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[P]
Much ado about Zimbabwe - Redux

By rootz in Op-Ed
Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 10:49:33 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

While the political issues in Zimbabwe are on the world stage, it is prudent to examine the manner in which the world's press has reported the issues that afflict this country, and the way the world regards the man it sees as being at the centre of the issue - President Robert Mugabe. While on the surface, this may simply seem to be a story that culminates in an election stolen by an oppressive dictator, a detailed examination of some of the history may indicate aspects of the conflict that are less well known.


The Land Issue

This article gives a unemotional summary of the events that mark the land issue in Zimbabwe. This is the story you will find in the mainstream news in the West.

However, the article is fairly vague on the specific events that lead to the current chaotic situation. Even after the passing of the Land Acquisition Act, no clear plan existed for land redistribution - the Commercial Farmers Union and the government bickered heatedly over the correct manner in which to acquire land, and indeed, which land to acquire. It is clear in principle, the UK was in favour of lending financial aid to land redistribution. Despite this, in 1997, the Labour government refused to provide additional funds for the purpose of acquiring land, unless the process was transparent and benefited the landless poor. Mugabe was publicly riled by this stance. In 1998, sporadic land invasions took place by rural peasants, apparently supported by the war veterans association. This group, comprised of ex-fighters from the liberation war, and lead by Chenejrai "Hitler" Hunzvi, was gaining more political power in the country since facing down Mugabe in 1997 over a separate issue. The government publically decried the invasions at the time, and negotiated with the war veterans and the peasants - some of whom appeared to be unwilling invaders - to leave the land until a proper land redistribution process could take place.The invasions ceased, and an uneasy peace prevailed.

In the latter part of 1999, a Constitutional process began to replace the colonial consititution. Part of the draft constitution made the government liable only for improvements to acquired land. The draft consitution was overwhelmingly rejected by the Zimbabwean populace in a referendum in the earlier part of 2000. This galvanised the government - the final act in Parliament before the general election in June 2000 was to change the Constitution to make the former colonial power, Britain, liable for compensation for acquired land. At the same time "war veterans", some way too young to have participated in the liberation war, were reported to be invading white farmer's land and violently demanding that the whites leave the farms. The government claimed that these invasions were spontaneous, similar to those that had taken place two years before, but Mugabe refused to order the invaders to leave the land.

In the period leading up to the General Election in June 2000, 5 white farmers were killed, causing a frenzy in the world press, and in the British press in particular, which accused Mugabe of masterminding the violence. "Hitler" Hunzvi became infamous as the face of white farm invasions - however, the reports in the international press paid cursory attention to the deaths of black Africans, which did not go unnoted in Zimbabwe and Africa. There was significant violence being committed against the opposition. At least 30 opposition activists and other persons were killed in politically motivated violence during the same period - this list also includes those killed up to February 2002.

To proceed with it's "fast-track" land program, the opposition of the Supreme Court needed to be overcome - the Court judged that the aforementioned amendment was unconstitutional. The resignation of various Supreme Court judges was engineered, and "friendly" judges were appointed by the President. Subsequent to this the government proceeded with alacrity, immediately registering 1500 farms for acqusition - even farms that they had oreviously declared they had no interest in. The assault on the judiciary and on property rights was extensively reported - what was barely reported was the violence against farm workers, and that the fact that they were being dismissed from these farms created a whole new refugee class in Zimbabwe practically overnight.

Since the Presidential elections, the rhetoric on land has become stronger - several more opposition activists and a white farmer have died. It is not clear that thee government encourages the "spontaneous" land invasions - though it is clear that, in a fight for political survival against a party less than six months old, the party soon took full advantage of the situation they had been maneouvered into. The defeat in the referendum of 2000 was a major shock, and may have lead to an "unholy alliance" between the government and the war veterans. Reports persisted that the war veterans were being assisted by government vehicles, and that known-ZANU-PF party figures were seen in the company of the war veterans. "Hitler" Hunzvi was also seen to be gaining political prestige and power at this time, before his death in 2001. Mugabe was certainly negligent in resolving the the land issue, and he and his party took the chaos caused by the war veterans, both to obscure the political oppression occuring at the time, and to gain electoral votes.

Politics

The recent coverage of Zimbabwe has focused, naturally, on the Presidential elections. In the past two weeks we have seen the elections lauded as free and fair by some African nations, and strongly condemned by Western nations. This Guardian article, while not absolving the African world for their apparently wilful disregard of the situation on the ground in Zimbabwe, makes an interesting point about the potential for double standards when the international response to Zimbabwe is compared to that of other democratic processes in the world. However, that the elections were extremely flawed is unquestionable. The reduction of polling stations and the delays at the polling stations in urban areas, leading to the disenfranchisement of a significant proportion of the population, have been well-reported. A government-sponsored program of Youth Brigades - manged by a Cabinet Minister - created militias of young men, who appear to have been paid to harass the opposition and terrorise the populace. The pungwes - all night "political re-education" gatherings - that villagers were forced to attend, were, unfortunately, nothing new - they have reported at all elections since and including March 1980. However, those elections did not rate anymore than a cursory mention in the world's press. Even the confirmed violence of the General Election in 2000 did not causethe furore the recent election did, though observers were also restricted and political violence was rife. Rumours of election rigging are rife within Zimbabwe, though proof is currently still being gathered - the observer's condemnations of the poll are focused entirely on it's violent nature and the disenfranchisement of the electorate.

Throughout the campaign, the government has maintained that the MDC is front for foreign interests, using various emotives such as "neo-colonialism". To the politically aware resident of Southern Africa, this would be of major concern, and making claims like this would certainly be within the bounds of "vigorous campaigning" - the MDC has certainly received foreign sponsorship, before it became illegal in Zimbabwe for a political party to do so. Tsvangirai has been received by both western and African governments as a legitimate opposition party leader, though it is unlikely that western government gave more than this recognition. It must be admitted that the MDC can be accused of terrible lapses in judgement, such as Tsvangirai's statement in 2000 that "Mugabe would be dead by December", or the Ariel ben Menashe incident.

Other Issues

At independence in 1980, Mugabe's Policy of National Reconciliation made him the poster-boy for the new Africa. However, between 1983 and 1985, up to 3500 Ndebeles were reportedly massacred in Matebeleland, the political stronghold of the main opposition black party, PF-ZAPU. Ostensibly, the Fifth Brigade - whose commander, Perence Shiri, reported directly to Mugabe, and in now the Head of the Air Force - was in the region to quell rebellion by dissidents. In fact, a war of fear and torture was waged against a tribal minority within Zimbabwe - Gukurahundi. Today words such as "genocide" and "war crimes" would be used in reference to this event. At that time, the world said and did nothing. The British government in particular wilfully closed their eyes to the reports that they were receiving from Zimbabwe. In other, non-political aspects, however, the country appeared to prosper. Subsequent to independence, public health and education improved tremendously, and women's rights improved significantly. Mugabe received various accolades during the 80's and early 90's. Zimbabwe's military, which benefited greatly from British training, was involved in protecting the Beira corridor - Zimbabwe's only source of fuel, bypassing apartheid South Africa in Mozambique, and was highly praised for it's involvement in various peace-keeping missions throughout the world. Zimbabwe was also important as a bastion against apartheid South Africa, being a major player with the Frontline States, SADCC and it's successor SADC, and within the Non-Aligned Movement, the Commonwealth and other international bodies.

Zimbabwe's public spending efforts and economic controls led to a major budget deficit during the late 80's - to correct this, Zimbabwe embarked on a Structural Adjustment Programme under the auspices of the IMF and the World Bank in early 1991 - something which is rarely mentioned when reports speak of Zimbabwe's economic decline during the '90's. The culmination of this program led to great controversy in the mid 90's - the IMF claimed that targets had not been reached, particularly with respect to reduction of public spending. The government claimed that the targets were unreachable, since this would have meant, for instance, reducing public funding for instititutions such as health and education. This programme, and the subsequent programs, had mixed results - while the free-market and competitive nature of the Zimbabwean economy improved, insufficient attention was paid to the needs of the urban and rural poor. This combination of circumstances lead to an increasing budget deficit, which was exacerbated by a loss of investor confidence when the land invasions began. Interestingly, Structural Adjustment Programmes, including the Zimbabwean experience, have recently been criticised for not paying enough attention to a country's unique circumstances, and certainly not paying enough attention to the poor.

Conclusion

While the treatment of Mugabe by the international press has become increasingly strident and hysterical over the past three years, it is difficult to fault the justification. It is of concern, however, that the lynch-mob mentality appeared to arise only because of the mistreatment of a minority of white farmers within Zimbabwe, and that this bias lead to an initial inability to appreciate the scale of the political and economic issues affecting the country. Only within the past year does the international media appear to have become aware of the political violence being wrought against the mainly black opposition. The question of the lack of attention paid to the elections elsewhere has also been raised as an indication of bias within the Western press.

However, though a bias may be seen in the West's perception of Zimbabwean issues in general, it is difficult to see where this is inaccurate in terms of Mugabe specifically. Each positive act that he appears to have performed for the country has been overwhelmed by the negatives - his inability to rein in corruption in his government, and Zimbabwe's involvement in the Congo war have not been covered in any detail in this article. That Mugabe has effectively been demonised by the press is irrefutable. One thing appears to stand out in this narration - in some respects he is desperate to ensure some sort of twisted legitimacy for his government. Rather than an out-and-out violent campaign to dismiss white farmers, he attempts to hide his government's intentions behind the shield of war veterans and Youth Brigades. Elections have been held in Zimbabwe when they are scheduled to be held, without fail, though, especially recently, under circumstances of terrible intimidation. Even his manipulations of the Supreme Court indicate a desire to keep it all legal. This could be a reflection of a desire to stay within some personally-defined "democratic" boundaries - or a wily appreciation of the limits to which the patience of the Zimbabwean people and the international community will go. Either way, his past and his current machinations speak of a man significantly more complex than the one-dimensional black racist and dictator he is usually portrayed as, especially in the South African press.

It is definitely true to say that Mugabe is a tired old leader, whose concept of democracy is marred by violent tendencies, who has run out of ideas, and while creating some good within Zimbabwe initially, is responsible for inflicting the most terrible suffering on his people and country. But he is not the only culprit - some of his crimes may only be those of complicity, and this aspect is missing from current journalism. In creating a cult of hatred around him, the international press may have made it harder for him to let go, and this reveals a surprising lack of appreciation of the realities of politics in Southern Africa. The very fact that it took the international press so long to realise that the problems in ZImbabwe was not purely a land issue is remarkable. As I write this article, Zimbabwe has been suspended from the Commonwealth for a year. Thabo Mbeki, the South African leader who led a "softly-softly" diplomatic approach to the Zimbabwean situation and has resolutely refused to publically criticise Mugabe, was part of the troika that made this decision. This is what he appears to fear - that by driving Mugabe to the wall, we make it difficult for him - a man who was once lauded as the hero of Southern Africa - to come back from it. While much has been made of the apparent racial split in national opinion, it is evident that Africa opinion on Zimbabwe is not homogenous.

Further Information

While sources from the international media may be well known, the Zimbabwean media may be less so. As with so many other aspects of that country, the press within Zimbabwe is polarised to two extremes. The Herald and other papers are directly owned by the government, and while always positive in their reportage of the government, have recently become rabidly pro-state. The contents of the newspapers are strongly suspected to be directed determined by the Minister of Information, Jonathan Moyo, who rose to fame as Chairman of the failed Constitutional referendum in 2000.Zimday is a summary of news and views from a pro-government perspective.

There are several independent newspapers within the country. Weekly papers are the Financial Gazette and the Zimbabwe Independent. Almost without reservation, the independent press is hostile to the policies and motives of the government. The Daily News, the only independent daily newspaper, has been "banned" in various parts of the country - youth militia confiscate copies of the paper and are reported to attack anyone whom they see reading it. (Copies of the Herald are also sometimes made unavailable to the public, though this is more often done by individuals buying up all available copies.)

This site is a summary of news and views, from a strongly anti-government stance, All broadcast media within Zimbabwe are owned and directly influenced by the government. There was an abortive attempt to set up an independent radio station called Capital Radio in 2000 - the government attempted to block this and was opposed down by the Supreme Court. On the first day of broadcast, riot police confiscated equipment from the station, and the station was prevented from broadcasting. The people behind that station have made alternative arrangements, broadcasting from the UK - the station is available in Zimbabwe via shortwave and the internet.

This is the MDC website, and the government website is here.

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Is there a bias against Mugabe in current Western reportage?
o Yes. 32%
o Yes, but it is insignificant in context of his proven failures. 55%
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Much ado about Zimbabwe - Redux | 36 comments (25 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
Matabeleland genocide? (4.00 / 2) (#3)
by wiredog on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 09:18:16 AM EST

The author mentioned the problems in Matabeleland. Genocide Watch is also worried about that.

If that does happen, well, South Africa has a fairly good army, and they are right there. And preventing a mass refugee crisis would definitely be in SA's interest.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"

Nicholas van Hoogstraten (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by Baldrson on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 12:00:18 PM EST

How could this account have overlooked Nicholas van Hoogstraten who not only has bankrolled Mugabe since his earliest days in politics, but who has been a prime beneficiary of lowered land prices in Zimbabwe

-------- Empty the Cities --------


Good point... (none / 0) (#14)
by rootz on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 01:12:15 PM EST

There's a whole lot of stuff that I excluded from the article due to length, but yes, that fact deserved to be included.

--
R.O.O.T.Z: Robotic Organism Optimized for Troubleshooting and Zoology
[ Parent ]
We can't work under these conditions (3.00 / 4) (#17)
by Lode Runner on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 03:27:54 PM EST

I want the "scientific" Baldrson back. We worked so well together...

Kid, you're a helluva an artist, but you've a lot to learn about improv. You don't just shamble onto the stage and drop a one-line link to a National Alliance frothing and expect a good show.

Here is what the audience wants: 1) Baldrson posts 4000+ word "eyewhiteness" account on his experiences in Rhodesia [sic]; 2) this provides fodder for medham and Lode Runner to do their schtick; 3) then, and only after a delicately choreographed "spaz-out," Baldrson delivers the punch line.

All of this requires a great deal of work. The banter with nomoreh1b need refinement too. Is each of you the other's imago? Is that the deal?



[ Parent ]

"We" can't work under these conditions (5.00 / 1) (#18)
by Baldrson on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:17:02 PM EST

Just so we all know who the "we" is to whom the entity calling itself Lode Runner refers -- here is its definition of itself:

Sorry to spoil the game, folks, but frankly I'm hurt and I just want it to stop. Baldrson's made a mockery of the tremendous effort I've put into name-brand personas like "medham" and "streetlawyer".

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

question (none / 0) (#20)
by Lode Runner on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 07:00:30 PM EST

Why do you doubt me when I state that I'm a biologist, but you swallow whole and rebroadcast my claims to medhamhood and streetlawyertude?

What are your proofs?



[ Parent ]

Lode Runner's Self-identification (5.00 / 1) (#22)
by Baldrson on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 09:14:19 PM EST

The entity calling itself Lode Runner provides this definition of itself:

Sorry to spoil the game, folks, but frankly I'm hurt and I just want it to stop. Baldrson's made a mockery of the tremendous effort I've put into name-brand personas like "medham" and "streetlawyer".

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

maybe (none / 0) (#23)
by Lode Runner on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 09:51:48 PM EST

you should make that statement of mine your new signature. You seem to like it. And it's certainly better than that Taoist (yet Nietzschean) tommyrot you're currently displaying.



[ Parent ]

Thankyou rootz (4.33 / 3) (#15)
by Wildgoose on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 01:13:57 PM EST

...for a balanced report unlike the earlier one.

And while we are at it, hopefully streetlawyer will make an apology for his cynicism in not believing you would write the article.

Alternatives to an apology from 'streetlawyer' (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by Baldrson on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 02:20:28 PM EST

An apology from Lode Runner or medham would do just as well:

Sorry to spoil the game, folks, but frankly I'm hurt and I just want it to stop. Baldrson's made a mockery of the tremendous effort I've put into name-brand personas like "medham" and "streetlawyer".

-------- Empty the Cities --------


[ Parent ]

Did it ever occur to you... (1.62 / 8) (#19)
by medham on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 06:10:05 PM EST

Nah, never mind.

I do know that Streetlawyer, whoever he may pretend to be, is actually a Nigerian software engineer working for H1B peanuts in Utah.

Rumor has it that he's soiled more than one set of Cacausoid loins since he's been here too. Makes me downright costive--how about you?

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

ignore the medham troll account. (1.00 / 1) (#28)
by grahamthomas on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 05:44:33 AM EST

reading through medham's comments, it's clear that the medham account is nothing more than a troll account and should be ignored.

[ Parent ]
Dude (1.00 / 1) (#29)
by Hopfrog on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 05:45:20 AM EST

You just earned a whole lot of 0s and 1s from me for every comment you make.

Hop.

[ Parent ]

El Duderino (3.33 / 3) (#31)
by medham on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 09:14:44 AM EST

Baldrson has racial issues, and he has persisted in the amusing delusion that medham, Lode Runner, and streetlawyer are all the same account.

Rate as you will, however, and be sure and explain your rating feelings in a public forum, dude.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

you stupid cunt (1.62 / 8) (#21)
by streetlawyer on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 08:22:27 PM EST

Perhaps if you look at this article, you'll see that the third or fourth comment is an editorial one, from me, acknowledging that I was wrong. Now where's my apology from you, lugnuts?

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
It's pretty common (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 12:04:16 AM EST

for people to not see editorial comments after the story has posted.

[ Parent ]
Unnecessary Language (5.00 / 1) (#33)
by Wildgoose on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 03:57:15 AM EST

I didn't see the editorial comment, and so yes, I apologise for my comment.

However I merely referred to your "cynicism", (something that is often warranted to be honest), and only because of the "tone" of your original cynical comment.

Now of course you have lowered the tone further by resorting to bad language. Perhaps you should now apologise to both me and the others on this site. We come here for informed opinion and a reasoned, well-mannered discussion. Ask yourself whether this applies to the comment you have just made.

[ Parent ]

Treason (2.50 / 4) (#24)
by wytcld on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 10:23:41 PM EST

With treason charges being brought against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai - punishable by death - we might reflect on the parallels. Here in the US we had our own problems in the polls in a recent election, including one side that attempted to change the result of the election by effectively keeping the voting going forever. We should thank Robert Mugabe for showing us the wisdom of bringing proper consequences to such behavior. If this were Zimbabwe, we wouldn't have to worry about Al Gore running again!

Kids these days... (2.00 / 2) (#30)
by synaesthesia on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 07:32:12 AM EST

Always trolling!

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
Oil and Blood (5.00 / 1) (#25)
by xs euriah on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 11:27:33 PM EST

Unfortunately, this is by far not the first story of this nature.


The NYTimes has an excellent special report on Shell in Nigeria. The villagers in the surrounding areas became fed up with remaining entrenched in poverty, whilst oil platforms were built centrally to their villages. With promises of new money, the surrounding villages remained without electricity, or fresh water. Further, the engineers assigned to the platforms would court the women of the villages, with money and everything that goes with it. The villagers, without promised money and with the unmarried village women being enticed away, attacked the platforms forcing out the staff in anger and protest. What happens thereafter is stirring, and rife with blood, brought about by the notion that the oil must flow.


The article is archived here.

Want more?


Human Rights Watch has an in depth examination of the situation here.


Business and Human Rights has a very good, current resource on the oil industry in Africa here.

Another solid NYTimes report is one of which you may have heard: Chevron helicopters transporting Nigerian death squads to drop off points in villages, ensuring again that the oil flows. It's entitled Deep in The Republic Of Chevron, written by Norimitsu Onishi. It's archived here.

There's a more liberal account of such ravagings by the Natural Heritage Institute. It's a .pdf, and can is located here.


Also, be sure to read the Shell report entitled People, planet, and profit. A link to the .pdf file can be found here. In the report, Shell brings up various issues concerning them, like offshore piracy, as well as the current situation in Nigeria. You can see their response to the bloodshed around page 25 of the report.

There is more to list, and unfortunately there will be more again.



errata (none / 0) (#26)
by xs euriah on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 11:33:11 PM EST

The above post is attached to the wrong story. The correct story, and subsequent correct placement of this post is here.

[ Parent ]
No sympathy for Bob (none / 0) (#32)
by 4nic8or on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 03:20:43 PM EST

Has Robert Mugabe been abused by media bias? Of course, whats new?But still, it is time for him to go. He should have stuck with killing ordinary Africans, instead of including white farmers on his hitlist, and the media wouldn't blink. The issue is not about land or race, its about political survival. He has had plenty of time since independence to address the issues of land redistribution (20+ years), so it is obvious that the issues are a political tool. A majority of Bob's support come's from African leaders who use the same techniques to stay in power. How can someone like Moi, Museveni or Dos Santos condemn Bob, when they are election fixing kleptocratic dictators themselves? Like colonialism, "president for life" went out of style a long time ago, and for Africa to move forward some of its longtime leaders need to stepdown voluntarily.

comparisons to Florida 2000 (1.00 / 2) (#34)
by ndw on Sun Mar 24, 2002 at 05:57:06 PM EST

Bush and Mugabe (not to mention Israel's Sharon) are almost identical in terms of how they came to power. HEre's why:

I'm comparing Mugabe and Bush in terms of politics, "insignificant in context of his proven failures" opinions withstanding. The sentence in quotes is about the situation in Zimbabwe, and the following unquoted sentence my comment about the Florida 2000 situation.

"The reduction of polling stations and the delays at the polling stations in urban areas, leading to the disenfranchisement of a significant proportion of the population, have been well-reported."

International elections monitors in Florida 2000 witnessed and documented county, state and a few federal officials impeding at many levels the operations and integral performance of voting precincts county by county. In other words this didn't happen all under one umbrella--harassment, tampering with records and obstruction of justice were committed by different gov. officials at different precincts likely in contact with each other. Tallied votes from rural, poor counties (predominantly African-American with old world tallying machines) were frequently miscounted or accidentally discarded, so were some overseas military votes. Tallied votes from counties with modern 1970s-or-older tallying machines were better auditable and largely unaffected by stupid reporting errors or gross negligence. there were some pre-tally issues like the stupid "butterfly ballot".

"... militias of young men, who appear to have been paid to harass the opposition and terrorise the populace."

Witnesses have documented Florida State Police pulling over unordinarily high numbers of vehicles on local and state highways in Florida hours before the firm deadline of the 2000 presidential elections statewide in Florida. Again, citizens of African-American descent were singled out. It still has not been verified if the increased activity was coincidence or indeed some nefarious command issued statewide by Gov. Jeb Bush, George Bush's brother, to stall the elections process to some end. Months before, Gov. Bush helped sign into law state legislation to work against and likely suppress large civic demonstrations, gatherings, and unruly groups of people. Yes cops are bound by laws in the U.S.A. so there had to be *some* difference between Zimbabwe and U.S. officials' conduct at their respective elections.

my point is it doesn't matter what you read in the past or are reading in the A.P.-backed, corporate U.S. presses. Draw your own conclusions as to what happened, I say Bu$h ripped off the 2000 election! Al Gore did win by thousands of votes, maybe more but who knows because it has also been rumored submitted ballots were intentionally misplaced or destroyed. All along 2000 was a close election but there were vote tally errors in the thousands. Every other country in the world is saying it. Something went wrong in the 2000 U.S. Presidential election. Michael Moore is saying it with documented evidence in his new book _Stupid White Men_. Maybe it's time to get over some denial and rejection about the verifiable facts and move on in reforming our country.. how about... FORCED RESIGNATION OF AN ENTIRE, ILLEGITIMATE EXECUTIVE BRANCH?! i'd settle for impeachment, too. :)

man I hope people reply to this and incite debate, this is difficult but fun, challenging subject writing challenging the status quo.

http://www.fair.org/activism/usatoday-recount.html

peace, --Nick W.
~ndw

It would be nice if you stayed on-topic. (none / 0) (#35)
by Quatiu on Sun Mar 24, 2002 at 09:52:06 PM EST

Please take your offtopic rants someplace else. I'd imagine that they'd be welcome on indymedia or raise the fist of inarticulate raging teenage anarchism.com.

[ Parent ]
Previous elections and the lack of coverage. (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by shrike7 on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 12:03:37 AM EST

I think the lack of media coverage you refer to in previous Zimbabwean elections stems from two causes: 1) the total (or near total) lack of opposition to the ZANU government since the cooption of PF-ZAPU in the early eighties and the Matabeleland massacres. While there were undoubted abuses in the pre-2000 Zimbabwe elections, there was little doubt as to the result-and hence, no reason for the widespread election theivery the last two elections have seen. 2) The case could have been made that Mugabe was not a 'bad' despot. As you note, the general standard of living in Zimbabwe rose during the first part of his rule, and the argument could have been made that while Zimbabwe was a dictatorship, it was a successful one. When opposition arose because of the eventual failure of that dictatorship, and the regime felt forced to use terror as an explicit means of ensuring its survival. In general, I think the two are of course closely linked, but the increased Western/media intersest in Zimbabwean elections is a direct result of the decay of the Mugabe regime and the increased strife in the country. This doesn't excuse the blind eye he got in the eighties from the media-but it might explain it.
CXVI
Much ado about Zimbabwe - Redux | 36 comments (25 topical, 11 editorial, 0 hidden)
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