Zimbabwe - Mugabe's dictatorship and Brown's hypocrisy

Workers' Fight workplace bulletin editorials
23 June 2008

Mugabe's regime is a dictatorship and the arrests, beatings and torture it inflicts on political opponents are intolerable. But is this the real reason why Brown condemns Mugabe so furiously today?

It should be recalled that for 20 years, British governments found little to object to in Mugabe's regime. Yet it was a dictatorship, which had already shown its true stripes by repressing the supporters of a political rival, killing thousands.

It was only in April 2000, that Mugabe became a target for London, when he threatened the very rich white farmers who had controlled most of agriculture since independence, with expropriation. Never mind the fact that, as a result of the white monopoly over the most fertile land, millions of poor Zimbabweans were barely surviving!

Two years later, the era of Western "sanctions" began. The international loans on which Zimbabwe, like all other poor countries, depended, dried up.

One can only be shocked by the impact of these "sanctions" on the population, with an astronomical inflation which paralyses most of the economy. Even for the minority in paid jobs, wages are worthless hours after being paid. Eating depends on finding something to barter against food. It is a hand-to-mouth existence in which the lives of most verge on starvation. Yet, despite this, Brown dares to threaten even more "sanctions" which, like the previous ones, will affect the population far more than the ruling clique around Mugabe.

By a cynical irony, it is, once again, in the name of "democracy" that Brown proposes to starve the population of Zimbabwe. In Iraq, for the victims of the West's bombs, this "democracy" was that of the cemeteries. In Zimbabwe, bombs will not be necessary: hunger and disease will do the job!

In Iraq, Brown's "democratic" claims only conceal the greed of oil majors BP and Shell. Will anyone be surprised if, in Zimbabwe, Brown's "democratic" aims turn out to be a smokescreen for British mining groups, hoping to grab the country's huge resources in platinum and other metals?