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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 March 2007, 16:23 GMT
Africa's media mulls Zimbabwe
African press graphic

BBC Monitoring reviews Africa's media where the UK and US come under fire for apparent inaction over the beating of Zimbabwean opposition activists.

Interestingly, a Zimbabwean state paper urges Mr Mugabe to give opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai free rein to campaign in next year's elections.

Elsewhere in the region, the South African Development Community (Sadc) is censured by the media for its strategy of 'quiet diplomacy' while one sees Zimbabwe's president as suffering from 'paranoia'.

OBI EGBUNA IN ZIMBABWE'S GOVERNMENT HERALD

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's legacy in relation to the African continent will mainly be defined by whether or not he was able to force an illegal racist regime change in Zimbabwe ... [US President George] Bush, is looking for any victory on foreign policy to shift focus away from the Iraq debacle.

Tsvangirai and the MDC are too brainwashed to understand that using civil disobedience tactics when you are financed by the two most violent warmongers on the planet is at best a cheap publicity stunt... This is an attempt by Tsvangirai to politically reinvent himself before Bush and Blair leave office.

AUSTIN EJIET IN UGANDA'S INDEPENDENT DAILY MONITOR

This savage assault on members of the MDC ... has stung the British government into a fresh frenzy of activity to try and call Mugabe to order... Britain lost the moral authority to pontificate over Zimbabwe's affairs when she refused to forcibly depose [former Prime Minister] Ian Smith...but left Mugabe and his guerrillas to force the rebel to the negotiating table.

An African tyrant can massacre his people without hindrance so long as that leader does not tamper with British economic interests or touch a white British subject. The struggle is not about Morgan Tsvangirai or democracy. It is about the farms seized from white farmers and the violence visited on some of them.

MWANA WEVHU IN ZIMBABWE'S GOVERNMENT HERALD

Now that the elections are going to be held in 2008 as per the opposition's wish ... we urge the president to intervene and call off the ban on rallies. We must give a fool a rope long enough to hang himself. We want everyone to hear Tsvangirai calling for the violent ouster of a democratically elected government. Let us hear him say his rubbish on television for everyone to see.

SOUTH AFRICA'S INDEPENDENT CAPE ARGUS

He [Mugabe] warns... that opposition party members are responsible for acts of terrorism across the country and that those who misbehave must expect to be 'bashed up'. Where are the acts of terror he is shoring up his country against? ... Mugabe's brutally suppressed opponents are hardly beating at the gate.

MARY REVESAI IN ZIMBABWE'S INDEPENDENT ONLINE NEWZIMBABWE

Mugabe is so obsessed with exhibiting bravado that his regime revels in flaunting its own misdeeds and then becomes livid when they are roundly condemned... The barbaric acts being perpetrated against innocent citizens are motivated by Mugabe's paranoia, which has been exacerbated by his troubles within the ruling party itself.

MICHAEL DINGAKE IN BOTSWANA'S INDEPENDENT MMEGI

When the Sadc leaders wash their hands of the Zimbabwean situation and say it is for the Zimbabweans to handle alone, do they know that... Zimbabweans may feel, without external support, they are now left with the option of the last resort - violence, only? ... These shamefaced leaders are gambling with political tranquillity in the region.

ALLISTER SPARKS IN SOUTH AFRICA'S INDEPENDENT CAPE TIMES

A kind of disaster fatigue has set in here. With the Sadc leaders and especially our own president, Thabo Mbeki, either unwilling or unable to do anything about Robert Mugabe's despotism, and Zimbabweans themselves lacking the means to oust him, many concerned South Africans have turned away ... in despair and written Zimbabwe off as a lost cause.

The real problem with quiet diplomacy is not so much that it is ineffective but that its quietness enables Mugabe to portray himself as ... a leader engaged in an honourable struggle against a vindictive 'neo-colonialist' West ...

CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO IN UGANDA'S INDEPENDENT DAILY MONITOR

What is happening in Zimbabwe and Uganda reminds us that while the reforms of the last 20 years have resulted in important political changes in Africa, they are not deep enough and can easily unravel.

R ELDER IN SOUTH AFRICA'S INDEPENDENT STAR

On seeing the photographs of the brutalized Morgan Tsvangirai in the media... I had a feeling of deja vu. Does the name Steve Biko ring a bell?

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.




SEE ALSO
Country profile: Zimbabwe
19 Jan 07 |  Country profiles

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