Zimbabwe Review

Reflections on Zimbabwe

Mugabe denies responsibility for anything and everything

Posted by CM on February 4, 2009

“Mugabe blames Western sanctions for Zimbabwe crisis” is a new headline, but its sentiments and justifications are old, now associated with Mugabe for many years. All of Zimbabwe’s problems are cast by Mugabe’s regime as being the fault of what they are always careful to describe as ‘illegal’ sanctions by the West.


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday blamed Western sanctions for his country’s economic collapse, which has left millions jobless and hungry.

Speaking on the final day of the 12th African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Mugabe charged that European and US sanctions against his regime had crippled his nation’s economy and fuelled popular unrest.

“We believe that these illegal sanctions are not only unjustified and cruel, but they have also contributed deeply to the suffering and the poverty-induced polarisation of the people of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mugabe accused donors of punishing Zimbabwe for his land reform programme, in which white-owned farms were forcibly seized and given to black farmers, who often had little experience or access to equipment.

“Our condemnation, our isolation is because my government took the necessary measures to create conditions for equal opportunities, for decolonisation, for creating conditions in which our people could regain their lost resources.”

Zimbabwe has been bogged down in a bitter political feud since the March 2008 elections, further scuppering an already ailing economy.

Suppose one bought this argument for Zimbabwe’s spectacular economic decline, particularly over the last decade. But can ‘illegal Western sanctions’ explain the killing of regime opponents, boastfully and publicly flagrant abuses of the basic rights of opposition officials and supporters, the vast  restriction in thinking and media space?

According to Mugabe, the ‘illegal sanctions’ can indeed explain and justify all this.

“We believe that these illegal sanctions… have also contributed deeply to the suffering and the poverty-induced polarisation of the people of Zimbabwe,” says Mugabe.

Therefore the people are confused!  Because of the suffering they experience, they are no longer able to make the ‘right’ choice to support Mr. Mugabe’s ‘revolutionary’ government. This is why the people at every election have gravitated more towards the opposition. Not because of  democratically justifiable disillusionment with Mugabe’s government, but because of their poverty-caused  confusion as a result of the illegal Western sanctions!

I am poking fun at what I consider absurd “reaching” for arguments by Mugabe and his supporters to absolve themselves of responsibility for Zimbabwe’s mess. But there are many who actually seem to buy this “comrade Mugabe is an infallible angel, all our problems emanate from the West.”

So here you have the reason why it is perfectly okay to ignore the result of an election which show you no longer have the voters’ affections: the voters did not really know what they were doing, they were confused by the hardships of Western sanctions to vote against us! Therefore those results were illegitimate and invalid, therefore it is completely justified for us to hang on in power.

What is amazing to me is that Mugabe & Co. bother at all with this kind of circuitous justification of their incompetence and repression. I think it would be much more honorable to openly come out and say ‘ we have utter contempt for Zimbabweans and believe ourselves to have a divine right to lord it over them as we wish indefinitely.”

It is astonishing the extent to which Mugabe will go in his refusal to take any responsibility at all for anything.

Amore truthful and apropriate headline, and a fitting epitaph for his whole three-decades  rule, would be,  “Mugabe denies responsibility for anything and everything.”


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