Of buses, dogs and presidents...the story of Zimbabwe

Does anyone give a hoot what that idiot Mugabe (TIM) is up to now? Where does his stance on the Commonwealth leave us - and those we have recruited as F&C soldiers from that State - now? Should HMG be looking to take a more direct line or at least express its views without fear of the Former Colonial Power card being played?

Here's some local comment on the situation Zimbabwe now finds itself in...

Comment from ZWNEWS, 7 December

Of buses, dogs and presidents

"Two stories exemplify the disparity of views in dealing with the Zimbabwe
crisis. The first is the view of democrats within Zimbabwe and was first
told by John Makumbe at the launch of the Crisis in Zimbabwe initiative in
August 2001. Zimbabweans are on a bus travelling from Troutbeck to Nyanga, a notorious down-hill stretch that has claimed many lives before. The driver starts to speed up and, at first, all the passengers urge him to go faster, but it takes a short while before they realize he is drunk, and so they change their calls to slow down. It takes a little longer before they
realize that he is also mad and unresponsive to their cries. When will the
passengers realize that they had better get their hands on the wheel, feet
on the brakes, and remove the driver?

The story is as apposite today as it was two years ago. The second story is attributed to one of the SADC Presidents and was related by a senior MDC spokesman to whom the story was told. Now the problem is not a drunk and crazy bus driver, but a big dog trapped on a room, with all windows and doors closed. Try to make the dog leave the room and in all probability he will bite you, so get smart and make the dog happy. Feed him and pet him, and he will leave the room without a fuss. These two views characterize the crisis in a very distinct way.

Zimbabweans know the driver is mad and the time is too short for reason, but clearly, whilst there are fears about the forthcoming accident, there are also fears that the process of removing the driver will equally cause an
accident. African leaders see rather the problem of the biting dog and
believe the dog can be trained, or at least conned into leaving.

The difference between the two stories reflects a gap in reality between the story tellers. The problem was succinctly summarized by a senior MDC
spokesperson last weekend. In answer to questions about removing either the driver or the dog, there are some clear conditions laid out by Zanu PF. Amnesty for all, the land process in all its aspects will be left untouched, and the government shall be recognized as legitimate: meet these conditions and substantive talks can begin. The dog has some very clear views on what will stop it biting. It is evident that issues related to accountability have very high priority for Zanu PF, which, on its own, is validation that many abuses have taken place. Why worry about accountability if you have nothing to fear?

The position of the MDC is rather different. Their call is for open and unconditional dialogue. The mandate for this dialogue is relatively straight forward: firstly, a return to a democratic order, an "open space", which will allow the holding of free and fair elections. This will require the repeal or non-application of draconian laws [POSA, AIPPA, etc], and the setting up of a wholly independent electoral commission.

Secondly, negotiations should focus on the holding of elections as possible
after the creation of the "open space". The focus is not on pre-conditions
nor on prescribing the future, but merely on process. The MDC is clearly
less interested in feeding the dog than in stopping the crash.
It seems however that the big dog theory leads African leaders into all
sorts of illogicalities, and may even have attenuated and exacerbated the
Zimbabwe crisis. Look at several of their decisions, best exemplified by a
number of South African decisions. The South African Parliamentary Observer Mission to the 2002 Presidential Election noted a large number of
irregularities and unacceptable practices, but still came to the conclusion
that the election was "legitimate". Making the same observations, the
so-called "minority parties" - actually all the other parties - came to
exactly the opposite conclusion. The decision of the ANC members was not
illogical if they were worried about the dog biting, and, thus, later on, it
is not "illogical" to call for the MDC to drop their petition. There are
further "illogicalities" that derive from the dog metaphor. The positions of
South Africa and Nigeria on the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth illustrate this well. Firstly, these two countries support the views in the Commonwealth Observer Group report on the Presidential Election, which is rather illogical given the views of their own observer groups. Nonetheless, on the 19th March 2002, Nigeria and South Africa joined with Australia in suspending Zimbabwe from the Councils of the Commonwealth. The suspension was to remain in force for one year, and required the Zimbabwe Government to do a large number of things. By the time of the six month review, the Zimbabwe Government had done none of them, even denying the validity of the suspension.

The South African and Nigerian Governments refused to deepen the pressure, and instead gave the Zimbabwe Government another six months grace. At the end of the twelve months, they then asked for the suspension to be dropped as the period had run out, and were somewhat disgruntled when the Commonwealth decided to keep the suspension in place until CHOGM. More "illogically", the South African Government then asked for Zimbabwe to attend CHOGM. How could Zimbabwe attend a Council from which it was suspended without the suspension being lifted? Start looking for the big dog and you find the answer. So who fears the dog? Not Zimbabweans, who are much more concerned with the bus driver and stopping a crash. It is the SADC Governments that fear the dog, and perhaps with good cause, for it will not only be Zimbabweans that get bitten. It might be that the dog is mad and will go around biting everyone it sees, and, if this is the reasoning of the SADC Governments, perhaps they have more in common with Zimbabweans and their problems with the mad, drunk bus driver. How does this all relate to
reality? If we give up on the dog theory, and accept the bus driver problem, then we can give up on all the "illogicalities". We can see all the evidence for the driver not being in control, and we can accept that a good test of this would come from the election petition being mounted by the MDC. We can then accept that Zimbabwe has done nothing to warrant its return to the Councils of the Commonwealth. We can accept the position of the MDC that process must happen: open and unconditional dialogue is the only way forward. Actually, if we have the right authority, we can tell the dog to sit, heel, and then go outside."
My personal theory is that MBeki and the ANC want to see if Mugles can get away with vote-rigging and ethnic cleansing. If he can they will try it themselves within ten years, this being the maximum time South Africans will stand the lack of real improvement in their quality of life.
White farmers are essentially the same "look over there- it's their fault, not ours or yours" distraction that the Jews were in Germany or Catholics in England or whatever. It was said that majority rule in SA didn't derail the gravy-train just slow it enough for new passengers to get on. However the engine is running out of steam and no-one has any idea how to shovel coal.
The handling of AIDS/HIV is an example of this - they've effectivly ignored the problem for years now they've woken up and are bleating for drugs and aid yet they still don't seem to want to get to grips with the spread of the disease. Anything up to 60% of black girls in some areas have been raped, underage sex and prostitution is rife and superstitions such as the "virgin cure" are spreading the disease to babies and yet the SA government rejects calls to crack down on these problems as racist.
Within a decade SA will be on the ropes and as is the tradition of post-colonial governments in Africa the ANC won't go if it can help it - no matter what, so their white-farmers with become the Jews and the free press will become "seditious" and opposition will be puppets of some outside agency and elections will always produce a thumping majority for the ANC.

--Abstracted from an essay by a (black) South African friend of mine.
There's an awful lot I should say about the subject, having lived and worked in the region for many years in the past; unfortunately the law of the UK is such that I could be prosecuted for inciting racial hatred or something, so my lips are sealed. So much for free speech and rational debate.
Like the analogy of the big dog and the mad drunk bus driver - very African way of looking at the situation, as well a two phenomena most of us have experienced whilst living in that fair continent.

I hope that some junior desk officer in MI5 has been assigned with the task of looking for potential strong local leaders of the future so they can be supported when it's time to overthrow the old corrupt regimes that run Zim and SA now (and I speak as an ANC supporter of old).

It cannot be a coincidence that the only black nations to support Bad Dog Mugabe are those on it's borders, but why? What's he buying them off with? Or, perhaps more pertinently, what's he threatening them with? Whatever it is, it must be something worth the wrath and contempt of the rest of the Commonwealth - unless they are thinking of pullng out of the Commonwealth and setting up a Southern African Economic Community. This has been mooted in the past, and it could be very successful if it wasmanaged properly - but there lies the rub............
Who gives a toss if he leaves the Commonwealth....what's it to us? Will the World come to an end or some other catastrophy befall us...I think not.

Why do people not see him for the mad, corrupt dictator that he is. In fact, why don't we see if we can convince the Yanks that he is harbouring terrorists and weapons of mass destruction!!!!!
if Zimbabwe is no longer in the Commonwealth where does that leave all the Zimbabweans recruited into the army?

and will the army be stoping recruiting from there?


give the land/country back to the blacks and they seem to fcuk it up somehow , if i was a white guy i would leave Africa while i still can and with all my money before its too late

this is not a racist view by the way , even im p1ssed off with all the PC arsewipes going around causing racial division where there is no need to be
It's not that giving the place back to the blacks does the damage it's the particular blacks that it's given back to. Mugabe is an utter arrse as was known back at independence and yet he was still handed the country on a plate.
Part of the "problem" is African culture. It is expected of leaders to look after their (extended) family, tribe and country in that order. If someone gets into a position of authority and does not set about lining his own pockets he is considered a fool.

One of the other factors was the Europeans love on lines on the map than ignored tribal landes etc. My own grandfather helped draw the straight line through the Ogaden desert between Abyssnia (Ethiopia) and British Somaliland in the 1930s. It took no account of the nomads and others. I beleive it was one of the elements of the war between Ethiopia and Somalia some years back.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
brownhat The NAAFI Bar 105
J Professionally Qualified, RAMC and QARANC 3
Tricky1982 The NAAFI Bar 122

Similar threads

Latest Threads