Zimbabwe - NOT on the NeoCons list ?

Discussion in 'Multinational HQ' started by Goatman, Apr 1, 2005.

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  1. Yes - regime change enforced by USA

  2. Yes - former Colonial power has responsibility.

  3. No - a legitimate government elected by the people.

  4. No - not our concern. Africa must solve its own problems.

  5. Why? - do they have oil ?

  1. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    from the Sunday Times:

    Jailed farmer's wife fights poll

    TO contest a parliamentary election is not a decision to be taken lightly anywhere. But in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, where opposition candidates are persecuted, it is literally a matter of life and death, writes Christina Lamb.

    Heather Bennett, 42, a half-Scottish mother of two, knows better than most people what Zimbabwe's president is capable of. After her husband Roy, a coffee farmer, won a seat for the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the 2000 elections, their lives were repeatedly threatened.

    She was abducted when four months pregnant and made to dance in the rain at spear-point until she miscarried; their workers were brutalised and raped; their cat was burnt alive; and last April soldiers drove them off the estate they had worked for years to buy. Roy Bennett is now serving a one-year sentence with hard labour in one of Zimbabwe's worst jails. His crime — pushing the justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who said that the couple would never set foot on the farm again despite six court orders to the contrary.

    However, when she was asked earlier this month by the people of the Chimanimani area to succeed her husband as their prospective MP in this week's elections, Heather Bennett had no hesitation. "I never in my life dreamt of becoming a politician," she said. "But in this country politics is not a luxury — it's a matter of good against evil, pure and simple."

    The initial plan was that she would campaign in her husband's name. A fluent Shona speaker, he is so popular among local people that in the 2000 elections he won an overwhelming majority in what had always been a stronghold of the ruling Zanu-PF party. Although the High Court ruled that Bennett could stand in this year's election from prison, Mugabe denounced the decision as "madness" and last week the country's election commission referred the matter to the Supreme Court.

    Beatrice Mtetwa, Bennett's lawyer, said, "There was no point in appealing. It was clear what they would say.”

    Thus on Friday it was announced that Heather Bennett would stand — one of just two white women contesting the elections.

    “Roy said that too many people have lost too much for us to give up at this point,” she said. “It feels like this is the last sprint.”

    For the first time in her life she has found herself addressing rallies, speaking in English while her campaign manager translates into Shona. “It’s scary,” she admitted, sipping a whisky and water as she fielded phone calls in her quietly spoken way.

    As the daughter of a Spitfire pilot who met her Glaswegian mother during the second world war before moving to Zimbabwe in 1947, Heather Bennett has plenty of fighting spirit. The attempt to become an MP has restored the spark that friends say she lost when her husband was incarcerated.

    Her entry into the murky world of Zimbabwean politics is backed by her 17-year-old daughter Casey, who is at school in Harare, and 19- year-old son Charles, studying in Cirencester, Gloucestershire. “They know we can’t just give in,” she said.

    If she is elected, her husband will serve the constituency once he gets out of jail — she is allowed a half-hour visit to him each fortnight — and she will be in parliament.

    “We will make a good team,” she said.


    The sad thing is, because most of his Cabinet ( let alone his constituents) would be hard-pressed to find Zimbabwe on a map, the chances of Mister Bush deciding to do something about Uncle Bob's murderous regime is about as likely as the cardinals picking Basil Brush as the next Pope.......

    Le Chevre
  2. I'd like to add another option to the poll...

    "Yes lets intervene - but not militarily"

    I reckon military power is a solution to many of the world's problems. I was in favour of it in Iraq but I don't think its the solution in this case. I think we should puts lots of pressure on the surrounding countries - particularly South Africa - to denounce Mugabe and force through reforms. Our aid/trade relations to S.Africa and other SADC countries should be dependent on them enforcing good governance in the region.

  3. Zim is basically South Africa's 'sphere of invfluence' and we should be leaning on the Saffas to do something about it, offering direct help if necessary. But any intervention should be African-led, and not by the former colonial power, which would just play into Mugabe's hands.
  4. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    hmmm......Sanctions are a joke . All they achieve is

    A) much gleeful rubbing of hands from the legions of entrepreneurs eager to find ways around them....and line their pockets at the same time.

    B) further impoverishment of the most vulnerable in the food chain, the elderly,the sick and the under 12's.

    C) Ian Smith and Pik Botha survived very well in the face of similar non-mil pressures.

    BTW, thanks to the 8 people ( out of 75 viewers) who took the trouble to vote - to every one else PLSE USE THE DAMN BUTTONS !

    What Bob needs is some applied ' extension of diplomacy by other means'.....preferably from his own people, but that is no more likely than the Iraqis being able to liberate themselves from the Tikriti mafia unaided.

    I cannot believe it is beyond the combined covert resources of the G8 countries to remove this ungodly wretch from power...I am therefore obliged to believe that he stays there because someone in the West finds it convenient.

    ( definitley need a drink.......)

    Le Chevre
  5. The difference is that, to Bush and the zealots, Zimbabwe is a tin pot little African country that exports bananas, and few at that, whereas Iraq was a hostile regime in the middle of our strategic interests in the oil-producing middle east. Tell me I'm wrong..
  6. Does anyone else get the Google ad for cheap flights to Zimbabwe?

    I'd like to think that the African nations could actually muster the will to get rid of tinpot dictators like "Honest Bob" Mugabe. But I have a sinking feeling that we're going to be intervening in the next 10 years, probably in the next 5 or so.
  7. Cutaway

    Cutaway LE Reviewer

    True, but the SANDF is not a patch on the SADF.

    The SAAF/SALM pilots aren't getting enough hours due to the dwindling resources available for maintenance - and that a large number of airframes have been sold off to other nations, with the proceeds being untraceable......
    The Armour is like most of the rest of the forces underfunded.
    The most effective Inf units had been disbanded by FW die Poes at the behest of the ANC as a prerequisite to returning to the conference table.
    The Recces have been drastically reduced though the Bats seem to have retained most of their standards and manpower, if not the abiity to remain current. (Allegedly)

    When the present regime was placed in power by the Western nations steered by the former Eastern Bloc, the Defence Force was shafted.
    There are still some general offrs who have experience in leading the sort of Op envisaged, but the truly good ones have, in the main, retired - or been helped to.

    If the British Army are to take part in such an Op, then the lads on the ground would benefit greatly from in theatre trg given by those soldiers who have taken part in bush warfare - on the winning side, Mtondo we Sizwe don't count.
    The Brit offrs should be beasted through this trg regularly. The last time I took part in a bush ex in Africa the offrs decided to use northern european tactics, possibly because it was easier than reading and learning those methods which have been proven to work.

    As to playing into Uncle Bob's hands, if he was removed from power, and hopefully the face of the planet, what he 'thought' would be academic.
    The MDC has the prospect of turning the hole that Zim has become into something approaching the great country that Rhodesia was.
    Morgan Tsvangirai is the best opportunity Zim has had since Ian Smith - and it's a crying shame that Smithy can't take the reins again.
  8. This may not be looked upon very favorably, however, here it goes:

    I believe the US AND the UK have a moral duty to intervene in countries like this. We are the world's last superpowers; by that, I mean, were the last FREE superpowers. If WE don't stand up and fight for the "little guys" who will?

    My son is 19 yrs old. He spent 18 months in Iraq, during the original invasion (Gulf War II). He just recently returned for another tour of 12 months. So, I don't say things like this lightly.

    I myself was shot through the stomach, in Beruit, in 1983. I believe we do have that moral responsibilty to stand up for the those countries, who peoples are being persecuted by ruthless dictators.

    Just my two cents...
  9. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Good for you Phil - very well said. You have infinitely more right than I do to hold that view. I was in Iraq for a fraction of the time your boy has done and will shortly cease service as a Reservist due to advanced old age and general decrepitude. So no more brown envelopes and visits to distant sunny places for me, sadly.

    Tell your boy he's doing a good, worthwhile job. Needless to say, the best of luck to him and his oppos - head down, chin up.

    Le Chevre
  10. The UK has no moral duty to intervene what so ever! We are not a superpower, we just punch above our weight very effectively. As far as I am concerned Rhodiesians made their choices in the 80s. They are no longer our concern. I for one don't want to go to Africa and conduct a war for farmers who arrogantly cut ties with the UK, whilst Islamic militants from Trg camps in the Sudan pour south to detonate their worthless asses outside my camp! We are not the worlds policemen!

    I have no difficulty in going to Iraq (twice) for national interests as the employment of the Army was ever thus. Lets face it there is nothing in Zimbabwe worth risking British lives over.
  11. Cutaway

    Cutaway LE Reviewer

    Ford_Prefect, you're right, the British Army has been cut back to such an extent that it could not pull off an intervention in Zim on it's own.
    Once again politicians decisions made for short term election prospects with no thought for the future.

    You say you have no problem in "going to Iraq (twice) for national interests".
    Which national interests would these be ?
    Granby to defend Saudi and liberate Kuwait for 'our' oil ?
    Telic to topple Hussein for 'our' oil again ?
    Or were both Ops actually to liberate people from tyrannical oppression ?

    Rhodesia was forced into UDI by successive British governments' contant reneging on agreements and promises. Had you an inkling of the underhand moves pulled by Brit politicos you would only use the word 'arrogant' to describe the slimeballs who underlined Perfidious Albion.

    "Rhodesians made their choices in the eighties." Yeah right, and the latest elections in Zim were free and fair, Bliar always tells the truth and you will have two years between each deployment...... :roll:

    Go and speak to some Rhodesians and Zimbabweans, both black and white, read up on some facts of what your government did to Rhodesia and it's peoples, and of the abhorrent actions of the Mugabe regime, then when the difference between sh!t and clay becomes apparent please return with some informed comment.
  12. I suspect all it would take to topple Mugabe would be the SAS and a division of troops.

    African troops dont have a real good record
    against western troops.

  13. What about a moral duty to do what we can to rid the world of evil b@stards? If intervening somewhere for reasons of perceived national self interest is wrong, how can it also be wrong to intervene for purely altruistic reasons? It seems to me that in some quarters, any foreign intervention by Britain is wrong.

    Maybe I'm an idealistic fool, but my view is that the good and the bold in this world should work together to snuff out tyranny. If only for the reason that a hell of a lot of our forefathers died doing the same thing, and we'd be letting them down too if we pulled up the drawbridge now.
  14. Cutaway

    Cutaway LE Reviewer

    Well said AWOL, especially the last sentence - we have a duty not to let our forebears down
  15. Goatman

    Goatman LE Book Reviewer

    Thanks to all for these replies - an interesting divergence of views to say the least.

    For some of the 380 people who have reviewed the question PLEASE vote - I'd like to get it to at least 75 !

    Ford-P - the standard NATO/EU line on Africa is that where any outside assistance is called on the previous colonial power is the first address at which people should knock.

    In my view Britain has a responsibility to Zimbabwe notwithstanding UDI

    A) because a number of the people there are still British citizens

    B) Because we were instrumental in ending the Chimurenga and installing the odious Uncle Bob in power

    C) Because ' for evil to triumph requires only that good men do NOTHING'

    T-6 reckons a Division to do the job. We've only got two and the British Army has more commitments being carried out with fewer people than at any time in the last fifty years.

    BUT the old cry of 'Someone should do something' invariably gets the answer

    ' Yeah - but WHO ? '

    The reality is that in Africa itself nobody has the will and only one or two have the means.

    Britain is only a small country and we do 'punch above our weight' and that has been a deliberate policy since 1945.

    It seems to me that Zimbabwe remains a suitable case for external intervention on behalf of our own people. The question is- do we have the will ?

    Vote in the poll - let's see!

    Le Chevre