REGIME CHANGE: Target Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe
By Emmanuel Abalo
With official inflation running at 4,500 percent -- the highest in the world -- though independent financial institutions estimate real inflation is closer to 9,000 percent, the government has initiated a crack down on businesses, forcing a slash in price of commodities. Scores of company executives have been charged with hoarding goods and flouting the price cuts, and several have been fined up to $6,600, But this move to impose lower price is a direct and futile machination by the Mugabe regime to defy the law of supply and demand. By way of explanation, the basic concept of economics of the law of supply and demand concedes that price level will move toward the point hat equalizes quantities supplied and demanded. Reports now indicate that factories, stores and gas stations have been unable to replace goods sold at below cost. Basic commodities needed for daily sustenance are gravely lacking leading to hunger, malnutriton and a health crisis. The dignity o f ordinary and proud Zimbabweans has been reduced to the "daily hunt" for a loaf of bread.
Historically, the Catholic church in Zimbabwe and many other despotic countries have stood as one of many loud and critical "voices" against injustice, poverty and marginalization imposed on the people. In one of their harshest rebuke to the Mugabe goverment, Roman Catholic bishops in Zimbabwe issued a pastoral letter in May, 2001 in which they maintained that "Violence, intimidation and threats are the tools of failed politicians..".
The long time critic of the Mugabe government His Grace Archibishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, in another bold indictment of the government this week, described the situation as "life threatening." And he is absolutely correct! According to the Zimbabwean prelate, "Mugabe is a man who is a megalomaniac. He loves power, he lives for power...."
In 2003, Archbishop Ncube was the recipient of a Human Rights Award from the international group Humnan Rights First for his vocal opposition to toture and his critical stance against the Mugabe regime. He has received many death threats but continues to speak for his people and the church.
In Liberia, in the last 30 years, the now ailing Archibishop Michael K. Francis of the Diocese of Monrovia consistently and forcefully challenged the excesses and political decadence of despots such as former Presidents Samuel Doe and Charles Taylor even at the peril of his own life. Archbishop Francis was recognized and received the 1999 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award for his social justice and peace building efforts in Liberia
More than ever before the reality of "regime change" in the context of a "popular people uprising" against his failed leadership appears closer every day in Mr. Mugabe's rear view mirror. With a huge erosion of people's confidence, the response of the Zimbabwean President to the crisis has been illogical, and to say the least, senseless - apportioning blame to sanctions imposed by western countries who are seeking his ouster.
The international community including the United Nations, the African Union and even his geographical neighbors have clearly told Mr. Mugabe that his style of undemocratic governance and thuggery are unacceptable and need to improve. But the Zimbabwean leader has instead chosen to thumb his nose at non-violent but corrective methods measures such as diplomatic sanctions, embargoes and boycotts. Logically, that government can do something to stem the downward and out- of -control spiral of events by instituting an immediate improvement in its human rights records, good goveranance and the inclusion of the voices of dissent in national governance. The issue then is the unwillingnes and or inability of the Zimbabwean government to change course and avoid inviting regime change on itself. It is a laughable but a sad commentary on the legacy of a once famous African freedom fighter who can be seen as writing the last chapter of his political life through foggy lens.
Mr. Mugabe can glean a clue from the popular Nigerian novelist in his magnum opus, Things Fall Apart (1958) ..."Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold."
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