Episode Information

Zimbabwe
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
07/08/2008
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In this episode:

Exploring political and social unrest in Zimbabwe

 

Episode Audio

49:11 minutes (23.61 MB)
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Amii Omara-Otunnu, Associate Professor at UCONNAmii Omara-Otunnu, Associate Professor at UCONN
The African Union is calling for President Robert Mugabe to create a "unity government" that shares power with his main political rival, Morgan Tsvangari. Mugabe won 85 percent of the vote in a final Presidential election - after Tsvangari dropped out of the race - fearing for his supporters' lives.

The violent political struggle is part of the long decline of the country under Mugabe, once seen as a liberator, and hero to Africans.

Today on Where We Live, we'll continue our series of conversations about the most important places in the world with a look at Zimbabwe - what went wrong, and what can set the country back on the right course?

At the G-8 Meeting in Japan, US and British leaders are calling for stiff sanctions against Zimbabwe following the sham re-election of it's President, Robert Mugabe.

Nations in the African Union are calling for a "unity government," a power sharing arrangement between Mugabe and his main political rival, Morgan Tsvangari.

Mugabe won 85 percent of the vote in a final Presidential election after Tsvangari had won an earlier vote. The challenger later dropped out of the race fearing for his supporters' lives.

The violent political struggle is part of the long decline of the country under Mugabe, once seen as a liberator, and hero to Africans.

 

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Related Content:

Solving Zimbabwe: First Things First

The question, “what to do with Zimbabwe,” only leads in circles until we deal with the more fundamental question of stopping imperialism.

Professor Amii Omara-Otunnu was far too diplomatic in his assessment of the reaction of the U.S. and Europe to dictators in Africa - and I hasten to add add dictators in Latin America and Asia. As he pointed out, in every case historically the major powers initially support the dictators who murder and steal. But what Prof. Omara-Otunnu omitted, and the question remained unasked, was that the reason the major powers do so is that they happily join in and in fact lead the theft.

U.S. and European support for South African Apartheid was based not only on racism but on enormous economic gain for the transnational corporations headquartered in London and New York. U.S. and European endorsement of dictator Mobutu’s decades-long rampaging theft in the Congo, after the U.S. assassinated Congo’s democratically elected Patrice Lumumba, resulted in Congo’s mineral wealth overflowing the coffers in Brussels and Washington. When the U.S. overthrew and replaced a democrat in Iran with the dictator Shah, oil wealth flowed to BP and the big U.S. oil giants.

It goes on today in spades. Practically the whole world knows that the main reason George Bush and company invaded Iraq in March 2003 was that his and Cheney’s friends in the oil industry were preparing to grab Iraqi profitable oil fields, as now revealed in the sweetheart deals recently wrenched from the Iraqi parliament by Bush and the U.S. Congress. Bush’s invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 had more to do with a Unocal-desired oil pipeline than in arresting the forces - mainly Saudi - behind the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.

The list of victims - our brothers and sisters, their families, their communities, their cultures, their nations - is long and sordid.

The imperial powers, led by the USA, continue to redistribute the wealth of the world - upward - by manipulation, theft, assassination, military overthrow and whatever nefarious means are necessary. Whether the target is markets, resources, or cheap labor, the world is vitally at risk.

Once the colonial flag fell, the imperial powers supported Mugabe up to the point where Britain reneged on its colonial promise to help fund land reform. Then when Mugabe started taking land from wealthy white farmers to give to peasants, he came under fire. When Mugabe nationalized Zimbabwe’s rich mineral rights, he came under fire. Before that the imperial powers either supported, or ignored, or paid lip service to his antidemocratic actions.

As long as the imperial powers see dollar - or Euro - signs followed by large numbers of zeros, there is no way they will initiate any measure of justice for the Zimbabwean people. Ignoring this fact, all discussion of solutions leads into circles.

In looking for peaceful and just solutions to the situation in Zimbabwe we should always start by asking, “what is the role of imperialism?” We should start by distrusting the stated motives of the imperial powers. We should start by recognizing that the same powers manipulate the United Nations. We should start by insisting that African countries, Zimbabwe’s neighbors, and other non-aligned nations be assigned the leading role.

And finally for our own survival, we should be actively working to end imperialism, period.