Now the world must act on Zimbabwe

Share
Related Topics

The decision of Robert Mugabe's government to nationalise all remaining productive land is new evidence that Zimbabwe is hurtling towards the point of no return.

The decision of Robert Mugabe's government to nationalise all remaining productive land is new evidence that Zimbabwe is hurtling towards the point of no return. This is the latest chapter of a land seizure policy motivated not, as Mr Mugabe claims, by a desire to right the legacies of colonial-era injustice, but by the octogenarian president's determination to stamp out any challenge to his power.

The disastrous repercussions have already gone well beyond the expulsion of 4,500 white farmers from the best land. Once a dynamic economy and big grain exporter, Zimbabwe now has the highest reliance on international food aid in Africa. The new measures will only hasten the flight of what foreign investment remains, bring closer complete economic collapse, and exacerbate the humanitarian crisis.

Yet signs of a fresh campaign of violent political repression were already present, and they have not yet prompted the kind of international intervention that will be required if Mr Mugabe's war on his own people is to be halted.

The ruling party used brutal intimidation last month to secure an implausible by-election victory in a constituency representing the minority Ndbele people. It also crushed the last remaining independent newspaper and moved to censor e-mail. It all bodes ill indeed as the 2005 general elections approach.

Beyond limited EU sanctions targeted at a handful of the regime's biggest gangsters, however, the international response to Zimbabwe's tragedy has been utterly ineffectual. Tony Blair's government seems paralysed by the fear that anything he says will be depicted in Harare as the continuation of a colonial struggle. Frankly, that hardly matters any more. Mr Mugabe uses every opportunity to vilify Britain as an imperialist plotter, regardless.

South Africa could make a real difference by withdrawing support. So far, however, President Mbeki seems more concerned with maintaining a spurious African solidarity than with the plight of the Zimbabwean people. Europe and the US must exert pressure on him to pull the plug, and demand a peaceful handover of power before it is too late.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
SPONSORED FEATURES
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Media Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£14500 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Female Care Worker

£7 - £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This expanding, vibrant charity which su...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Supervisor & Advisor - Automotive

£16500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Housing Assistant

£16819 - £21063 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
People struggle to board a train at the railway station in Budapest  

Even when refugees do make it to British soil, they are treated appallingly

Maya Goodfellow
 

Daily catch-up: immigration past and present, in Europe and in America

John Rentoul
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones