International indifference to the brutality of the Mnangagwa regime in Zimbabwe invites comparison with the international condemnation and sanctions which were applied more than 50 years ago to what was then Rhodesia. The glaring difference between the two is double standards and hypocrisy.
Whatever criticisms one could make against white rule of Rhodesia, it never resorted to the following: indiscriminate shooting and beatings by police, arbitrary arrests and a complete media shutdown. People were not subjected to jackboot repression for protesting against conditions which included no fuel, no medical supplies, unaffordable and unobtainable food supplies, a worthless currency, irregular electricity and water supplies and rampant unemployment – which runs at 90% in Zimbabwe.
Yet world sanctions, disinvestment and political pressure drove Rhodesia into submission by 1980. In the years that followed, despite the ethnic cleansing the Mugabe regime inflicted on the Ndebele, the demonization and marginalisation of opposition and the violent expropriation of white farmers, international opinion never mobilised against black human rights oppression in Zimbabwe to the extent that it clamoured for the termination of white rule in Rhodesia.
If international opinion was consistent, it should declare the Mnangagwa regime outlawed, despatch an international caretaker administration – like the British did when they sent Lord Soames to Rhodesia in 1980 – prosecute the Mnangagwa regime along with Mugabe and the rest of the ZanuPF human rights violators, institute a Marshall Aid programme and set a date for properly monitored elections within a year.
Unless matters are remedied in that sort of fashion, there is no hope for the people of Zimbabwe. With the army fully backing Mnangagwa, repression and tyranny will prevail indefinitely. The question is: does international opinion give a damn? Oppression of blacks by blacks apparently is not an issue.
Sent into The Star, The Mercury, The Witness, and The Daily News and published, 23 January 2019.