Why diamonds can't be Robert Mugabe's best friend
'No one should doubt our resolve to sell our diamonds,' Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe said July 12. Guest blogger G. Pascal Zachary argues why South Africa should engineer the dictator's exit.
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South Africans, having just performed splendidly as hosts of the World Cup, are on a roll. The world should urge Zuma and his government to seize the opportunity to both rid the world of a ruler among the most deserving of retirement and help launch Zimbabwe’s return to its former health.Skip to next paragraph
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The trouble with this scenario is that Zuma and South Africa’s political leadership have deep reluctance to intervene in Zimbabwe. As Stephen Ellis, an professor of African Studies at Leiden university in the Netherlands and author of the seminal 2005 essay, “How to Rebuild Africa,” points out to me in an email: “South Africa has not responded well to this challenge, and Zuma’s freedom of manoeuvre is quite restricted. He is himself a Zulu, who speak the same language as the Matabele, and is close to the old ZAPU leadership who were the ANC’s allies in the old days, in the 1960s and 1970s. Zuma is now being threatened by Julius Malema who is openly courting Mugabe and is advocating ZANU-type policies in South Africa, including land reform. China’s role here will be crucial – the ultimate question is: will Zimbabwe end up after Mugabe’s demise becoming a normal country once again? Or will South Africa actually become more like Zimbabwe? These are open questions.”
And likely to remain so for some time.
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