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Last Updated: Friday, 5 December, 2003, 15:52 GMT
Does Zimbabwe matter to Africa?
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe blames his exclusion on a white "unholy alliance"

Zimbabwe divides opinion like almost nothing else in Africa.

President Robert Mugabe has quit the Commonwealth because it has not lifted its suspension of his country's membership.

This has triggered sharp disagreement among African countries, particularly southern African states.

The Commonwealth's key members, Britain, Australia and New Zealand want to see Zimbabwe isolated and punished for its violation of human rights, intimidation of the opposition and harassment of the media.

But countries like South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Zambia are angered by the Commonwealth's stand and are saying that Zimbabwe is not being treated equally.

On BBC's Africa Live programme this week we ask, if Zimbabwe's politics should concern the rest of Africa?

If so, how should Africa deal with Zimbabwe?

Join Africa Live on Wednesday 10 December at 1630 and 1830 GMT.

Use the form on the right to send us your comments, some of which will be published below.

If you would like to take part in the discussion, please include your telephone number, which will not be published.


Your comments:

Mugabe has proven that he is not interested in what the consequences of his actions are doing to his people. When other African leaders stand by him they further encourage his behaviour. Everybody should know that race is a very sensitive issue and because of our history of treatment of blacks it will always come up when conflicts come up. African leaders should not just stand by Mugabe because he is black and African but because they believe that what he is doing is helping his country. For those who stand up against Mugabe I applaud them. More than half the people in the country don't have jobs and others are running to other countries .
Theresa Kavenga, Zimbabwean in New YorK

What concerns and troubles most Africans and most fair-minded people around the world are the blatant double standards in this matter by Britain and Australia. These are the same countries that want Pakistan readmitted to the Commonwealth for "helping with the war on terrorism" (something that the West perceives to be closest to its interests) while at the same time campaigning for the continued suspension of Zimbabwe. The real reason for Zimbabwe's exclusion is the balatant racial politics of supporting a tiny minority's domination of the economy of Zimbabwe, not the otherwise understandable reason of sanctioning that country's government for stealing an election. If stealing elections leads to suspension from the Commonwealth, why has Nigeria not been expelled yet? The difference is of course that in Nigeria's case, no British or Australian interests are at stake. This is an absolute scandal.
Dr. Obiora Okafor, Nigeria

The world must find a way of telling Mugabe that he is not welcome, and I don't see how any kind of engagement will help now. We have been on this game of wits for years. The Commonwealth is not the sort of club for Mugabe and he should leave. It is shame that so many African countries disagree with British Prime Minister, Tony Blair on this issue. To say this, as an African is to be branded as someone with a colonial mentality. But I would rather have colonial mentality and have good government than be a proud African and live in the kind of hell that Mugabe has created in Zimbabwe.
James Oche, Nigeria/USA

Good riddence to Zimbabwe's morally bankrupt democracy. President Mugabe was put into power by the British and they have now isolated him. Nigera and South Africa must be decisive and act now. Mugabe is unpredictable and irrational and will destabilise the region, so President Mbeki needs to come up with an alternative policy for the region rather than sticking his head in the sand - which he does so well.
Vanessa, UK

Yes, Zimbabwe matters to Africa just like any other African country. In any case, quitting from Commonwealth is a blessing. I wish to call upon all African states to quit the Commonwealth because that will redeem their pride and independence. The Commonwealth only reminds me of those dark days when the 'great' Britain conquered our beloved countries. I dont think we should continue being Britain's colonies. Remember those days of slavery, hut tax, land grabbing, mineral exploitation etc? I salute Zimbabwe for its decision. VIVA AFRICA!
Bosch, Botswana

Zimbabwe is one sad story. Africa sits back and watches tyranny take its toil. Our Leaders seem too timid to confront the Zimbabwean leadership. The authocratic manner in which decisions are made and implemented is questioned only behind closed doors. No one dares be heard to condemn Mugabe and his men. People live in fear, hunger and pain in what was once one of the properous nations in Africa. Zimbabweans have left the country in search of jobs accepting even the most demeaning employment just to survive. African leaders are failing to look at the plight of the millions of starving Zimbabweans. They seem more interested in being "accepted" by Mugabe. Where is the democracy that out leaders claim?
Chongo, Zambia

The importance of Zimbabwe to Africa cannot certainly be questionned, especially at this time when international institutions such as the Commonwealth are putting in every effort to sever the brotherhood that is characteristic of Africa. In fact, Zimbabwe's indefinite suspension is the biggest blunder that the Commonwealth has had to commit in history, as it further confirms that the plight of Africa has hardly ever been the concern of the Commonwealth. Zimbabwe's problems have been created by the British who believe they have the right to control the destiny of all other peoples. If we equate Zimbabwe's situation to HIV/AIDS, only then can we understand that stigma, isolation and discrimination is no solution to HIV/AIDS. It is time African states defend their pride by dissociating themselves from these colonial continuities. Mugabe is a hero. Who in the Commonwealth has a better human rights record? And whose human right?
Divine F. Fuh, Botswana

Mugabe has done nothing to try to restore any kind of economic stability, building million dollar palaces whilst 66% of his country are surviving on food aid with little drugs to fight aids etc. Africa should hold a strong stance against his regime in line with the Commonwealth views. Mugabe has isolated Zimbabwe as a country with his racist outlook and unfortunatly it looks like he will again rig any elections and remain in power for some time to come creating more migration, poverty and death to his people.
Harvey Osborne, England

My president is shaming our nation in his handling of Mugabe. Softly-softly has failed. My aunt and uncle have recently fled Zimbabwe to Botswana. Zimbabwe was a jewel, now it is a burnt shell and all due to one man. Kick him out, the people don't want him but are too afraid to speak out.
Paul Watson, South Africa

How does Australia treat asylum seekers and native Balcks? How does New Zealand treat its native Blacks? Mugabe is actually the only Black voice in the world fighting for the black woman and the black man dignity. The third Chimurenga must be won. I wish other Commonwealth black leaders will be courageous enough to suspend Britain, Australia and New Zealand (from the Commonwealth). Long live Zimbabwe! Long live Mugabe! Long life Zanu-PF! Down with the neocolonialistic MDC! Long live the Black Liberation! UHURU!
Shungu M. Tundanonga-Dikunda, DR Congo/Germany

Zimbabwe matters not only to Africa but to the world! That is why Britian fuses over Zimbabwe , because they know they cannot get what they want, Zimbabwe's rich mineral resources. Which African nation does not harass its media or intimidate the opposition or violate human rights?
Sarah Kinyoda, UK

MUGABE MUST GO! We have suffered enough. What does quitting the Commonwealth help?
JC, Zimbabwe

I think there is confusion on who demonised who in the Mugabe problem. Some people who seem to know little about human rights think that the West is demonising Mugabe because of his love for his black people, us. If that was the case, then why is Mugabe demonising us blacks within the country, if he loves us so much?
Benson Magaba, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe matters a lot to the Africans and it is time they stand up against the British-inspired assault on Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular. Britain, led by Tony Blair, is not after the interest of Zimbabweans as a whole. It is after the interest of white minority who own the majority of the arable land in Zimbabwe.
Mohamed Yabarag, London, UK

What kind of question is this? "Should Zimbabwean politics concern the rest of Africa?" Is there more to this question than meets the eye? Zimbabwe matters to Africa, but no more than any other African Country matters. Are you trying to suggest that it should matter in a rather different way? Zimbabwe has been made to appear more important to Africa than it really is. You Westerners are very funny! But we aren't as dumb as you think we are!
Joshua Mambwe, Malawi

Zimbabwe matters the most to Africa. Remember Mugabe used to send his army to other other African countries in order to free Africa from the West. I even support Mugabe for quitting the Commonwealth, what did the ordinary black Zimbabwean gain from being a member of the Commonwealth. If you Western people come to Africa you expect us to treat you like kings but when we come to your country you treat us like a piece of trash. I am proud of being a Zimbabwean and I will always be a Zimbabwean.
Samaita, United Kingdom

I do believe Zimbabwe is significant as it is the first real test case for the new African Union and NEPAD to address. Unlike Liberia, Congo, etc. there is still a great deal to salvage in Zimbabwe, and there is no war to contend with, so in terms of difficulty Zimbabwe is on the easier end of the scale of African problems. If they fail, I think these institutions will be seen as another African failure.
RL, UK

Its a pity Zimbabweans are such a marginalised lot, a dictatator and leaders of neighbouring countries have to make representations for them. Zimbabwe is now South Africa's province of net benefit. Farmers have translocated to Zambia and Mozambique. These three leaders have good economic reasons to support Mugabe.
Ben Muza, UK

Zimbabwe has set the example, Africa should follow, quit the Commonwealth! Zimbabwe's destiny is Africa's destiny.
Madimula, Zimbabwe

It is very sad that every time an African leader proves to be a failure, they cry about neo-colonialism, racism and all manner of evils about the West. Mugabe has made Zimbambwe diplomatically irrelevant at this point in time. The experience has left me with a bitter disappointment over President Thambo Mbeki as well. By continuing to support Mugabe, Mbeki is taking us back to the old days where African leaders committed all kinds of evils but no one ever said anything. Mugabe must go. Without him Zimbabwe will be much better off.
Stephen Gitau, Kenyan in USA

Congratulations President Mugabe for kicking out Commonwealth from you country. I hope other African leaders follow your example. You are my African Hero. Do not be intimidated by the few stooges who come in the name of oposition. I have been to your country four times since indepedence and I know how good you are.
Abraham W. Selassie, USA

My problem with Africa is mainly with South Africa. I do not believe South Africa is being an honest broker. I believe South Africa benefits economically from Zimbabwe's demise and is doing all it can to ensure Zimbabwe can never again dare compete with it. Today many of the national assets of Zimbabwe are being grabbed by South Africans for a song. I am certain some of these South African companies if properly investigated will show up who exactly in South Africa is grabbing our national cake for peanuts in the name of quiet diplomacy. Zimbabwe is being fleeced.
Zana mari, USA from Zimbabwe

Whilst the continued suspension of Zimbabwe was understandable, it is the deafening silence from South Africa's Thabo Mbeki that has been the the most significant element of recent years.
Ian Erasmus, UK

There needs to be more questions asked of President Mbeki.
Bill, UK

Having lived outside Zimbabwe for some time and then come back, I have come to realise that Western media views are driven more by hatred for Mugabe than a real understanding of the situation on the ground in Zimbabwe. Sadly those are the same distorted views used by most white countries to arrive at their hardline stances on Zimbabwe. The truth is Zimbabwe is becoming a source of pride for Africa's masses because she is making a stand against the old imperialists in their eyes. Only somebody who is totally ignorant about Africa and Zimbabwe will ask a simpleton's question like 'Does Zimbabwe matter to Africa?'
Jupiter Punungwe, Zimbabwe

I am sure now everyone realizes that the once Great Zimbabwe matters to Africa more than Australia, Canada and the British government thought. African history is like no other continents on earth. Ours is a history of brotherhood, one of shared struggle against slavery and oppression given to us by the very same colonialists. If Britain, Australia and the US once supported apartheid in South Africa why should any African country think that they are immune to the same brush Zimbabwe has been painted with.
Eddie Manolo, Zimbabwean in Canada

Isn't President Mugabe simply following the example of Ian Smith when he withdrew the then government of Rhodesia from the Commonwealth in the face of what they also said was unfair Commonwealth criticism?
Philip, USA

As an African country, yes, Zimbabwe matters very much to the African continent; but as a country governed by the 79-year old Mugabe, Africa needs to redeem Zimbabwe and must stand up for her. The current situation is sad because Robert Mugabe is now considered as Zimbabwe by the developed world. Can a distinction be made between the two?
Laurence Isang Akpan, US

South Africa is using Zimbabwe as a test bed for its own plans in land reforms. If Mugabe is allowed to continue his present course without any form of sanctions, why cannot south Africa do the same. South Africa will never try to reign Mugabe in because if he succeeds so will South Africa when she tries to start policies that will also be rejected by its own electorate and the rest of the world.
Gavin Moore, UK

There is nothing common about the Commonwealth. Mugabe is right to keep white farmers off the Zimbabwean land. Mugabe is fearless and time has come now for Africa to speak with one voice. Commonwealth talks of human rights. That is nonsense. Ironically Nigeria the host, is itself a prominent human rights violator. What kind of human rights lesson can you learn from Jamaica? What has Australia to tell when aborigines who are living like pigs. Mozambique cannot say anything because it's Mugabe who brought them into the Commonwealth. VIVA MUGABE!
Bruce, Netherlands/New Zealand

At first it was slavery then colonisation and now it's imperialism. The reason for Mugabe to be treated like this is because the international community especially the West knows if every African country follows Mugabe's way Africa will be self sufficent. The West wants Africa to remain poor so that they can manipulate her. We are living like the story of the animal farm if not worse than that
Brian Chatunga, UK

Congratulations to Robert Mugabe, Africa's "shining star." Thanks to Mugabe, Zimbabwe is once again the country it was before the British arrived: a pre-industrialized, impoverished, semi-nomadic, agrarian basket case of a society without food or electricity, led by a corrupt king who couldn't give a damn about his people. Africa now has a shining example of the way forward. Congratulations.
Tony, USA

Imagine what is hapening in Sudan, DRC, Afghanstan, Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine and many other troubled spots. I would like to know whether the Zimbwean situation is as bad as being portrayed by these fortune hunters? (Britain, Australia and New Zealand). The answer is a big No.
Leonard Nkani, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe matters a great deal to Africa, not because it is an African country, but because what happens there has political, economic, social and moral impact on the rest of Africa and the world. Zimbabwe is dragging Southern Africa backwards and downwards. The sad thing is that those Africans who criticises Mugabe are afraid of being called 'Uncle Toms' (which implies being treacherous, dishonourable and un-African, therefore disloyal to Africa).
Mab Tema , UK

If Mugabe pulls out Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth does he or Zimbamwe lose?
Silvius Imako, Canada

Africa is not complete without Zimbabwe. If the Africans allow themselves to be divided again, then imperialism is on its way back.
Joey, Canada

Please do not let Mugabe off this hook this time. Do not be intimidated by his rhetoric about pulling out of the Commonwealth. The African leaders who are supporting him have not helped and fell indebted - Mugabe helped Mozambique in their darkest hour when Samora Machel died and Mbeki owes Mugabe for his protection in Zimbabwe during Botha's rule. Quite simply, Mugabe is in breach of the rules, so he must ostracised. I also wish you had an army.
Paul Kudinha, Zimbabwe

Can you ask the same question in regard to other continents? For example: Does Britain matter to Europe?
Aguer Deng., Australia

The question of Zimbabwe is truly crucial. The West has a narrow outlook on the issue. It is interpreting the whole question purely on their own interests. Mugabe is not the only offender in rigging. Why nothing is said about Eyadema of Togo, Obasanjo of Nigeria, Omar Bongo of Gabon, The Kings and Sultans of Africa and Arabia, and last but not least, Bush of America?
Masanga Kishashi, Tanzania

Africa will not deal with Zimbabwe, as all the current leaders of most Southern African nations are ex terrorists who by expelled the white experts who kept the nations functioning. A bitter truth.
Chris Dunbar, New Zealand

Just leave the Africans to deal with Mugabe and no outside interference PLEASE.
Mmuluki, Australia / Botswana

Surely if there was good leadership, the majority of people would freely vote, people would not starve and could work and live without fear of torture or intimidation, and there would be no need for ostracism.
Vongai Chiremba, Australia

Mugabe is the best and most brave African leader at least he has tried his best to give the resources of this land to their rightful owners. If the white Commonwealth really cared about the black mans' plight why did they not take such a step against Rhodesia or Apartheid South Africa.
Appauled African child of the soil

Of course it does.First, we have to remmeber that Zim use to be the bread basket of the southern Africa region.Hence, the implication will be significantly felt to the other parts not mentioning the spillover effect of the land reform.
Yitatek Yitbarek, Ethiopian/South Africa

As a Zimbabwean in exile I would like to think that Zimbabwe does matter but the truth is we count regionally, that is, Southern Africa but not to a great extent outside that area. The more important issue is that the leaders of Africa are seen by their own populations to be opposing what they perceive to be the old colonial enemy. Perhaps they have a lingering fear of the same tactics being used on them in the future if they bend the rules to stay in power.
Paul , UK

Since I will be living in Zimbabwe for two years come February, I have been quite interested in Zimbabwe's situation. The answer to your question is very simple: President Thabo Mbeki should pull the plug, literally. South Africa supplies electricity to Zimbabwe. Pulling the plug will make it impossible for Zimbabwe to function at any level.
Babak Fakhamzadeh, Netherlands

Why not? Zimbabwe is to Africa as the liver is to the body. Zimbabwe's woe is Africa's woe, and I pray that she does not take the course Somalia has taken. The Zimbabwe case should be approached at a crisis level like the Somalia, Congo, Sierra Leone and Liberia ones. South Africa which is Africa's power broker should take the lead in economic and diplomatic support for Zimbabwe. African governments should put pressure on Mugabe to observe human rights and freedom including freedom of press and conscience, and create an atmosphere of genuine democracy.
Elias Mutungi, Uganda/USA

As l recall a few years back President Mugabe was the brains and driving force of the whole SADC. His actions then and now are just the example of a leader. l think any other president in Africa who is not doing what Mugabe is doing should just get out of politics because Africa has not tested freedom. Many African leaders are there only to impress the Developed counties.
Samuel Chigaba, Zimbabwe

I think African countries that are backing Mugabe know what they are doing. African leaders know that Mugabe's decision to redistribute land is the right thing to do. And they understand that Mugabe's isolation from the Commonwealth is not due to frauds and deceptions in elections or human rights violations. If it was so then lots of other countries in Africa will be out of Commonwealth. Let Britain get her hands off Zimbabwe.
Dennis Mwaipola, Tanzania

Africa is already concerned about Zimbabwe. Tough times call for tough measures, and African leaders have a political and moral duty to tell President Mugabe to do the wishes of the people. African leaders have a tendency of talking, but saying nothing tangible, only Nelson Mandela ones told Mugabe to consider leaving. If African Presidents have nothing to say to Mugabe,please shut up and sing, because you are giving Zimbabweans a false hope.
Paul Kudinha, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe sets a good example to the rest of Africa: It has the spine to stand up to the imperialists!
Mwana Wevhu, Zimbabwe

As much as I do not support Mugabe's dictatorship and violation of human rights, I do not support the isolation of Zimbabwe. I have two sons and I used to punish them whenever they do something wrong. The more I punished them the harder they became until I realised the importance of dialogue. I believe the same thing is happening to Mugabe. The more he becomes isolated and restrictions imposed on him the harder he becomes. But who suffers? Zimbabweans.
Esther, Kenya

It's surprising that African countries would support Robert Mugabe while the masses in Zimbabwe don't. Mugabe should then become the President of South africa because they view him as a hero while we Zimbabweans don't.
Malvern, Canada

Zimbabwe is not only an African, country, it is a part of the global village. Its exclusion from the Commonwealth should stay until Mugabe is ready to comply with the declared values in terms of human rights, democracy and proper governance. I hasten to add that another 75% of African countries should disqualify themselves from the club. Many are guilty of vote stealing, gross human rights abuses and lack of proper governance that Mugabe has been ostracised for.
John Ekaju, Senegal/Uganda

Zimbabwe must be expelled from the Commonwealth until such a time there is regime change. President Mbeki and company are hypocrites, they are paying a blind eye to the suffering people of Zimbabwe.
George Timuri, UK

Zimbabwe does matter. As long as the international press continues to focus on white farmers you will continue to strengthen Mugabe's position in Africa.
Kaima, Zimbabwean in UK

From being one of the most prosperous countries, where my family and I resided for 32 years, we had to leave during October 2002. We had a future in Zimbabwe, after having undertaken over 20 years of service in the public transport industry, we had a contribution to make. The future and intimidation is in-human, the trouble that is going to descend on the population is intolerable. Sort Mugabe out before we are faced with mass exodus, and an AIDS infected population the world will not have seen before.
David Howe, UK - Ex Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe does matter to Africa. Until recently, it has been a progressive country, but with the white issue, it is being punished for trying to correct the historical injustices that have been inflicted on not only Zimbabwe but all countries where the whites colonised and are still doing so. I'm strongly in support of my man Mugabe. LONG LIVE MUGABE.
Seka Taha, Uganda

Indeed Zimbabwe's politics has a great impact not only on African but world politics at large. We should remember that whilst most African countries have gained political independence they have not got the chance to claim their economic independence and the path Zimbabwe has taken might have a bearing on future trends in African politics as people will reclaim what they lost during the colonial years.The only way Africa can deal with the Zimbabwean situation is to critically look at the causative issues of the current situation and find an amicable solution and that can not be achieved without the involvement of the colonial master, Great Britain.
Natahn, UK

I think Africa has to deal with Zimbabwe for its people. What has to be dealt with is Mugabe. He has to go, but at the same time a legitimate leader has to evolve from the country. Sadly that is the problem and the people of Zimbabwe are going to have a steep cliff to climb, economically and politically.
Dilip Patel, USA

Zimbabwe matters. Two is issues are mixed up here. One, election fraud. Two, land issues. Mugabe is wrong about the first, so are many other African leaders who are in power by the same means. Mugabe will find support from such "colleagues". On the second issue, Mugabe is right and Britain is on the other side. Why should a minority continue to retain such vast amounts of land which they had acquired wrongly in the past.
Andrew Okello, Iraq (Sulaimaniyah, Kurdistan Iraq)

It is even stupid to ask such a question. Africa is made of many countries, one of them is Zimbabwe so it matters a lot. People should not use the suffering of the Zimbabwean masses to advance their racist remarks. It seems everybody has forgotten that the main issue in Zimbabwe is the land which was first stolen by whites. The hunger or suffering being experienced now is a result of resistance by the racist white countries in the world. They should not hide behind democracy. The truth is they are not worried about my grandmother in Chipinge dying of hunger but are worried by the loss of land suffered by their kith and kin.
Tatenda, South Africa

By suspending Zimbabwe, the first world countries have effectively wiped their hands of having to make an effort to put an end to the outrages. They gave President Mugabe a free reign to do as he and his cronies wanted without having an effective body to make such actions accountable. Stop tiptoeing around the issue, put zimbabwe back into the commonwealth and make him accountable, enforce it and put an end to the turning a blind eye!!
Charles Skipwith, formerly Zimbabwe, now UK

Zimbabwe MUST matter to Africa. In the 1980's Zimbabwe was a role model for other African countries and a country that could do little or no wrong in the eyes of the Western world. Zimbabwe MUST matter to Africa if for no other reason but to serve as an example of how a nation can move from being the darling of the IMF, the World Bank and the Commonwealth, to say nothing of SADC and the AU, to a pariah state that now ranks with the likes of Sudan, Iran, Cuba and North Korea. The responsibility for this rests firmly on the shoulders of one man, Robert Mugabe, once viewed as one of Africa's finest statesmen and now seen for what he is, a megalomaniac old man clinging to power by every means possible. Cry my beloved country and cry my beloved Africa.
Peter Stork, USA (ex-Zimbabwe)

Zimbabwe is one of Africa's greatest nations and has a brave leadership, both in the ruling party and the opposition. There is no Africa without Zimbabwe so it's not debatable that it matters significantly to Africa. The only problem seems to be that there is too much outside interference in Zimbabwe's affairs especially from London and Washington. Africa should learn from the Zimbabwe experience that not all from the West is good and colonialism did not die with independence.
Johnson, Kenya

Zimbabwe is a marker on Africa's road to democracy and a true fulfilment of the dreams of all those who fought for liberation across the continent. The response of African leaders to Zimbabwe says more about their position along this road than about their views on Mugabe. Africa WILL succeed, in spite of it's leaders.
Seluleko Mdlalose, Eire

The decisions African governments make now on how to treat Zimbabwe will affect how far Africa develops over the next 50 years. They have their future in their own hands.
Rob, Ex-Zim, now UK

Once land reforms start benefitting the ordinary Zimbabwean citizen, Africa and its people will be taken by storm with land reforms becoming a common policy for Africa. A lot of people do not understand the land hunger in Africa. A lot of African citizens remain poor because they do not have the resources to compete in a free market economy.
Wilberforce Majaji, Zimbabwe, USA

Zimbabwe matters to the entire world, but the rigid policies taken by President Mugabe is what the whole world is agaist. What will Mugabe gain in destroying his country and his people. President Mugabe please think of the people in your country and recall that all what we do on earth is vanity so gain your victory in heaven.
Speedo Brooks, Freetown,Sierra Leone

I am very much aganist isolation and sanctions. History has proven that presidents will still live lavishly while the citizens loose everything(eg,Iraq and Cuba). I was moved to tears when I read how Zimbabweans are treated in Botswana and South Africa since they are seen as a nuisance yet its not entirely their fault. They can't find work back at home.
Felix , USA

Whatever Mugabe's faults, his policy framework is a testcase. It is interesting that everyone bangs on about the mismanagement and lack of democracy in Zim. These problems are rampant if not endemic in most of Africa, including some countries which are present at CHOGM. It is interesting that Great Britain took centuries to develop parliamentary democracy and yet they are expecting countries which are less than 25 years old to operate within a perfect democratic model. Actions and comments by the Zambian and Malawian leaders should be applauded because silence from African leaders will simply lead to modern day slavery and 21st century colonialism through western mechanisms such as the World Bank, the IMF and WTO. Africa should stand against violence and corruption but should not be coerced into neglecting the brotherhood and solidarity that characterised our collective and ongoing fight for freedom and unity.
Zvirimudendere, UK

I must say that the interest which the Commonwealth has taken in Zimbabwe is not primarily because the Commonwealth is interested in the life of the people in Zimbabwe, but because the interest of white people in Zimbabwe is at stake. When Cameroon was admitted into the Commonwealth it was going through the same political upheaval that Zimbabwe is going through today. But Cameroon was admitted in hope that the Commonwealth would help salvage the situation, but to this date, nothing much has changed. I detest Mugabe's politics but I am very disappointed by the selective interest of the commonwealth.
David Tonghou, Cameroon-USA

Zimbabwe never used to import food. Over 60% of foreign currency came from agriculture. Mugabe is now a liability to southern Africa
Artwell Gunzvenzve, England

In dealing with Zimbabwe, all parties need to bear responsibility for their respective roles in bringing us to this point. Britain was to fund resettlement after independence by an agreement reached at Lancaster House. This agreement was never fullfilled. As such, a white minority own 70% of all fertile land to the detriment of a black majority. Other African countries have to take responsibility for tacitly agreeing to the repeated violation of human rights and the basic principles of democracy.
Wangeshi Gatheru, Kenya

Time was, in African politics, when African political leaders knew and understood the difference between the rights and obligations of an elected leader and the inviolable rights and legitimate expectations of the Electorate. But that was a long time ago; that is until 1991 when the good governance principles of the Commonwealth were reaffirmed by way of the Harare Commonwealth Declaration. When Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Governments his generation of African leaders had never made such a public and solemn commitment to good governance. But hardly before the ink was dry, Mugabe was aggressively and shamelessly back to his old ways. Yet we at FreeAfrica believe that imposing a red card against the Mugabe regime is a collective punishment against the people of Zimbabwe. The Commonwealth should employ ingenuity and be a creative force to accommodate the people, instead of adopting a simplistic inhumane cut-and-run strategy of throwing out the baby with the bath water.
Thabo Siziba, Canada

It cannot but be noticed that the western world still want to lord over Africa no matter what. These same countries were silent while others refused to speak against the enslavement that took place in South Africa for so many years. What I think should be done is continous lobby and round table talks till the tunnel brings bright lights
Cristopher, Nigeria

Africa must come together. Zimbabweans have suffered long enough. Wake up and kick the old fool out.
Musa

The Zimbabwe problem is an African problem. Anybody who claims to be African by birth has to live like an African not a Mzungu (whiteman) in Africa.
Joseph Nyamunga

It is time African leaders tell Mugabe to leave office, but the problem is that most African leaders have similar intentions of clinging to power. Rather than pleasing one man called Mugabe, why not see what he is doing to our economies. No foreign investor wants to come to Africa once he hears what Mugabe has done to the minorities there.
Dev, Malawi

Of course Zimbabwe matters to Africans, every country in Africa matters to Africans. Zimbabwe is not demonised by the West because of governance and democracy, the predicament facing Zimbabwe now arose after Mugabe stood up for black Zimbabweans.
Saied, Canada/Somalia




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