Reaction from Zimbabwe’s neighbors

The World

Mugabe was once seen as an African strength and it’s not surprising other African leaders have been slow to criticize a former African hero. This former UN commissioner for human rights says the days are gone when African leaders would regard Mugabe as a hero. But they’re still slow to criticize him. This analyst says African leaders have acted cowardly by taking their cues from South African President Thabo Mbeki, who claims Mugabe should be respected despite his terrible deeds because he brought Zimbabwe to independence. Some African leaders have spoken up in the past few days, including Botswana’s ambassador, and the president of neighboring Zambia. Stronger voices of dissent have come from African writers and former leaders. 18 former African leaders recently took out a full newspaper ad calling for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe, and Mandela and Desmond Tutu have also called out against Mugabe. This Nigerian Nobel Prize writer is also speaking out loudly. It’s doubtful that voices like his will make a difference says one analyst. But dissent from respected Africans does matter according to this analyst. He also finds hope in the fact that Zimbabwe’s opposition have restrained from taking up arms and starting another civil war in Africa. But that can be interpreted in multiple ways as well.

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