14 December 2008

Zimbabwe's descent into chaos

One of the things that held up a power-sharing agreement in Zimbabwe was Mugabe's insistence that he alone control the police and the army -- he wasn't sharing that power with anyone.

But as the situation deteriorates, one wonders just how much control he has. When there is no longer any money to pay the police and the army, will they resort to using their weapons to earn their living as marauding bands, stealing from the civilian population at gunpoint?

The Times - Zimbabwe military has become a brigand army for hire:
According to the Guardian newspaper: “Zimbabwean air force helicopters swept over the hundreds of fleeing illegal diamond miners and mowed down dozens with machine-gun fire.

“After that the police arrived and unleashed the dogs that tore into the diggers, killing some and mutilating others.

“The police fired tear gas to drive the miners out of their shallow tunnels and shot them down as they emerged.”

This is a description of one incident and there have been several similar shootings over the past month.

And one wonders what kind of democracy it is when the loser of an election gets to share power with the winner, with the loser determining what share the winner gets. As Chairman Mao is reputed to have said, political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. That may be true, especially in places like Zimbabwe, but it is not democracy.

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