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Politics | Howards Way

Politics: Frustration over lack of action against Mugabe’s regime

Contributed by editor on Jun 25, 2008 - 10:03 PM

Howards Way

Howard's Way.... a weekly column from the Rt. Hon. Michael Howard QC. MP. 

26 June 2008


Last Saturday was a peaceful day here in East Kent. I opened the Summer Fayre at Philbeach in Hythe and then went to Lydd for Lydd Club Day. Sandra opened the fete at Stowting.

Lydd Club Day is a wonderful institution. Although its origins lie far back in the 29th century it fell into discontinuity between the World Wars. It was revived in 1948 so this was the 60th anniversary of its rebirth. It goes from strength to strength and is a tremendous demonstration of community spirit and a really meaningful link with our past.

Meanwhile, alas, on the other side of the world the brutal repression and killing in Zimbabwe continued. On Sunday came the tragic but entirely understandable decision of the Movement for Democratic Change and its courageous leader Morgan Tsvangirai to withdraw from a the presidential run-off election due to take place this Friday.

This could be a fast moving situation so anything I say, writing at the beginning of the week, may soon become out of date. Indeed, I hope it will be.

But as I write I feel overcome with frustration. Those with the power to effect change in Zimbabwe are its neighbours and particularly South Africa. Yet President Mbeki has consistently refused to use that power to put an end to the suffering of Zimbabwe’s people. Other African leaders have at last begun to condemn Robert Mugabe’s terrorist regime.

Is it too much to hope that this will be the week when President Mbeki finally finds his voice and makes it clear that he will take action, such as cutting off Zimbabwe’s power supply, unless Mugabe goes?

Is it too much to hope that the Security Council of the United Nations, will at last find its voice and take action, such as tightening sanctions against Zimbabwe?

And is it too much to hope that Nelson Mandela, whose world wide influence is utterly unique, will at last find his voice to condemn Mugabe’s tyranny?

I hope that by the time you read this some and perhaps all of these things will have happened and Mugabe may be on his way out. But I’m not holding my breath.