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Mugabe versus Mnangagwa- ending a despot does not end despotism

Seemingly absent from the repertoire of both Mr. Mnangagwa and Ramaphosa is an understanding that only the rule of law and the protection of individual liberties, especially private property rights — for wealth-creating whites as well — can begin to reduce the dizzying scale of the two countries' problems. Without these building blocks and bulwarks of prosperity and peace — Zimbabwe and South African cannot be rehabilitated.

“Even when regimes have changed hands, new governments, whatever promises they made on arrival, have lost little time in adopting the habits of their predecessors,” observed historian Martin Meredith, in The State of Africa (2005).

Of the forty-four countries of sub-Saharan Africa, The Economist’s own democracy index lists twenty-three as authoritarian and thirteen as hybrids. Only seven, including South Africa, hold notionally free elections.

Only two, South Africa and Botswana, did Meredith single out as relatively well-managed African democracies. And that was back in 2005!

Propounded by Duke University scholar Donald L. Horowitz, the arguments against democracy for South Africa, in particular, have considerable force. Finely attuned to "important currents in South African thought," Horowitz offered up an excruciatingly detailed analysis of South Africa's constitutional options.

In A Democratic South Africa?: Constitutional Engineering in a Divided Society (1991), Horowitz concluded that democracy is, in general, unusual in Africa, and, in particular, rare in ethnically and racially divided societies, where majorities and minorities are rigidly predetermined (also the dispensation presently being cultivated by craven American elites).

Prone to seeing faces in the clouds, the West, however, sees Mugabe’s epic villainy and Jacob Zuma's confederacy of state-capturing knaves as nothing but a detail of history.

Lost in the din is the historically predictable pattern. Chaotic countries are hardly an anomaly in the annals of Africa south of the Sahara.

By Ilana Mercer. This article was first published by the  MISES Institute

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