in the commons about the Knighthood for Mugabe he was swiftly rapped on the knuckles for engaging in a PR stunt of distracting symbolism (i paraphrase ofcourse)that would have no impact on the ground.

    Low and behold 2 weeks later the foreign office have her Britannic Majesty remove it as a mark of Britains ‘repugnance’?

    My interpretation? – They tried to smother Clegg’s calls under a pillow of Royal indulgance to save Her Maj’s blushes over the amount of bloodthirsty tyrants she’s handed out gongs to over the years. Probably also suited a few of the Foreign Office officials whose names will be all over the memos in the 1990’s recommending Mugabe for the ‘honour’.

    Didn’t work so they went ahead with the ‘repugnance’ plan.

    Maybe she’d like to recall the officials Knighthoods as well over their ‘dis-service to the nation’? Now that would be interesting!

  • Despite its subsequent belated withdrawal, the knighthood for Mugabe gives an indication of the true value of such baubles globally – ie they’re much sought after by tyrants and despots it seems. And they’re given out to keep the tyrants happy – I wonder how much of Mugabe’s stolen wealth is in British banks.

  • Greenflag

    COL ,

    ‘I wonder how much of Mugabe’s stolen wealth is in British banks.’

    At this stage probably very little if any . Most of it is in Switzerland and Malaysia and I’m sure in recent years the tyrant has managed to get some out to China the last remaining ‘economic ‘ power that has’nt called his ‘election’ a sham . Wonder why ? I guess they don’t do multi party elections in China either .

    If the African Union had any gumption they would call on the Egyptian Government to arrest Mugabe for the genocide of 30,000 Matabele tribesmen (Zimbabwe’s 17% minority) in the mid 1980’s . Those of us who were there at the time remember very well how the western poweres including the UK & USA turned a blind eye to what was ‘happening ‘to the ‘black minority (Matabele).
    They only opened their mouths when the ‘white minority’ started getting it in the neck after Mugabes ‘referendum ‘ for gaining more power for the office of President /Dictator was defeated by a majority of Zimbabweans circ 2000.

    ‘they’re (baubles) much sought after by tyrants and despots it seems.’

    Even Communist Dictators like Ceaucescu of Romania got one from Labour leader and PM at the time James Callaghan . It was thought Ceaucescu would place a huge armaments order . John Major’s Government pushed out the knighthood for Mugabe .

    To be fair to Queenie – Reports indicate she was less than happy with either of the above two recipients becoming Sir’s . But she has to do what her Government orders . Symbol of the nation and all that .

  • BfB


    ‘Those of us who were there at the time remember very well how the western poweres including the UK & USA turned a blind eye to what was ‘happening ‘to the ‘black minority (Matabele). ‘

    Are we going into the shades of black thing in Africa now? Black minority? We’re so fortunate to have an impartial, eyes on, observer of whose skin color is the right shade of black. And, an anti-American, conspiracy ridden, nutroot as yourself is a delight.

    Do say hi when you speak with Mugabe….
    There’s a nice chap.

  • Turgon


    Greenflag can defend himself and frequently I disagree with him but he was there at the time and his accounts tally with all I have read.

    The North Korean trained 5th brigade were involved in the extremely violent supression of Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU in the Gukurahundi operation. Western governments did not make enough of a fuss. I suspect that was for a number of reasons. They probably did not want Mugabe making Zimbabwe a Russian or Chinese satellite. They also probably were anxious about attacking Mugabe so soon after his coming to power: it would have made the Lancaster House agreement look very flawed.

    The fact is, however, that a pretty brutal repression was performed and our governments probably should have said more.

  • Greenflag

    Thank you Turgon for relieving me of the need to having to reply to the ignoramus!

    You are also spot on – re your rationale for non intervention by western powers.

    ‘that a pretty brutal repression was performed and our governments probably should have said more’

    Should have , could have , . Remind me of this when the USA neo con crazies attack Iran before Bush leaves office.

  • BfB

    ‘Remind me of this when the USA neo con crazies attack Iran before Bush leaves office.’

    And, an anti-American, conspiracy ridden, nutroot as yourself is a delight.


    Explain black minority in the context you used..

  • Greenflag

    BfB ,

    ‘Explain black minority in the context you used’.

    I guess I now know what bFb stands for:(
    braindead from Boston 🙁

    There is more than one minority in Zimbabwe . The Whites are an insignificant ‘minority’ approx 30,000 in a population of 13 million .The Matabele who speak a different language Sindebele from the Mashona (Mugabe’s tribe ) make up 17% approx of Zimbabwe’s population . When commentators mention ‘minority’ in Zimbabwe they assume ‘white’ which is not necessarily the truth in the politics of that country.

    When Mugabe tried to grab more power for himself in 2000 he was opposed by the few remaining Whites , most of the Matabele and a large section of the Mashona . By 2000 anyone with a brain could foresee what was happening to the economy and where Mugabe’s nuttiness would lead .

    But never mind Mugabe – You Bfb should be more concerned about the power grabbing antics of your own neo con President sorry compassionate conservative as he now tries to pull every trick in the book to launch a pre emptive strike on Iran . A few months back he managed to get 400 million dollars for ‘special expenditures’ for destabilising ‘Iran ‘ . Apparently the idea is that Cheney is going to send in anti Iranian militants to destabilise and overthrow the Iranian Govt .

    A stroke of genius of course ,particularly given the fact that Iran is the most stable State in the region and guess who is Iraq ‘s best buddy .
    The rational for Cheney is that as Israel will be threatened and will not have the fire power to destroy Iranian installations because of much improved Iranian anti aircraft defences, the USA might as well join in because they the USA will be blamed anyway . The only problem is geting the public to support such a strike . Much easier of course if they did’nt have the Iraqi mess to look back on for more evidence of clear ‘neo con ‘ thinking .

    Presumably if US sponsored ‘terrorists’ can provoke the Iranians into a stupid or overkill response then the USA will have it’s ‘excuse ‘.

    Now that the USA has done a deal with the nutty North Koreans previously the pariahs of Asia the US can say ‘see ‘ ‘we are reasonable people we even did a deal with the North Koreans ‘ which just goes to prove how irrational these Iranians are ? Q.E.D

    Apparently the reason Admiral Fallon ‘resigned ‘ from his Command in the region was because Cheney would not give him full access to information in his area of operations . Poor Fallon had to listen to a lieutenant (special forces) under his command tell him (Fallon ) that he could not be trusted with ‘information’ which Fallon requested . Ergo President Cheney had Fallon ‘fired ‘/resigned .

    You can read all about your upcoming war /sneak attack on Iran in the New Yorker courtesy of a Mr Seymour Hersh .

    How’s that 140 dollar a barrel of oil working out for you . Not to worry after Cheney’s waste to Iran it’ll be closer to 500 dollars a barrel . Time to start looking at a horse and cart again !

    As for damaging McCain’s chances -they don’t give a f**k . They know it’s a lost cause anyway .

  • BfB

    So, Greenie, as I suspected, you used the racial epithet ‘black’ to accuse the USA of ignoring whatever drivel you typed last. You’re a race baiter as well…
    No surprise.

  • Harry Flashman

    It’s a bit rich blaming the western nations for a Marxist doing what Marxists always do when they get into power; exterminating the opposition.

    If the Tory government had tried to do anything to stop the Matabele massacres all the usual suspects would have been jumping up and down howling in outrage about British imperialists intervening in the internal affairs of independent African nations.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>Thank you Turgon for relieving me of the need to having to reply to the ignoramus!<