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Tuesday 9 December 2008

Call a spade a spade

Some very interesting comments by Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party (South Africa) about Zimbabwe.
There is either a solution or there is not! There is, in my book, no such thing as a “made in Africa” solution. Zimbabwe either holds ‘free and fair elections’ like those recently held in America, or it does not.

Zimbabwe either adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (to which it is a signatory) or it does not. It happens to do neither and no amount of pontificating about “African solutions” can disguise that fact. Her people are starving, the hyperinflation is running sky high, there is a humanitarian disaster of biblical proportions emerging with the cholera outbreak and the country is, for all intents and purposes, not being governed.

It is time to call a spade a spade.

Why, for instance, when Yugoslavia disintegrated in the early 1990s, did we not hear any voices calling for “Balkan solutions for Balkan problems”? No one said “ah let the people of Kosovo sort it out” or it is “an internal matter for the people of Bosnia”. Yes, it sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? In the end, Bill Clinton reluctantly intervened with his European NATO allies.

I believe we have fallen prey to the notion of relative standards: we are expected to hold ‘free and fair elections’ like everyone else, but there is an unspoken bargain that we will be given a bit of leeway. A “bit” of voter fraud or a “few” acts of intimidation – even murder – will be overlooked as long as the election is held and the result expresses the will of the majority.

As an African, who shares the joy of millions of people across the globe at the election of an African American as the leader of the free world, I believe it is time to say that we – as Africans – should be expected to adhere to the same standards as everyone else.

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