Mugabe versus Mnangagwa- ending a despot does not end despotism


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Elections across Africa have traditionally followed a familiar pattern: Radical black nationalist movements like the ANC take power everywhere, then elections cease. “One man, one vote, one time,” to quote the book, “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Or, if elections do repeatedly take place, as they do in South Africa, they’re rigged, in a manner.

For a prerequisite for a half-decent liberal democracy is that majority and minority status be interchangeable and fluid, and that a ruling majority party (the ANC) be as likely to become a minority party as the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA). In South Africa, however, the majority and the minorities are politically permanent, not temporary, and voting along racial lines is the rule.

So, as the dictator Mugabe hung on to power for dear life, reasonable people were being persuaded by the pulp and pixel press that if not for this one megalomaniac, freedom would have flourished in Zimbabwe, as it has, presumably, in Angola, Congo, Congo-Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, and the rest of strife-torn Africa south of the Sahara.

Reasonable people are also expected to infer from permissible analysis that now that Mugabe has been dislodged, his successor will not deign to commandeer the state’s security forces to subdue his opposition as his predecessor had done.

The pundit peanut gallery’s latest imperfect messiah in Zimbabwe is Emmerson Mnangagwa. His rickety political plank will promise indubitably what the majority of Zimbabweans want, including “equitable” land reform. A euphemism for land distribution in the Mugabe mold, this concept is anathema to private property rights.

Does Mnangagwa grasp that his country is bankrupt and that, unlike the mighty USA, Zimbabwe has no line of credit? Or that, as the great American writer Henry Hazlitt put it, “Government has nothing to give to anybody that it doesn’t first take from somebody else.” Or, that there are precious few left in Zimbabwe from whom to take?

The shortages and queues, courtesy of communism, exist in Zimbabwe as they did in the Soviet Union. Jokes from Hammer & Tickle, a book of black humor under Red rule, are not out of place in Zimbabwe:

"The problem of queues will be solved when we reach full Communism. How come? There will be nothing left to queue up for."

Contrary to convictions in the West, any improvement experienced subsequent to the dethroning of the dictator Mugabe will be due to the West’s renewed investment in Zimbabwe and not to the changing of the guard.

For even if Mr. Mnangagwa proves no dictator-in-waiting, there is nothing in his political platform to indicate he will not continue to rob Peter to pay Paul until there is nobody left to rob.

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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