World’s worst leader?

22 Dec


Why doesn’t Robert Mugabe just commit suicide? It is clear to everyone that he is such an abject failure on all fronts that the best thing he could do for Zimbabwe is to leave, one way or another, and the best thing other African countries could do is to encourage his departure. He has lost every scrap of honour that may once have attached to him as a liberation leader so that can’t be relevant any more.

Zimbabwe is to issue new banknotes in an effort to tackle the serious cash shortages afflicting the country.

From Thursday, notes worth 250,000, 500,000 and 750,000 Zimbabwean dollars will enter circulation.

At the same time, the highest value note now in use – the 200,000 dollar bill – will be phased out, despite only being introduced in July.

Rampant inflation above 8,000%, mass unemployment and shortages of fuel and basic goods have blighted the economy.

Zimbabwe’s central bank governor, Gideon Gono, blamed the economic crisis on the country’s senior officials.

“Our economy has fallen prey to a high level of indiscipline and corruption prevalent in the economy as well as diminished economic patriotism on the part of most people holding positions of authority in our economy and society,” he said.

President Robert Mugabe and his government normally blames the problems on a Western plot designed to oust him from power.

But that has ever been an excuse for misplaced zeal, corruption, and sheer incompetence.

Go, you stupid old dinosaur! Do something good for a change.

See also Should we play Zimbabwe?

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Posted by on December 22, 2007 in Africa, current affairs


13 responses to “World’s worst leader?

  1. Lisa

    December 22, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    Where’s an assassin when you need one? . . .

  2. Denys

    December 22, 2007 at 8:46 pm

    I cannot believe that the African Union doesn’t do more. If Zimbabwe had oil reserves then we would be hearing the US demanding “we must liberate Zimbabwe..” blah blah blah.

  3. Davo

    December 22, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    And this is the bloke who calls Brown and Merkel (or any of those ‘colonial democracies’) – “arrogant”.


  4. Davo

    December 22, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    They should be thankful for small mercies, i guess. At least Mugabe doesn’t feel it necessary to invade several other countries for purely commercial gain .. so one has to think carefully about the label of “World’s Worst Leader” .. heh.

  5. ninglun

    December 22, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    Imagine if Mugabe was President of the United States! Makes George seem good. And while there is a certain similarity between Mugabe and the Former Great Grey Garden Gnome of Kirribilli House in respect to hanging on well past the use-by date, the comparison is such that we were in fact damned lucky to have the Gnome…

    I do know people with inside knowledge of Zimbabwe.

  6. Davo

    December 22, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    Neil, it is, perhaps, a particular ‘shame’ of mine that i can sit in – relative – comfort and purely “observe”. Have never visited nor lived in, experienced – another country.

    At this particular time of year, i can only give thanks that my ancestors ‘chose’ to come to this particular slice of the south Pacific. Am sure that they would be pleased by how OUR version of “democracy” has developed and flourished.

  7. ninglun

    December 22, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    I’m a stay-at-home too, Davo. And I say “amen” to your last paragraph.

    My mate Sirdan was born in Zimbabwe, though, and Dorothy at church has been there and is also a friend of the woman who was recently (earlier this year) bashed by Mugabe’s thugs and is now in Australia.

  8. Davo

    December 22, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    Which puts whatever political party who happens to be governing Australia into a very awkward position. While we – all 20 million of us – may well be beacon for democracy, the land, the nature of the country – is having severe problems sustaining the population we already have.

  9. ninglun

    December 22, 2007 at 11:42 pm

    Aside from the fact that the surrounding countries are packed to the gills with Zimbabwean refugees — a big problem for South Africa — and that those left inside live under horrible conditions — see This is Zimbabwe — the tragedy is that Zimbabwe was and potentially still is one of the richest countries in Africa, quite able to sustain all its population. Compounding it all is a massive HIV/AIDS problem.

  10. Davo

    December 23, 2007 at 12:10 am

    Neil, leaving aside the HIV/Aids problem which was more than likely CREATED by a misplaced experiment by merica drug interests –

    so .. as a discussible point .. primitive tribes see any ‘consistent strong man’ as a ‘leader’. Have trouble seeing that the African Union will see Mugabe as anything but a hero.

  11. Davo

    December 23, 2007 at 12:56 am

    the tragedy is that Zimbabwe was and potentially still is one of the richest countries in Africa, quite able to sustain all its population.

    Cecil Rhodes revisited. ?

  12. ninglun

    December 23, 2007 at 9:08 am

    the HIV/Aids problem which was more than likely CREATED by a misplaced experiment by merica drug interests — theories about HIV such as this one have been around for twenty years and more. I don’t have much faith in them. The one you mention is to me as likely as Elvis being seen in Surry Hills.

    One of the most dangerous of such theories has been the one that HIV is not the cause of AIDS, discussed here, but you have to scroll way down as that site is very badly designed. Unfortunately, as that site says, this theory attracted the attention of President Mbeki of South Africa with very bad effects on his country’s fight against HIV.

    * HIV doubting is on the upswing, especially in Africa (Nat. Med. 11: 581, 2005). Of course, a few postmodernists have bought into it (Soc. Sci. Med. 58: 703, 2004 by a sociologist who says he cannot understand how scientific inquiry is different from religious dogmatizing.) Vitamin guru Matthias Rath even claimed to have the backing of the UN and international science groups (including “The Perth Group”, evidently their own invention — their rhetoric is based on “public debates” and “going to court”, the traditional methods of disinformation artists.) The claim to support from the real scientific community is an obvious complete fabrication. See Nat. Med. 12: 369, 2006. There’s no science here, but the politics is ripe: many people hate the companies that developed and market anti-HIV drugs, and anti-HIV activism plays to this.

    * If you have any doubt that the HIV-doubters are bunko-artists and their dupes, consider this: There is also a large disinformation industry claiming that the HIV virus was bioengineered as a tool for genocide by the CIA, the apartheid regime, the vaccine companies, or whoever. If the Duesbergites believed their own stuff, they would attack these people, and be attacked in return, with the same venom that both campaigns reserve for honest science.

    As a physician, society grants you status and special privileges, expecting in return that you will know and do whatever actually helps sick people. All beautiful rhetoric aside, you are betraying society’s trust if you “keep an open mind” or “respect opposing views” from people who are obviously trying to deceive the public.

    On HIV in Zimbabwe, see which also includes a good thumbnail sketch of the country generally.

    Most people feel that the Zimbabwean Government’s response to the AIDS crisis has been relatively good in comparison with their performance in other areas. Prevention and treatment initiatives have been scaled up and the national HIV prevalence seems to have declined. Yet in the context of such a fragmented political and economic background, the fight against AIDS has been unable to make substantial progress. The collapse of the economy – which is perhaps the most prominent of Zimbabwe’s interrelated problems – has been a direct result of the Government’s disastrous land reforms policy, as farming output has deteriorated and the unethical nature of the campaign has led to international sanctions and the withdrawal of aid.

    Ultimately, there is only so much that can be done with such low levels of funding, human resources and international support. While Zimbabwe has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world at just 37 years (due in large part to the AIDS epidemic), President Mugabe has recently celebrated his 82nd birthday. Many people feel that a change of Government is long overdue and is indeed necessary if an effective response to the epidemic is to be formed.

    Wikipedia has a useful entry on Zimbabwe. The great problem with Zimbabwe/Rhodesia — and even Sirdan who is of Afrikaaner descent and thus a white Rhodesian farmer in origin admits — is that it was just unsustainable that something like 2% of the population at its peak could ever hope to rule, or even should rule, the other 98%.

    The issue with Mugabe isn’t just the African Strong Man/primitive tribes stereotype. He was part of the group of Nelson Mandela’s generation that attracted reverence for their role in the liberation of southern Africa, and that still has cachet. However, he is no Mandela, and even less an Archbishop Tutu. His Marxist inspired land reform program has been carried forward with maximum ill-consideration and maximum dogmatism, and that, along with corruption at the very top and arcane tribal/ethnic favouritism, has totally screwed the country, which, incidentally, is bolstered by China especially. I am not sure I trust this site, but it is essentially correct on the China Zimbabwe connection.

    Fact is that ONE QUARTER of the Zimbabwean population now live as refugees outside the country, and clearly most of that quarter is black.

    On the other hand, another country with problems and less natural resources but with a far different government and much more hope is Botswana.

  13. James Russell

    December 24, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    It is clear to everyone

    Except Mugabe himself. For Mugabe to realise what a complete waste he is would require him to possess a degree of self-awareness I don’t think he has.

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