Robert Mugabe: A Democratically Elected Dictator

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“Zimbabwe sinks into hell of hyperinflation,” says the lead editorial in today’s Financial Times. You know the story already. Inflation is running at more than 1,700% in the country… and seems to be out of control.

Also out of control are Zimbabwe’s police, who rounded up protestors the other day – including the man who seems most likely to replace the current president – and beat them up. The challenger, Morgan Tsvangirai, was then hauled before the courts and charged with inciting people to commit acts of violence. But it was obvious to everyone – including the judge, who promptly ordered the defendant to the hospital – that Tsvangirai, with his swollen and beaten head, was not so much the inciter of violence as the victim of it.

But then comes the most remarkable part of the editorial. Here, on the very Ides of March, the FT is prodding Cassius and Brutus to stick the knife into a lawfully elected president of a sovereign, democratic state! “Get involved now,” it urges neighboring South Africa, “while the Zimbabwe state can still be saved.”

Our friend Michel is still puzzling over the issue. He took out a dictionary to get a definition for democracy and found this: “A government where the people exercise sovereignty.” If we recall correctly, Robert Mugabe was elected by the people of Zimbabwe to run the state. According to the press reports at the time, the election was as honest as most below the Sahara…and probably not much more dishonest than some above the Rio Grande. Maybe a few voters were roughed up. Maybe more were discouraged from taking to the polling stations. But there is no such thing as an election that functions perfectly.

Whatever can be said for the election, Robert Mugabe has been running the state… into the ground. There is no doubt about that. And to the extent that the people of Zimbabwe elected him… or even tolerated him… they get what they deserve.

What’s more, there’s no definition of democracy that we know of that permits a foreign people to “get involved” in the misgovernment of another democratic state…or even in an undemocratic state. And in every example we’ve heard of – whether of the Napoleonic army in Spain or the Bushian army in Iraq – the results have been disastrous. Nevertheless, that is the central inspiration of America’s ‘Wilsonian’ foreign policy…and the fervent wish of every addled neo-conservative in Washington.

Bill Bonner
The Daily Reckoning Australia

Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner

Best-selling investment author Bill Bonner is the founder and president of Agora Publishing, one of the world's most successful consumer newsletter companies. Owner of both Fleet Street Publications and MoneyWeek magazine in the UK, he is also author of the free daily e-mail The Daily Reckoning.
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11 Comments on "Robert Mugabe: A Democratically Elected Dictator"

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Troy Cox
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You’re a master of distraction, to deflect the focus away from Mugabe, and onto Washington and the “neo-cons”. Exactly what the neo-cons have got to do with the current situation in Zimbabwe is not at all clear. If there is any link, I’d appreciate an explanation. “Maybe a few voters were roughed up”, you say. Maybe? Maybe! It was widely reported at the time. It’s high time the apologists ceased trying to defend Mugabe’s wicked regime.

Chris vw
Guest

Being an Australian Zimbabwean, you make me sick. The Zimbabwean people in some way deserve what is going on? Think of their plight when you next have a coffee that costs as much as a months salary for the average Zimbabwean (and twice their salary tomorrow).

dudeinwales
Guest

It’s worth pointing out, too, that the ZANU-PF have consistently prevented other parties from posing a real challenge. Think about what they did to ZAPU. Zimbabwe cannot be described as a free country… truly a bizarre piece of work, what you’ve written here. ZANU-PF came to power by the gun, not the ballot-box. In the first election, Zimbabweans did vote for Mugabe, but since Mugabe’s thugs had all the guns, they were under a lot of pressure, so it can’t be described as a free election.

ls
Guest

Please remember that U.S. president Jimmy Carter and Andrew Young were the true power that placed Mr. Mugabe in office. Seems that for Mr. Carter wrecking the U.S. economy wasn’t enough.

Reg
Guest

Are you serious ? Mugabe rigs those elections and bans impartial media reporting.

Your argument could be used to defend North Korea – it is called the “Democratic Peoples Republic” afterall – they regularly hold sham elections. Give Kim Jong-Il a chance hey ?

Charles
Guest
You racist know nothing about Zimbabwe people make me sick. No country and I mean NO country in Africa is safer than Zim. Mugabe has his faults but we are not fooled by any of the white supremacists who sit in Europe and try and demonise him. If we are tired of him we will vote him out in the mean time he will stay until he finishes his duties to Africa. The land reform was a resounding success . It had its pains and we are still experiencing some of them but we will rise above them after all… Read more »
Suffering Zimbabwean
Guest

you people continue writing and commenting about Zimbabwe, but the question is, what solutions do you have for Zimbabwe?, It does not help us to continually hear about Mugabe’s dictatorship, police abuse,what not, what is, what action are you taking, whats your recommendations, or you just the same with the Dictator

Brian Wheatley
Guest
Robert Mugabe was elected over Ian Smith. He promised that 10% of the seats in Parliament would be kept for whites, but after the election he abolished them. No one said anything. He wrote in the Britannica Year Book that they would adopt Socialist economics to run the Zimbabwe economy. (1987?) That would have to be an oxymoron if ever I heard one. The destruction of a currency takes a lot of doing, but his government has managed to do it. And in addition they have managed to destroy production on the Farms as well, first by taking the land… Read more »
Brian Wheatley
Guest
One more comment if I may. Usually your commentary on any subject is sound, however on this subject your argument is at best specious. Yes Mugabe was elected, but since then he has held onto power through a mixture of terror and bluster. I have met people who have lived under Ian Smith and Mugabe. Mr Smith would drive himself to the shops to do his own shopping, with no guards. Mr Mugabe has armed vehicles and no-go zones around his residence. No one is allowed anywhere near his residence and people live in fear of his thugs, especially if… Read more »
Sibantubanye
Guest
>Robert Mugabe was elected over Ian Smith. He promised that 10% of the seats in Parliament would be kept for whites, but after the election he abolished them. No one said anything. Brian if you know your history. the 10% was a constitutional provision for the first 10 years after independence. after that the whites would have to be elected like everyone else. And Mugabe did not remove it immediately after the elections. And to Bill, can you write something about the so called smart sunctions that are killing us as well as the American, Zimbabwe Democracy Act. Everyone trades… Read more »
Graham Oxlade
Guest

How great it is to hear the Mugabe apologists waxing lyrical about his many virtues. From his own rascally mouth he is Hitler ten fold. As an ex-Rhodie and former member of the security forces I derive untold satisfaction at the smoking ruin that is present day Zimbabwe. The icing on the cake would be Mugabe’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize, why not they give these awards to most terrorists dont they?

wpDiscuz
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