Violence Erupts in Zimbabwe


            Human Rights Watch and other rights groups recently accused Zimbabwe’s army and President Robert Mugabe of unleashing “terror and violence” on dissenters of his 28-year regime.

            According to the Associated Press, Zimbabwe’s opposition party and its presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai have linked the recent surge in violence after last months presidential election to the security forces and “war veterans” that are loyal to Robert Mugabe.

            Mugabe’s regime blames the opposition party for the violence, which includes arresting scores of people, including women and their nursing babies, who had taken shelter from the violence at opposition headquarters in the capital city Harare.

            Mugabe has been accused of using violence and intimidation to sabotage the recent presidential election, which shows that Tsvangirai won the majority of the votes, but not the required 50 percent plus one needed to avoid a runoff.  The ruling party has not released the election results, which has led to more suspicion that the election is rigged.

            “The army and its allies—‘war veterans’ and supporters of the ruling party Zanu-PF—are intensifying their brutal grip on wide swathes of rural Zimbabwe to ensure that a possible second round of presidential elections goes their way,” Georgette Gagnon, Africa director at Human Rights Watch said.  “The African Union and U.N. Security Council should take immediate steps to help prevent a further escalation in violence.”

            To date, the United Nation has taken no action to curb the violence and election chaos in Zimbabwe.

            In one act of violence in the eastern province of Manicaland, opposition members traveled to an “informal torture center” set up by “war veterans” and witnessed 12 of their colleagues bound and beaten.  When they questioned the “war veterans,” they encountered gunfire, with three of them hit by gunfire and one killed, according to Human Rights Watch.

            Recently, South Africa, Mozambique, Angola and Namibia successfully blocked China’s shipment of mortar grenades and ammunition to Zimbabwe.

            Mugabe, 84, rose to power in 1980.  During his presidency he helped end White rule, which led to an independent Zimbabwe.

            His popularity began to wane after the country fell into an economic downturn, which has left inflation rates at a whopping 100,000 percent, and the often-violent seizures of White-owned commercial farms in 2000.

            The confusion in Zimbabwe is eerily similar to the genocide that erupted in Rwanda in 1994 after supporters of current Rwandan president Paul Kagame shot down President Juvenal Habyarimana’s plane according to French police.

            According to the BBC, “The presidential guard immediately initiated a campaign of retribution.  Leaders of the political opposition were murdered …On the ground, the Rwandans were largely left alone by the international community.  UN troops withdrew after the murders of 10 soldiers.”

            Consequently, the United Nations has also refused to offer assistance to those victimized by the violence in Zimbabwe.  It is as if the benefits that other nations enjoy from the U.N. do not apply to African countries when they are in dire need of help.

            Would the United Nations delay help if those struggling were French, or even American?

            It makes one wonder, if the United Nations is truly devoted to uniting nations.

Cornelius is a writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.

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