Mugabe’s Friends

When you are a vicious dictator known for fixing elections by intimidating and torturing opponents and any of their supporters, while still managing to have time to drive your country further and further into economic ruin, it’s always nice to know you have friends. In the case of Robert Mugabe, it is China and Russia.

As befits a non-democratic institution, the United Nations is run by a council of fifteen countries, five of which are permanent members, each with veto power, because of the nine votes required to pass any resolution, five of them must come from the five permanent members. That’s why when it comes to severe human rights abuses verging on genocide, Russia and China are always there to keep the world at bay. The two foxes always guarding the global hen house.

After all, China has had to lock down the population of entire cities whenever the Olympic torch has passed through, just to avoid the embarrassment of protesters. And of course most of those protesters are protesting about the Chinese takeover of Tibet, something the United Nations did nothing about because the Communist government of China was not the recognised government of China in the UN at the time.

It wasn’t just Russia and China that voted against sanctions for the Mugabe regime. There was Libya. Yes, the chief perpetrator of terrorism in north Africa is also a member of the Security Council. Now isn’t that comforting? Gee, I can’t imagine why Libya would be against international sanctions applied to a rogue government.

Another vote against sanctions came from Vietnam. No bastion of human rights there. Just this week they only allowed a state-sanctioned Buddhist group to organise the funeral services for Thich Huyen Quang, the leader of a dissident Buddhist group which promotes human rights and religious freedom. He spend many years under house arrest.

So there you have it. This is the body created to maintain world peace and stability. Thanks to the UN, Robert Mugabe will continue to maintain his oppression of the majority of Zimbabweans.

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Plenty of Cash and No Money

Nicholas van Hoogstraten has been arrested in Zimbabwe. He achieve notariety here in the UK a few years ago because he was convicted of for the manslaughter of a business associate and later cleared, but eventually paid out civil damages. The arrest in Zimbabwe has nothing to do with this. It has to do with possessing foreign currency and demand rent for some of his 200 Zimbabwean properties in something other than Zimbabwean currency.

He did accept some local currency. In fact he had far more of it than anything else. There was Z$20,000,000,000 with the money that police confiscated. That’s right: 20 billion. The only thing is that with an exchange rate of over Z$30,000 to US$1 – or about Z$60,000 to £1 – $20 billion doesn’t go very far.

I say all of this not to say anything about Nicholas van Hoogstraten, but rather about the economy of Zimbabwe. This is the degree to which Robert Mugabe has destroyed his country. This is why people are starving in a land that used to be the bread basket of Africa.