April 24, 2008

HARRISONBURG—In his weekly “Strategic Interests” column for the World Defense Review, Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, provides an update on the ongoing political crisis in Zimbabwe.

According to Dr. Pham, “while the responsibility for this tragedy reposes primarily with the Mugabe regime, some of the blame must be shared by its enablers abroad,” including South African President Thabo Mbeki, the designated mediator for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), who sees “no crisis” in Zimbabwe, just a “normal electoral process”; SADC, whose heads of state and government could agree on little more than a communiqué urging the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission to release its results “as expeditiously as possible”; the African Union (AU) which, as of last week, was still calling the election a “success”; as well as the People’s Republic of China which, in the midst of the situation, is nonetheless trying too deliver some 70 tons of weapons to the Zimbabwean government. The column concludes:

The failure of African leaders act decisively against the instability that Mugabe is creating across region as well as the support which he has received from mainland China and other quarters only prolongs the current crisis by giving the Zimbabwean ruler reason to believe that he can, once again, escape accountability. Unfortunately, it is the people of Zimbabwe who will continue to bear most of the cost for an octogenarian megalomaniac’s refusal to bow out and the pusillanimous inability of his neighbors to acknowledge the situation for what it is.

To read the full text of the article, “Enabling Mugabe to Cling On,” click here.