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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.


  • Mike Trapido is a criminal attorney and publicist having also worked as an editor and journalist. He was born in Johannesburg and attended HA Jack and Highlands North High Schools. He married Robyn in 1984 (Mrs Traps, aka "the government") and has three sons (who all look suspiciously like her ex-boss). He was a counsellor on the JCCI for a year around 1992. His passions include Derby County, Blue Bulls, Orlando Pirates, Proteas and Springboks. He takes Valium in order to cope with Bafana Bafana's results. Practice Michael Trapido Attorney (civil and criminal) 011 022 7332 Facebook


  1. Frankly Speaking Frankly Speaking 27 August 2007

    Did you forget the flood of people out of South Africa? The problem in our backyard is the same problem we are facing. The only difference is that the Zimbabwean people have been tackling the bull by the horns, instead of from it’s rear end. In good old RSA, we placate the thought provoking pundits like yourself, and install economic policies which do not serve the people any good. The truth is, the MDC simply fails to garner enough support inside Zimbabwe. It has resorted to gangster tactics and has even sought the help of the CIA and Mossad in it’s efforts.

  2. Tichaona Maworera Tichaona Maworera 2 September 2007

    I don’t know where “Frankly Speaking” is coming from, or going! It is simply not possible to exercise any real opposition politics in Zimbabwe today. The media is closed to the opposition, any gathering by them is criminalised, their activists are arrested, tortured or worse. The whole electoral process is controlled by the ruling party. There is no truth that the MDC is helped by Mossad or the CIA. The MDC does have a huge support base in Zimbabwe, but there is no manner in which you can confirm this. People are terrified. You would be if you were in Zimbabwe today.

  3. batatoughies batatoughies 6 September 2007

    Maworera, why cant the MDC shore up any significant support in elections found to be free and fair? I think you exagerate way too much.

  4. Tichaona Maworera Tichaona Maworera 7 September 2007

    batatoughies,Yours is truly an amazing question! Tell me, when have we ever had free and fair elections in Zimbabwe? Never. The last elections were not and in fact were marred by horrifying violence meted out to the opposition.Surely you do not believe the shameful observations of Sadc monitors fronted by the SABC!? And why are independent international observers not welcome to monitor?
    Unless and until the whole spectrum of electoral laws is changed, you can forget free and fair elections.The unfairness is being enacted right now through skewered constituencies, denial of the right to vote in respect of citizens outside the country, withdrawal of citizenship to persons of alien origin,criminalisation of all electoral preparatory effort of the opposition, a partisan Electoral Commission and last but most effective , contempleted Constitutional reforms that will entrench the current dominance of those in power.
    So, when elections come a token number of handpicked observers from the neighbourhood are called up, esconced in the towns and escorted as they monitor, and sure you have free and fair elections in which the MDC has failed to “shore up significant support” Exageration?

  5. temba sibanda temba sibanda 22 October 2007

    Tichaona Maworera well said on your articles to many people out there seem to know nothing about african politics

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