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Let’s call a spade a spade on Mugabe’s government and Libya’s Rebel government.  

BY SIQOBILE LUPAHLA – POLITICAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST 

A thought-provoking debate has been on-going amongst Zimbabweans at functions, gatherings, churches, between spouses, family members and so on. The debate is:  should the Zimbabwean Government officially recognise the Rebels (NTC) that toppled Gaddafi and whether we should grant Gaddafi and his family Asylum as we have done to other dictators in the past? As an intuitive woman I can safely say that any leadership attained by force will only result in another dictatorship.

 Let’s take a look at what happened to other coups to over throw dictators in the past. Cuba’s Fidel Castro toppling Batista, he went on to rule his people with an iron fist for over 40 years and a Castro is still in power today.  Libya’s ambitious Colonel Gaddaffi went on to take the helms of his country by force in a coup. Congo, Iraq etc. Even if the country’s leaders were forced out by other nations like the US in Iraq, Afghanistan and NATO’s contributions to Libya, my point here is that if you cut off the head of a beast and replace that head with another, will most of that beast not remain the same? The rebels in Libya are an unknown entity that was not democratically elected and this could prove a far worse Government than Gaddaffi.

Does anyone remember what happened between the Hutus and the Tutsis? Even if we say that toppling a leader will be a better thing for Libya, in the future why is it then that only the oil rich countries have had an intervention i.e. why has there been no alliance by the US, UK and NATO to help Burma or Zimbabwe? Who decides which country to intervene and are the human rights violations in those countries any worse than in our own?

 As a human rights activist who’s just assisted the launch of the victim’s fund for women suffering persecution under the Mugabe regime, one can only ask why people can justify violence as a means to an end. If we take a look at what happened in Iraq and the lesson learned from there. As far as I know, over a million Iraqis have either been killed or displaced during the war to liberate Iraq and if “freedom” comes at this cost would it not have been better to impose sanctions and political pressure rather than to leave so many people fatherless and homeless?

From what Al Jazeera says, it could take Iraq over 60 years (that’s a lifetime to some people) to return to the state it was before. The only good thing apparently is that oil will be cheaper. So who does toppling a dictator through arming rebels really benefit? Same goes for Afghanistan where no number has ever been mentioned of how many Afghans have died which means that the media isn’t too bothered or is in on this propaganda as well which is to no surprise.

Democracy can only be attained through a peaceful and transparent process of election at the ballot box. If like in our case it fails then why not follow the example set by the MDC and get international recognition of the apparent flows in the electoral process and the corruption by the government? This is the only way that a peaceful transition can happen without the death of millions of people. It may be a lengthy process but the final result will almost always be positive. If we look at Cuba now there is another Castro but he is slowly bowing to international pressure and slowly pushing through reforms that can only lead to a democratic nation. I personally condemn all violence whether it’s war or violent demonstrations because almost always there are innocent people who get caught up in the conflict.

I will always campaign against anything that is accomplished by force like what is done in Zimbabwe. Mugabe’s cronies use violence, coercions and terror to rule the people and bend them to their will. What they don’t realise is that an environment of fear and a nation ruled by fear can never prosper and most people have now gotten so used to it that they mistake it for being a part of life.

In most cases these cronies target softer targets where they know there will be minimal resistance and in this case it’s mostly women and children that suffer. I think this applies to all nations. There has never been a census to see how many women have been beaten or raped in Zimbabwe and as a woman this is a subject that I feel no man will ever openly discuss but it is the truth.

In most circumstances the rapes go unreported because the women are either too afraid, too ashamed or know that the police will do nothing about it. Even if they do alert the authorities they now face the other daunting task that their husbands either blame them or the woman becomes the disgrace of the community and no one will even bother to talk to her anymore. This is the fate that awaits them. There is no psychologist, no counsellor in the rural communities but just the nightmares of having to live everyday with their secret and maybe a prayer that they weren’t infected by HIV. That is the reality of the situation

All leaders always start off with good intentions but if there is nothing to regulate your leadership i.e. a democratic electoral process and a people friendly constitution, another coup will be needed in a few years time to liberate Libya and other nations that have had coups.