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Zimbabwe’s problems are exaggerated?

Southern African leaders, meeting in Zambia, once again failed to deal with the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Where strong words and decisive action were desperately needed, Robert Mugabe was treated to a heroes’ welcome, condemnation of everyone but himself and the incredible proposition that the problems being experienced in Zimbabwe were exaggerated.

Moreover, the one glimmer of hope — that the forthcoming elections would be free and fair — were dashed by the acceptance that Zimbabwe’s electoral system is as democratic as any to be found elsewhere on the planet.

If the farce of the last election is to be repeated, with urban voters being totally compromised, no international monitoring and utilisation of assets to purchase votes for the ruling party, then it would be better to abandon the elections altogether.

Why put opposition candidates and voters lives at risk?

Why set up the homes of opposition voters for demolition and candidates for torture, post election?

Why drain the very limited resources of the country to pay lip service to democracy when the money could be best used elsewhere?

Instead, why not rather look to the people leaving Zimbabwe as the true representation of the feelings of Zimbabweans towards their government?

While millions of their citizens have crossed our border rather than continue to live in the democracy that is Zimbabwe, remind ourselves that the problems are exaggerated.

Consider an inflation rate of 5 000% as our guide to the health of their economy.

Reflect on the fact that the independent press has all but been obliterated while trying to report on their democratic country.

Opposition leaders tortured and killed while trying to express an opinion.

Examine the health and food crisis and tell ourselves that the situation is not that bad. It could be worse, it could be us.

Bask in the glow of the Zimbabwean President’s gratitude for our support while the entire region is destabilised.

Africa, once again, has failed to deal decisively with a problem in its backyard.

The price we will all pay for this will be substantial : One of the cornerstones of investment is stability and in this area, Africa has clearly demonstrated that it cannot or will not, guarantee this.