"Humiliation is a trigger [for Mugabe]" - Heidi Holland, author of Dinner with Mugabe
It's been interesting following the news (or at times, what we're peddled to believe is 'news') this week on Zim. The Star (and the Washington Post) shouted that 'Mugabe Teeters' and The Times demanded that Bob 'Pack [his] Bags!' Here's the first sensible headline I've seen, but even this was a foregone conclusion even before the election:
New Signs of Mugabe Crackdown in Zimbabwe
Meanwhile, for all the speculation and wishful thinking going on, Mugabe has been calmly riding out the post-election process, not giving a hoot what people are saying beyond his borders...well, until he has journalists (operating 'illegally) hunted down and arrested last night.
Sorry guys, I haven't seen any signs that Robert Mugabe is about to step down. So I also don't know where the press got the idea to trumpet their wish-it-comes-true headlines. Is this hard reporting? Personally I am shocked that we are still capable of such naivete (after the war in Iraq media shambles to name but one example).
What we know is that Robert Mugabe is essentially a dictator. Even if he goes (which he would be crazy to do voluntarily - he'd face a massive backlash) he has all sorts of honchos in powerful places that have been looking after him. There was a fascinating interview on Thursday morning (SABC2 Morning Live) where lovely Leanne Manas gave a very sensible interview with the President of the Federation of Non-Government Organisations (or something). This guy unabashedly backed Mugabe 100%, said inflation was caused by Britain and the USA sabotaging the country (through sanctions) and that Mugabe is essentially a hero. He also described Zim as one of the world's top democracies (after North Korea I'm guessing).
So this whole delusion that he might roll over and play dead, or just leave off and head to Malaysia is fanciful, if not downright delusional.
We do live on the same continent don't we? I mean, I live in South Africa, the country that borders Zimbabwe. Because [based on the stuff we're getting from the newspapers]it feels like we've just landed here, glanced over at a crazy neighbour and expected him to leave like we have NO FREAKING IDEA what has been happening for the last decade or so. Jeepers, take a few sips of coffee!