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    Opinions, Comments and Submissions
    March 18, 2002

    Questions for the African Leaders at the Commonwealth meeting
    by Learnmore Ndlovu

    Why are you not willing to condemn Robert Mugabe's behaviour over the last two years?

    Why are you not willing to condemn the suppression of democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of movement, and political freedom in Zimbabwe imposed increasingly by Mugabe over the last two years.?

    Is it that the African Leaders support the introduction of laws by black leaders that are more repressive than those imposed by Ian Smith under minority white rule which were aimed at the black majority.?

    If Mugabe was representing a white government you would not be so silent about these facts. Why is it acceptable then in your eyes for a black government to act repressively against it's own people?

    Is it that the African Leaders do not support the concept of majority decision? Mugabe held a referendum and promptly ignored the results and imposed his will on the people. That is minority rule, and is no more acceptable than was minority rule by Ian Smith. Why do the African leaders not speak out and condemn this. It is suppression of democracy.

    Mugabe has subverted the Police Force and law and order. The Police Force protect and escort Mugabe's supporters while they rampage, loot and impose violence on the people. People who retaliate in self defence are arrested. Is this the way African Leaders consider democracies should work?

    These are facts that they wish to ignore, presumably so that they cannot be labelled as being hypocritical in their own countries.

    However justifiable land redistribution maybe, there can be no justification for the motives or the manner in which it has been carried out. It could have been carried out in a manner which would have enhanced productivity and food production, rather than reducing or totally stopping food production.

    How can any responsible person, condone the destruction of the resources for the production of
    food? For that is what has happened in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe was not only self sufficient in the
    production of food, but was able to export food. There is now a food shortage, food has to be imported if donors are willing to supply it. Many people are hungry if not starving, quite unnecessarily.

    Whoever wins the election, the election will not have been free and fair. That is fact. Police have actively interfered and frustrated to the best of their ability the holding of rallies by the opposition. Where people are literally forced and coerced into attending Mugabe's rallies, the people have to make a determined effort to attend an opposition rally under the threat of violence from Mugabe's supporters and interference by the police who set up road blocks to reduce attendance. Why is this not condemned by the African Leaders.? One must presume they consider it an acceptable way to win elections.

    It is unlikely that there is a creditable group of observers to monitor the election and report accurately and without bias the events. The South African observers are probably the best of the observers in Zimbabwe, but they are yet to prove that they will report factually and accurately. When one finds them staying in Hotels being entertained by Mugabe's supporters and not observing the violent activities going on around them, they cannot be effective.

    The President of Namibia, and the President of Tanzania both deliberately ignore the facts and miss the point. No one in Zimbabwe considers that the election will be free and fair because Morgan Tsvangirai wins and Mugabe loses, or visa versa. The election is not free and fair because of the violence and intimidation encouraged by Mugabe. Mugabe is doing his best to prevent people who may vote against him from voting, so the election cannot be free and fair. Polling stations in areas perceived to be opposition strongholds have been reduced, while the converse applies equally.

    One has to ask the question why these two Presidents chose not to be aware of the facts, and prefer to drag in red herrings saying the result is being pre-judged. No Mr Presidents we are not pre-judging the outcome, we are dealing with the facts that the election will not be free and fair.

    When the Police arrest 12 clergymen for holding a political march which was in fact a religious
    procession, while at the same time blessing, protecting and escorting a group of young thugs
    creating mayhem in support of Mugabe, one cannot consider the election to free and fair, or that order and order exists. Maybe in Namibia and Tanzania this is the acceptable face of democracy and law and order.

    My last question to the African Leaders who do not want to condemn Mugabe or take any action against him, is will you be prepared donate food and feed the people of Zimbabwe as a result of your support for Mugabe's destructive land resettlement program.? I am sure that the answer is no, you do not have the ability to do ths, let alone the resources. The best that can be said is that you are not hypocritical.

    If you do not condemn Mugabe's action, you must of necessity support and approve of it.

    Learnmore Ndlovu

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