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Tuesday, 2 April, 2002, 08:33 GMT 09:33 UK
Was the Commonwealth right to suspend Zimbabwe?
Zimbabwe has been suspended from the Commonwealth for a year with immediate effect.

The decision was taken by the Commonwealth "troika" which was mandated to review the presidential elections in Zimbabwe.

Leaders of Australia, Nigeria and South Africa agreed with Commonwealth observers that the campaign had been marred by violence and intimidation.

The poll was also criticized by the USA, the European Union and the UK.

Was the Commonwealth right to suspend Zimbabwe? What difference will this decision make?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

I feel it's very wrong to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth

Barrats, India/UK
I feel it's very wrong to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth. I think the very reason behind this is that president Mugabe won the election which barred the chances of UK, USA and Western European countries to set up a puppet government and get all their wishes done. The winning of Mugabe has given some chance to breath, struggle and strive for their own good
Barrats, India/UK

I believe that all the people in the country will suffer. The poor will suffer the most.

The Commonwealth is wasting its time. Mugabe has no intent of giving up power. By hook or by crook, he will stay in power.
Alan Noma, Canada

Like most other issues around the world, suspending Zimbabwe does not solve the root cause of the matter - which is how can the real owners of the land in Zimbabwe be given back their land
Oladimeji, Nigeria

The Commonwealth is getting a little ahead of itself if it thinks suspension will achieve much - it's a toothless organisation with no particular relevance, and certainly with very little resolve. Don McKinnon and his crowd could've and should've acted far more decisively in highlighting to the world the desperate state of Zimbabwe before 2000's general election. It may have made a difference back then.
Darren Oldfield, UK

This is an incredible tragedy brought on by an old man desperately trying to keep himself in power

Richard Wisecarver, Alaska
I think that most of the news and commentary miss the point. Mugabe has damaged the country in several horrible ways. He has laid the foundation for a long term civil war, and he has cut off all hope of real economic progress. No one in his right mind would invest a dime in the country. He has guaranteed that any successful investment would be ceased as a matter of course with the justification of racial revenge. I cannot picture sane investor from any part of the world, of any race throwing good money after bad. There were many ways to put these contested lands back into the hands of the black majority. This was the worst possible choice. Breaking commercial farms into subsistence farms is a guarantee of continuing poverty for those who take up those lands. It takes away the homes and jobs of farm workers who live on the land already and it destroys a major source of export income that Zimbabwe needs. This is not to mention the food that they produce for the nation. Zimbabwe cannot afford to import food that it should produce. This is an incredible tragedy brought on by an old man desperately trying to keep himself in power at all costs. I will predict that many thousands will die as a result of the impending civil war, economic chaos and the flight of world capital. Many third world countries struggle just to survive, while others like Zimbabwe and Palestine rush toward chaos and horror with eyes wide open.
Richard Wisecarver, Wasilla, Alaska

The suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for Mugabe's hostilities, intimidation and elimination of civilian lives for his political survival is genuine and applauded. Even to impose economic sanction wouldn't be a bad idea to get Mugabe to feel the pinch of his actions and draconian rule but it is only the ordinary citizens who will suffer the most.
Dale, UK

That was the most sensible thing for the commonwealth to do. Though too late. It is surprising how some non Zimbabweans glorify Mugabe because of their rabid hatred for the west. Please fight your own wars with the colonialists and stop using Zimbabweans. The majority of the people who are being killed, maimed and displaced in Zimbabwe are blacks and not white farmers. The man does not like opposition and that is the reason for all our suffering. I wish you could have a page for Zimbabweans only and I tell you, you will be surprised what people will write.
Lazarus, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth is too little too late. The people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough and for a long time under this despotic ruler. Suspension at this stage will hardly even scratch the surface in changing that. As ordinary Zimbabweans, we feel betrayed in a way, by the world and anyone who is in a position to help us out of this. We want to be free. The electoral process seemed to have failed us yet again because it can be rigged. We have never known good governance. Could somebody out there please help!
VM, Zimbabwe

Why does the West feel that sanctions are the panacea in resolving the many problems in Africa?

Deckey Boy, Liberia
Why does the West feel that sanctions are the panacea in resolving the many problems in Africa? Sanctions have rather proven counterproductive as seen in Libya, Liberia, Sudan etc. They only the very people that are to be protected and drag the country into deeper destitution. Any sober-minded person can see that the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe are far from what transpired during the election. Great Britain is only using this election issue as a stepping stone to get back at Mugabe for his drastic land reform - all at the expense of poor Zimbabweans. My fellow Africans when will we ever see the light?
Deckey Boy, Liberia

I think Zimbabwe should not have been suspended from the Commonwealth, and the western world is interested in this matter only because of the white farmers in the country. There have been many African elections like this one, but no western politician ever said anything about it. And also, let's look at George Bush's own election, as there are lots of questions to be asked about it.
Smith, England

The West seems to care more for the white farmers, and possibly even their dogs, than it does about the rest of black Africa

Yanni Mbandi, USA - Cameroon
The barbarism of Dr Mugabe's followers appals me. But a sense of justice constrains me from condemning it without also identifying its roots - Britain's own past treacheries. The West seems to care more for the white farmers, and possibly even their dogs, than it does about the rest of black Africa. Europeans and especially British are taking this election seriously because of the white farmers. If Britain is very serious about democracy in Africa, it should be at the front at all times and not only in one special area. There was little outcry when Guinea held a referendum last year that paved the way for President Lansana Conte, a key Western ally in the region, to rule for the duration of his life. It is scandalous and hypocritical that there should be such obvious double standards, and we have to ask ourselves why that should be. You will find answers in the reasons why Africans were enslaved and colonized.
Yanni Mbandi, USA - Cameroon

The Commonwealth was wrong to suspend Zimbabwe because it means nothing at this stage. The main difference now will be that the Commonwealth as such lost the right to express any opinion or influence the situation in Zimbabwe. Mugabe cannot care less if he going to receive the offer of rejoining the club in a year or not. This on the other hand, will give him even more space to continue his involvement in DRC and sell out the country to Libyan and other governments interested in territorial or mineral riches. The only right solution in this situation is that Mbeki and other SADC leaders wake up and realise that Mugabe means trouble. What do you do with a brother who hurts the family? You forgive him but you don't let him hurt the family any more.
Tsitsi, Zim & UK

The Commonwealth has carried out it's obligation to improve the human rights and democratic rights of the people of Zimbabwe. The rights of all Zimbabweans are at stake here, not just a tribe, a race, a political party! Land issues are for the people of Zimbabwe to decide democratically on, not to satisfy any other country.
Alec, UK

We have to be happy because the colonial masters are realising that their time is up!

Vusumzi Mpongo, South Africa
The Commonwealth suspends Zimbabwe... So what? Africans have to be happy about this. We have to be happy because the colonial masters are realising that their time is up! The Commonwealth is a mechanism to monitor Africans - a perpetuation of Colonialism, and thus a tool for further oppression and suppression. Mugabe is giving Africans a message: It is time we stood against oppression in all forms. We must always refer to history. It happened in the Congo, and imperialism consumed Lumumba. Puppets of imperialism entrapped, at their masters' orders, and killed Lumumba. Why? Because he had vowed to stand firm against Colonialism. It is time for African Renaissance, and that Renaissance must start with Africans seeking and getting their independence.
Vusumzi Mpongo, South Africa

Mugabe and his cronies still have food on their tables while most of our relatives back home are starving. It is about time some military or forceful means were used to rid the country of this tyrant, before he fools another strong opposition into forming a government of national unity!
Charles Bongani, UK

Yes sanctions were rightly imposed on Zimbabwe, but its too little, too late. They should have acted long ago, without giving the so-called hierarchy notice that it was going to happen. Those of you who have not seen what has come of Zimbabwe in the last few years should not even have the nerve to air your arrogant remarks, without knowing the extent to which people are suffering, and the difficulties the average families have to survive. Economic, and regional ruin is what lies ahead if something is not done and done quick. ZANU PF made a mockery out of democracy. I'd rather the west interfere.
Once proud Zimbabwean, UK

Mugabe's behaviour towards his people has been far worse that the Smith regime's before him

MDY, An African in UK
Mugabe's behaviour towards his people has been far worse that the Smith regime's before him. He should be heavily sanctioned by all freedom loving people around the world for his treatment of the Matebele, his own people, and his violation of the institution of democracy. Zimbabwe needs liberation.
MDY, An African in UK

I strongly feel that the Commonwealth should not have suspended Zimbabwe. This only will help worsen the already ailing and staggering economic situation in the country. Rather it should have taken particular measures against specific individuals which it claims are violating human rights. My question is: Who is a more serious human rights abuser, one who sponsors all these political clashes, wars and genocides or one who strives to get back what has been unlawfully taken away from him, that is the land itself in this case? Let Zimbabweans solve their domestic disputes alone.
N. Mutoworera, Zimbabwe

Excellent move, although I am positive it will not affect Mugabe! He wants the land for his 'people' but what have they done with the land? They are incapable of thinking for themselves to farm grain and provide for their people. Independence was won in 1980 and yet the black man has not risen up and shown the world what he can do with the country.
C Alexander, South African

I never knew that the Commonwealth still existed!

Anock Banda, Proud African
I never knew that the Commonwealth still existed! Well pretty much leaves Blair thinking he had the last laugh. Other than that you can't do anything about adding sanctions, and if you do then it just states that the West cares less about unimportant countries, for example Zambia.
Anock Banda, Proud African

I do not care what sanctions the West imposes on us, as long as we can get back our land, have somewhere to live on and grow our own food. Soon the West will be a laughing stock for Africa.
Luke, Zimbabwe

I really don't know what the International community gains from sanctions against the so-called dictators. The suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth would not yield a better life for Zimbabweans, but it will bring about great suffering and bitterness among politicians. I don't support unnecessary interference of the West into African politics. However, the suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth should be a lesson to many African politicians, that if they think African politics should be left to Africans, they should learn to protect and respect the rights of all citizens in the respective countries.
Mwape.W, Zambia

Don't you realise that this illegitimate government will never respect the people who refuse him to power?

Gid, Zimbabwe
Yes, it was a good move but do you know who is suffering and how? It is the MDC supporters, its leaders and anyone suspected to be MDC-affiliated. ZANU PF knows that it does no longer have any mandate to rule the country from the people. It's beating up and killing people-including the rural folks which have voted him to power. Is there a way of pressing for holding fresh elections? Don't you realise that this illegitimate government will never respect the people who refuse him to power?
Gid, Zimbabwe

All wrong by all means. Mugabe does not rule Zimbabwe from common what? Neither does he from Britain nor USA. The suspension is like a dog licking a bone. Address the land issue in a civilised way. Let's prove that our democratic philosophy holds globally. Work on the core issues and success is our destiny by all routes.
Sirengo, Kenya

A waste of time! Mugabe doesn't care about the council as he knows very well that Zimbabwe is still a Commonwealth member. Council is just a tea and coffee club and Mugabe can always make his own. Illusion created by media that suspension of Zimbabwe from the Council is a big deal is not helping opposition either. Now, they will be blamed for all the hardships.
P D Nkwera, RSA

The suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth is not just in any way

Tropical Lion
The suspension of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth is not just in any way. It only shows how the organisation is being dictated or inluenced by colonial ambitions and greed of former colonizer, the UK which still wants to impose its colonial empire of ideas and preaches propagandistic doctrines against any former colony that seems too independent in decision making. So that is why the London Mafias have been very busy in distorting the facts and misleading the whole world in issues regarding Harare. Though suspended, Zimbabwe or Mugabe would not be deterred from land issue and any other things that are of great interest to the UK.
Tropical Lion

I agree with many of the comments that have been made that this suspension, while a step in the right direction, will accomplish basically nothing. Mugabe is a dictator who promotes injustice and corruption, keeping his own skin intact by stirring up his peoples' hatred against the "evil white imperialists." If it weren't for the millions of innocents it would hurt, it might be interesting to give these demagogues what they want and simply end all Western involvement in their countries - no aid, no development help, no nothing. I wonder how long their regimes would last then.
Cody, USA

Why has it taken the enlightened West so long to discover that Mugabe was not the liberationist hero that Britain had previously and for so long portrayed him as being?

John GS, Australia
The former golden-boy of the Commonwealth, Mugabe has presided over the country for nearly 22 years. He has done so with the support of the entire ZANU-PF party apparatus and more importantly, with valuable and abundant foreign aid from countries like Britain, Canada, Australia, the United States. Why has it taken the enlightened West so long to discover that Mugabe was not the liberationist hero that Britain had previously and for so long portrayed him as being? The story does not add up. Tony Blair's spin-doctors and propagandists won't be able to cover up the reality of the economic and political situation in Southern Africa indefinitely.
John GS, Australia

When two elephants fight its the grass that suffers, bear this in mind.
Lineo, Lesotho

Given the way Mugabe and ZANU-PF behaved in the two years of their election campaign (deaths, torture, beatings, 're-education' camps) and now the brutal youth militia acted, it would have been criminal for the Commonwealth to pretend that politics continues as normal in Zimbabwe - so yes, it was right to suspend Mugabe. But what else? How can the people of Zimbabwe be helped to overcome their political elite?
Ian Love, Zimbabwe

Better late than never.
James Castro, USA

Finally some action against a tyrant and his cronies who are a disgrace to their country, to Africa, to the world, and to the human race. One day, they will be held accountable for the blood they have caused to be spilled, the dreadful damage they have caused to the innocents of their own country.
Clarke Slatter, USA

Let us deal with our leaders ourselves

Vicky K, Zimbabwe
No it was not the right thing. Mugabe may have wronged along the way but why are people not addressing what he is saying. The land was grabbed from Zimbabweans without any compensation. It's not a matter of Mugabe or Tsvangirai. I know that even if we put Tsvangirai in power he is also going to go through a lot of obstacles to get Zimbabweans land.

If you come to Zimbabwe we black people are still living in the western suburbs where fumes from industries blow and all the sewage flows. In the rural areas we are living in rocky areas. It easy for you guys in the West to call for sanctions because it is your weapon. You have the financial might - you have the control. Everyone is talking about flaws. What was flawed?

You guys finance the wars in Africa. How can a small country like Rwanda finance a war for 4 years? How does UNITA survive financially? I hope one day that when making your decisions you will not be racially minded. Yours is a global dictatorship. Let us deal with our leaders ourselves.
Vicky K, Zimbabwe

The very least that the Commonwealth should have done was to suspend Zimbabwe. This should have been done a long time ago, after the travesty of the previous general election. I've spent many years going back and forth to Zimbabwe, my wife is a Shona woman, and in the twelve years since I first went there, I've seen the country go from a potential economic power house to the economic disaster it has become today.

As the former colonial rulers, the UK has a special responsibility to Zimbabwe, and it's a responsibility we've been content to abrogate for far too long; the result of which is that we, and the rest of the western nations will be forced through simple humanitarian demands, to support the people, while their government goes on stealing from everyone it can, while it continues to laugh up it's sleeve at us as it goes about the daily task of oppressing the rights of its population and intimidating anyone who dares to stand in opposition.
R P, England

Definitely, NOT. You should realise, this a third world country which is relatively poor in education and economy. Your harsh action will only affect the ordinary people and certainly not the leaders. You should advise Mugabe to do it better in future and rectify the weaknesses. Warn them of these weakness and against doing it in the future. This action can be considered as a revenge as a result of Mugabe's policy towards white people. I do not agree with his policy but suspension is not the answer. Be objective please.
Wan Ashri, Malaysia

That was long overdue. Zimbabwe should have been suspended from the Commonwealth 20 years with Mugabe's treatment of the Matebele people. Thanks Commonwealth for acting but we still need more help. Never have the black and white Zimbabweans united so much to deal with a rogue leader who plays the race card to remain in power. The Zimbabwean issue is not about land, race or re-colonisation it is about a leader who has plundered his people and is afraid of leaving power for fear of being made to account for his record. The people have suffered and we are glad that the wimp-like Mbeki and Obasanjo are now acting against Mugabe. Thank you Commonwealth but where are you SADC and OAU?
S Dube, Zimbabwe

Only the misguided, blind and blinkered people do favour West interference in Zimbabwe. Why notice a stick in Mugabe's eye when not seeing the logs in Commonwealth and West's eyes? How do you define a dictator? If Mugabe is one, then the world is full of them, with the worst of dictators found in the West.
Nicholas M. Ngoma, Zimbabwe

I hope what has happened to Zimbabwe is a signal to all Commonwealth countries whose leaders think they can govern their countries with no regard for human dignity. Through this action the Commonwealth has shown its determination to uphold democracy, the rule of law and human rights. Congratulations!
Mart, Cameroon / USA

Tell us please what Zimbabwe will lose as a result of this decision?
Abdullah, Malaysia

It uncovered the hypocrisy of the Commonwealth as an institution

Tope Agboola, Nigeria
To question one: it's a yes for a right suspension, because Mugabe really oppressed his own people. To question two: it will make one bad difference on the continent as it uncovered the hypocrisy of the Commonwealth as an institution. That is without regard to who are members of the tripartite committee that took the suspension decision or on what basis it was taken. It was all along "right" not to worry if the oppressive Mugabe and his officials kept huge dollar accounts in Swiss, British or US Banks. Suddenly we begin to hear what we didn't know, that Mugabe and his officials even had foreign bank accounts and assets, far in excess of their official entitlements. Suddenly, it became "wrong" not to freeze this wealth which the West has long closed eyes to. God bless the Zimbabwe crisis for revealing a new philosophy: you can have both a friend and a foe in one personality. Could I point out that the so-called credibility of the Commonwealth does not fly in the face of a cold feet concerning speaking in clear policy stance against commonwealth nations that keep the ill-gotten wealth of African despots. I hope this is not a bitter pill for the commonwealth at this her glorious moment of triumph.
Tope Agboola, Nigeria

The implications on the Southern African region are disastrous. While Mugabe swans around in luxury, his people are starving - they don't have the strength to react as those in the Western world would. 'Power' has gone to Mugabe's head and frankly if Africa wants to remain third world, it's heading the right way by backing this tyrant.
Andrew, South Africa

No, the Commonwealth was not right to suspend Zimbabwe, but it has no effect anyway at this point

Samuel Banks, USA
No, the Commonwealth was not right to suspend Zimbabwe, but it has no effect anyway at this point. Why is it that whenever you have an African nation with a leader that isn't afraid to stand up to European domination and rules, everyone gets so terrified? Right or wrong, African nations need to become independent and bond together without outside interference, because that's all Europeans ever do in these types of situations is interfere and manipulate who they want in power. I'd like to see all African countries free from European intervention, but then, if that were to come to fruition, Africa would be the new world's terrorist haven, not the Middle East.
Samuel Banks, USA

The action taken by the Commonwealth will have very little impact. Hit Mugabe where it will hurt him most, freeze all of his personal bank accounts and assets across Europe and deposit these monies into a fund for the future re-investment of a new Zimbabwe.
Bairbre Ni Breatnach, Republic of Ireland

I've been in Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Suspension is not enough. It's a joke. As noted by several, Mugabe could care less. It's time the attempt to portray Mr. Mugabe as someone who is righting the injustices black Africans experienced at the hands of European colonialist stop. Mugabe and his thugs are criminals. His only interest is himself. He is righting no wrongs. He is causing many. Everyone is so afraid of appearing to favour white folks that no one is willing to call a crooked black man crooked. I don't care what colour Mugabe is, he is a crook. Bad for Zimbabwe and bad for Africa. EU sanctions, ha. He is laughing all the way to the bank. Take steps to remove him otherwise its all a waste of time and a joke. I can only imagine what the world's out cry would be if a white majority government was killing black farmers and taking away black farmers farms and land!
Jim Middleton, America

Why all this fuss about Zimbabwe, all the extreme propaganda etc? I have to agree Mugabe must go but all the British are worried about is the 4000 white farmers who own 80% of Zimbabwe's fertile land! Hundreds have died in Africa, but they don't make it to the headlines, but one farmer.... it's a Newsflash!
Teddy, UK

I cannot say that there is absolute democracy in that country, but that they could at least vote is already great achievement for democracy

Peter Andersson, Sweden
I have been in Zimbabwe two years ago. I cannot say that there is absolute democracy in that country, but that they could at least vote is already great achievement for democracy. What is saddening is that they are not allowed to cultivate it and bring democracy to maturity by their own way. The magnitude of the interference of the "west" in a sovereign county like Zimbabwe is frightening. Not only for Zimbabweans but even for us "westerners". For me it seems that we are determined to dictate in every nations internal affairs as long as it fits our interest. This can cause a lot of damage to us in the long run. The young people in Africa are very much aware of our behaviour that you can no more play tricky games with their integrity. All the old and new clubs of the "west" is only designed to dictate Africans. Please lets leave them alone and they can make it by themselves.
Peter Andersson, Sweden

Mugabe is arrogant, ruthless and cunning. Yes they were dead right to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth if only the aim is to show Mugabe that he is now isolated. It would have been different had the South African observer team told the truth about the election and openly condemned all the irregularities. I wish they knew that by just supporting Mugabe because he is an African brother they signed the death warrants for thousands of Zimbabweans. Maybe they feel they would face the same when it is their turn to cheat in an election. Shame on them!
Nhamu Chanandareka, Zimbabwe

Shame to Mugabe, shame to the EU community, shame to the Commonweath. For the past 22 years Mugabe couldn't carry on the land reform because he was your puppet. Afflicting with you now, you speak about the rule of law and human rights. Let's speak about human right concerning Middle East and Australia. Let's speak about human right and democracy to the FMI. Let's speak about human right, the rule of law and democracy to your other AFRICAN puppets who are still dictators and you are still supporting them. Shame to all of you.
Ngoran, Brazil/Cameroon

It seems to me to be a token 'slap on the wrist'!

Connie Wessels, UK
If, as has been mentioned many times on this page, the Commonwealth is a largely ineffective and weak organisation, what good does it do to suspend Zimbabwe from it? It seems to me to be a token 'slap on the wrist'!
Connie Wessels, UK

Suspension from the commonwealth is of little consequence to Mugabe. That two African leaders were involved in this decision (albeit under duress) has more significance. It was obvious from the outset that the future of Southern Africa, and the NEGARD initiative, depended upon the outcome of the situation in Zimbabwe. The west has largely fallen for Mugabe's own propaganda, and emphasises the land question, and the black/white question. Most of Mugabe's actions were in pursuit of his wish to retain control of ZANU-PF - many people within this party supported the idea of ousting Mugabe before the general elections two years ago. They were effectively silenced. Now, so too, have the majority of Zimbabweans, both rural and urban. Mugabe must be removed by force - peacekeeping troops must be sent now - the alternative may be yet another protracted civil war.
Matabele, Zimbabwe

Richard Nwankwo of Nigeria writes in this column that he wants the commonwealth and EU to keep out of Africa's political processes. Great idea except, unfortunately, the Africans won't let us! Every time there's a food/medical/war crisis in Africa, the ex-colonial powers are expected to bail in with food (Ethiopia), medical supplies and doctors (everywhere in Africa), and guns and soldiers (Sierra Leone - who, apparently, would like us to recolonise the place) - the money for all of which comes out of the nasty ex-colonials pockets! Doubtless, unless Mugabe dies or is shot (hopefully the latter), we will be called upon to do all the above yet again! You can't have it both ways, Mr Nwankwo!
Sue Hudson, London, UK

Sanctions was a step in the right direction

Scott, South African in UK
Sanctions was a step in the right direction, the only thing that confuses me, is how come they can still enter the commonwealth games that is close by, and when the situation was reversed, South Africa was banned from all games. It seems the commonwealth make up their own rules as they go along.
Scott, South African in UK

I think people need to separate rhetoric from the facts. Suspending Mugabe from the Commonwealth is meaningless. Mugabe is a despot of little to no redeeming qualities. Zimbabwe's problems, and those of Africa as a whole, will not end with the removal of the Mugabes of Africa. More dictators will follow in their paths. Don't forget that these people have their deputies with much to lose from leaving power. I don't know where Africa would be without colonisation, though I think that the assumption that it would be nowhere demonstrates the kind of arrogance that people like Mugabe use to their benefit. Africa's problems will eventually have to be solved by Africans. The idea of a few thousand people owning a third of a country's land is repugnant, regardless of whether those people are white or black. There are those that say that these white farmers are responsible for most of Zimbabwe's foreign exchange, and that is true. But what do you expect when they own so much land?
James, US

No I do not think this will have any effect on what this country is experiencing. It will only increase his hatred for the remaining whites and first world governments. You need to realise how this man has such a hatred for non-Africans in the true sense.

Does the Commonwealth really think that it is going to affect Mugabe?

Martin Leahy, Zimbabwe (UK)
Suspending Zimbabwe was the right thing to do. But does the Commonwealth really think that it is going to affect Mugabe? If they do then they are as foolish as the people who voted for Mugabe. He doesn't care about anything; all he cares about is his skin. Sanctions are not going to stop his youths form killing people like Terry Ford, 53, a farmer or like Ernest Gatsi, 34, an MDC supporter. These two are the most recent out of the hundreds that are dead. How many more of our friends and family are we going to let him and his cronies murder and beat?
Martin Leahy, Zimbabwe (UK)

There are so many dictators in Commonwealth that Mugabe looks like a saint.
Mike Aziz, Vancouver, Canada

Zimbabwe continues to be a lesson for all the free world. Legal plunder is still the order of the day and civil unrest is met with death or imprisonment. I suggest the free world just take notes and watch while this whole situation self-destructs. Once this happens, then civilized people can attempt to reconstruct a society that enforces individual rights and property rights.
James Gammon, USA

Suspending is a right step but more needs to be done to help the people

Taco, Netherlands
Suspending is a right step but more needs to be done to help the people. Meanwhile Mugabe is having his way, using his youth brigade and so-called vets to do the dirty work. Time to really interfere I would say! Or, do we wait till Mugabe (again) has cleaned out his opponents like he did in Matabeleland years ago.
Taco, Netherlands

Banning Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth means nothing to Mugabe. As long has he is one of the wealthiest dictators around, and his wife can shop at Harrods, what does he care? I think the best move would be to put him in a cell in The Hague. I'm sure he has a lot to talk to Milosevic about.
Andrew lees, UK

The suspension of Zimbabwe is just another arrogant move to meddle in African affairs.
Ahmed Mussa, Sweden

Very amusing reading, all the comments about the terrible things the colonials did. I would be fascinated to see where ex-colonies would be today had they not been colonised. Come on - how long are the Mugabes of the world going to keep blaming the state of their countries on 'white imperialism'? You've had plenty of time to sort yourselves out but instead have almost without exception allowed corruption to drive your countries into the ground. The colonials may have done some bad things, but you are not helping yourself or Zimbabwe, Mr Mugabe.
Matt, UK, ex Kenya

I think the Commonwealth took the right decision (about the only time it's ever done anything useful!)

Sue Hudson, London, UK
I think the Commonwealth took the right decision (about the only time it's ever done anything useful!). Pity no-one has suspended his overseas bank accounts... However, Mugabe's getting old, he'll be in his 80s when the next elections come round, once rich Zimbabwe will be poverty-stricken, its beautiful fertile lands barren because no-one will be left who knows how to farm them, its economic infrastructure will be non-existent because tourists won't visit and no-one will risk investing money in the country. I guess it's just a toss-up between whether old age or a bullet gets to Mugabe first! Whatever happens, you can only keep a people oppressed, starving, and in poverty for so long. Hopefully the Zimbabweans will rise up sooner rather than later, and Zimbabwe can once again take its rightful place in the world.
Sue Hudson, London, UK

Mugabe should be sitting next to Milosevic in the court at The Hague being tried for mass murder.
Les, Scotland

The decision to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth is welcomed and long overdue. If the election was neither free nor fair, then the present government of Mugabe should not be recognised at all. The EU should withdraw all its ambassadors from country so should the US and all Commonwealth partners as a legitimate sign protest. Mugabe needs to feel the pinch because at the moment the only thing that will make him see sense is death. He wants to take the country down with him. But because of the blatant and hypocritical double standards of the West when it comes to these critical issues, I don't see anyone making such a bold move. There should one rule, for ALL, not for some.
Victor Kaitell, UK

Zimbabwe has been hurt more by the division between black and white than by Mugabe

Joseph Chifamba, Zimbabwe
No. Zimbabwe has been hurt more by the division between black and white than by Mugabe. He is only speaking on behalf of the downtrodden oppressed Zimbabweans, the peasants who agree that the land belongs to them and who are too poor to even contribute their views in this forum.
Joseph Chifamba, Zimbabwe

Well congrats to presidents Mbeki and Obasanjo for taking this action. It is a pity; this was not done before the election. Now is the time to put mass pressure on the Mugabe regime. This will certainly work. The international community, must isolate Zimbabwe, until ZANU PF has no choice but to call new elections. The only way forward for Zimbabwe is a complete change in government. Change is always difficult initially, but it will benefit Zimbabwe fully. South Africa was isolated in such a way until the apartheid regime capitulated. The people of Zimbabwe need to be free. The struggle is now against Mugabe and his illegal government.
Rouan, UK

Yes. I think it was right to suspend Zimbabwe because it shows just how fickle the presence of the Commonwealth is. It is a relic of Colonialism and at a time like this with the "white" powers against Mugabe and the African powers against or neutral because of fear of retribution in the form of withdrawn financial aid it just exposes what principles the Commonwealth was built on.
Kottey, UK

I think the fact that the Swiss Banks have frozen Mugabe's offshore bank accounts will have more effect that the suspension from the Common Wealth.
Gretl Coudrille, UK

The next action should be banning Robert Mugabe, his immediate family members and government officials, from entering any Commonwealth country

Jacob Babarinde, Nigerian, in the UK
The next action should be banning Robert Mugabe, his immediate family members and government officials, from entering any Commonwealth country until he bows out of power. Alternatively, he could be given the latitude to form a Government of Unity with the Opposition. The law-abiding people of Zimbabwe have had enough of this power hungry man who should not be allowed to impoverish the poor any further.
Jacob Babarinde, Nigerian, in the UK

Absolutely! President Mugabe is a disgrace to forward looking Africans. Of course opportunists would look at this is a different light!
John Ekaju, Kenya

Absolutely right! African leaders who claim that the election in Zimbabwe was free and fair only reveal how they themselves come to Power through a similarly "Free and Fair" election. A typical case of scratch my back - I will scratch yours. Dictators have no eyes to recognise true democracy.
Alex Lengeju, Tanzania

"We believe in the liberty of the individual under the law, in equal rights for all citizens regardless of gender, race, colour, creed or political belief, and in the individual's inalienable right to participate by means of free and democratic political processes in framing the society in which he or she lives;" - Harare Declaration, 20 October 1991. If Mugabe can't follow the rules he shouldn't be in the club. The Commonwealth would be betraying its own principles if it suffered Zimbabwe to remain a member.
Steve Sholl, UK

The Mugabe regime is determined to stay in power at all costs, so more action is required against them, The USA must step up its efforts to investigate ZanuPF for its links with the Taleban and the AL-Qaeda and also be dealt with accordingly and that's the only way that can move them.
Obert, Zimbabwe

Suspension from the Commonwealth is a victory for Mugabe

Charles, UK and USA
Suspension from the Commonwealth is a victory for Mugabe. It further distances what he perceives as 'white colonial' intervention from his playpen and lessens our ability to exert influence on the affairs of Zimbabwe. The suspension is morally right but is too late to be positive. We did not tolerate such governments in Kosovo, Bosnia and Afghanistan and actually resorted to military force to replace them. We may now have shut out all other options for Zimbabwe.
Charles, UK and USA

I have a feeling that the Commonwealth suspension of Zimbabwe for a token one year, lacks the will and the "teeth" necessary to bring about change within this Country, especially when they get a pass to participate in the Commonwealth games, and the Australian cricket team agrees to tour Zimbabwe. What is incongruous is the call for urgent financial aid by the EU and Commonwealth members to offset the destruction of the Zimbabwe economy by the target of a Commonwealth suspension! This does not make any sense?
Roger James, USA

The suspension is well come but more must be done to press for fresh elections monitored by Un, EU, Commonwealth and must come to Zimbabwe six months before the elections. Mbeki must be tougher on Mugabe otherwise he will be the next Mugabe in SA.
Courage Zvimba, Zimbabwe

I say forget the Commonwealth, what do we gain being in it in the first place?

Human, Planet Earth
What exactly is going to come out of this? More suffering for the Zimbabwean people and more nonsense from the old man. More should be done! The commonwealth does not mean jack to Zimbabweans except a way to run from Zimbabwe to the UK and Canada without needing a Visa. What else does the commonwealth mean? It's just a symbol of the British Empire which should by now be buried and forgotten about. What is Austrialian PM doing to redress the injustice done to the aborigines when the empire was amassing its common wealth? Suspending Zimbabwe or not, it does not make any difference to Mugabe, his followers and the common man in Zimbabwe. Pity those white "Zimbabweans are crying foul now when one of them is killed, how many people are being killed as whole should be the question, not how many whites? Another symbol of common wealth, for who? For the whites of course. I say forget the Commonwealth, what do we gain being in it in the first place?
Human, Planet Earth

Suspending Zimbabwe was the "easy" thing to do. If the world leaders are really true to their intentions they should now start doing something practical to improve the lives of Zimbabweans (how about arresting Mr M the first time he comes to London to shop or seek medical treatment?).
Nico, Italy

The suspension means nothing much except that Britain will not interfere in our affairs directly. We don't wish to rejoin the club in the future
Mwana Wevhu, Zimbabwe

This is the least that should be done. Targeted sanctions should be next
MB, Australia

The Commonwealth suspension is overdue

Jmadigane, Canada
The conduct of the election was a betrayal of the tenet of "one man one vote" that Mr Mugabe espoused. The Commonwealth suspension is overdue and welcome.
Jmadigane, Canada

Too little too late. It is morally correct but will be completely ineffective.
Valerie, USA

The Commonwealth's done right. Unfortunately it has come a bit too late. Besides, Mugabe doesn't care and true to honesty it was merely a question of time because he knew this was coming. I believe regional leaders could have done more than we've seen, then this suspension would have been a lot meaningful. Coming at this time, to a lot of people, it's merely symbolic if not totally without consequence.
Potlapotla Monagen, Botswana

Finally. This is not a case of white farmer vs. blacks. This is a case of a Leader knowing he is trouble and playing the race card on a minority group to divert attention from the fact his opponents are also black and his government is corrupt. Also sanctions work. They freed South Africa. Unfortunately many African leaders owe Mugabe favours and are reluctant to say anything bad about him.
Sidney Skinner, Barbados

One hundred percent correct to suspend Zimbabwe. It'll be treated with absolute contempt by Mugabe but at least it's a clear message of affirmation for those many Zimbabweans who believe in civil liberty and rule of law and a message to those who don't that their criminal actions are not acceptable. The suspension alone is nowhere near strong enough but it's the first glimmer of hope for Zimbabwe since the elections.
John Hingi, Zimbabwean refugee - UK

What the commonwealth is doing now should have been done two years ago

Dan, Zimbabwe
What the commonwealth is doing now should have been done two years ago and Zimbabwe might have seen free and fair Presidential and Parliament elections. I don't think Mugabe really cares as long as no one is talking about arresting him and putting him to trial the man will not listen to anything.
Dan, Zimbabwe

I think more should be done to stop Mr. Mugabe, if it were white farmers attacking blacks there would be an uproar, racism needs stamping out just as swiftly when it's black on white.
Michael, England

No though I don't support Robert Mugabe. I do not think it was right it is the Zimbabweans who suffer in the long run.
Sandy Dsue, Zimbabwe

All the turmoil is concentrated in urban areas where the support for MDC and ZANU-PF is tilted towards MDC maybe on a 60-40 split. In rural areas, all the support is for the present ruling party. I may not like it and the world may not like it but the Zimbabwe rural majority like it. Since there is a one-man-one vote system in Zimbabwe, it's going to take a while for MDC to gain enough popularity. The Commonwealth should not dictate its wishes to the people of Zimbabwe. It is a sad day in London, UK when the Commonwealth is trying to make their vote count more than the voice of the Zimbabwe people.

All we are saying is we won't call this farce an election, and won't recognise its results

Paul Connor, Canada
I have little patience for those who claim this suspension is unwarranted "meddling" by rich white ex-imperialists. They don't know what meddling is. All we are saying is we won't call this farce an election, and won't recognise its results. Zimbabwe's government can do what it wishes from now on, but few others in the world will bother with them anymore. How, exactly, does this constitute "interference"? Hopefully we Westerners will have the wit to welcome skilled Zimbabweans who likewise abjure Mugabe's kleptocracy. I just wonder why Mugabe would willingly choose to have to watch his back for the rest of his career and life. I'll never understand why such "leaders" needlessly multiply enmities among their own people. Ironically, the very concepts of "President" "Election" "Liberation" and "Nation-state" are WESTERN. I don't see these "anti-imperialists" plumping for "native" alternatives, probably because they'd be less lucrative.
Paul Connor, Canada

Suspending Zimbabwe is not only the right thing to do but also the only thing to do, as far as the Commonwealth is concerned. I am pleased to see that Presidents Mbeki and Obasanjo backed the suspension. It is about time that African Presidents start looking out for the African people and not the African dictators such as Mugabe. Nsengimana
Nsengimana, USA

How can people say the commonwealth is "a forum of Africa's colonial masters and still represents the interest of imperialism" when two of the three leaders making today's decision were African? Yes the Commonwealth was right - I definitely think it's about time a joint international statement of condemnation is made against Mugabe's dictatorship. Unfortunately I agree with others that it will probably have little impact on Mugabe himself, and for the rest of Zimbabwe I pray.
Karen, UK

This is a wise move, as it will allow Zimbabwe and it's original black countrymen to establish nationhood outside the pretext of commonwealth

Jee, India
This is a wise move, as it will allow Zimbabwe and it's original black countrymen to establish nationhood outside the pretext of commonwealth and most importantly Britain and Australia. It should now ask all the supporters and representatives of enemy countries of commonwealth to leave Zimbabwe and establish true Rhodesian Sovereignty.
Jee, India

What a drop encouragement in a desert of desolation this suspension is! Well done you three. I know two of you were dragged by your hair screaming to get to this decision but well done all the same. Mugabe should now realise he is a sad excuse for a leader. If he is sane he will finally notice the only people who can rescue from his phantom fight with Blair are Zimbabweans. Look after us and may be we will let you go along with your delusions. Whatever happened to One Man One Vote
S. Lunga, Zimbabwean in UK

Has any thought been given as to where the rulers of these African states would be if the colonialist had not gone there in the first place?
MB, Canada

The right thing has been done

William B Clarke, UK
The commonwealth represents freedom, democracy and civility - Mugabe has breached this, and to tolerate it would be as good as condemning his behaviour. The right thing has been done.
William B Clarke, UK

The commonwealth played straight into Mugabe's hands again. Free food, thrown out of a commonwealth he hates anyway, and most Zimbabweans have never been told what democracy or the commonwealth really are to start with.
Doug Macrae, South Africa

The violence in Zimbabwe is deplorable. Punitive action needs to be taken directed towards Mugabe and his cronies with minimal suffering for innocent Zimbabwean people. For a change the west seems to be taking positive action in helping Zimbabwe, this should be applauded. I'm worried, though, by the fact that the western media highlights the suffering of white people in Zimbabwe more than that of blacks. We hear of white farmers dying in headlines while the killing of blacks is in small print, if at all mentioned.
Ndumi, UK

Hurray! Not sure that it will have any effect on Mugabe, but at least the world is making a stand. Perhaps the beginning of the end for Mugabe.
AH, Zimbabwean in UK

It's about time the international community did something useful

Peter James, Zimbabwe
It's about time the international community did something useful. It's taken a long long time. If it had been a white person in power, and he was murdering innocent people the world would of acted very quickly. It seems that everyone is a bit scared of Mugabe.
Peter James, Zimbabwe

The Commonwealth's commitment to democracy is now in no doubt, neither is SA's, Nigeria's or Australia's. So far so good. Next step would be for SA to do some vigorous arm-twisting to get RGM to retire as soon as possible. Only then, perhaps, could there be a government of National Unity with even a ghost of a chance of doing some good.
Bill, USA

Absolutely, they were so right to suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth, this should have been done sooner though. They also need to decide what next step they are going to take as this cannot go on, White Farmers (not that it matters what colour they are) being killed because they are on African Land, these white farmers have been there for generations like our blacks, Asians etc have been here for generations and the UK is their country as much as it is ours, we cannot let this go on as it will spread into the other African countries. It is a pity that we cannot work together as all of our blood is the same colour it does not matter what colour skin we have
Michelle, United Kingdom

It has sent a stern warning that the Commonwealth means business when it claims that it promotes and upholds values of democracy

Cyprian Kambili, Malawian in UK
The Commonwealth has been right in suspending Zimbabwe for a year - the decision is akin to an indictment with a strong unless and until Zimbabwe Government complies with the Commonwealth Harare Principles it will face isolation and international reproach. It has also sent a stern warning that the Commonwealth means business when it claims that it promotes and upholds values of democracy. Any other decision in the light of the election fiasco in Zimbabwe would have been welcoming anarchy into the Commonwealth. It would also have seriously and perhaps irretrievably have undermined the position and even perhaps the existence of Commonwealth in the 21st century.
Cyprian Kambili, Malawian in UK

Are Zimbabweans not entitled to the same protection from the Commonwealth that was given to the people of Fiji? Is democracy only one colour or for all colours? Folks please stop patronizing Zimbabweans. We are suffering under an illegal regime that stole our sovereignty. Our voice must be heard. Our candidate must rule. Mugabe must go and the appeasement of his regime that has allowed him to remain in power over the last two years must stop.
Jeqe, Zimbabwean in UK

Its a good idea to officially blackball Mugabe's government but will this mean we white farmers will be left to our own devices? I hope not. Not after the events from the past few weeks.
A Zimbabwean, Harare

So Zimbabwe will not be invited to the games in Manchester. Big deal

Andy Sithole, Zimbabwean in exile
The Common what? So Zimbabwe will not be invited to the games in Manchester. Big deal. Other than bruising Mugabe's ego I think it will strengthen his misplaced resolve. What does a country have to do to be suspended from the United Nations? I think the Zimbabwean authorities are treading on that fine line and that would be effective. Africa and the world do not be fooled. This is not a matter of black and white nor is it of North or South but a desperate attempt by an aging, yet crafty politician, to cling to power under the guise of righting the wrongs of the past. We await President Tsvangirai to take his rightful place.
Andy Sithole, Zimbabwean in exile

This is a welcome development as it sends a clear message to those dictators in Africa who were planning similar tactics in the near future. Democracy has won decisively.
Towera Mchiwuno, Denmark

I think the Commonwealth did the right thing by suspending Zimbabwe. The problem is Zimbabwe's African neighbours don't and won't help because of their natural borders. They are reliant on Zimbabwe. Herein lies the problem. The fall in economic development par se in the SADC countries has no political clout and that is the real traveristy because it doesn't just affect the people in Zimbabwe it affects others in Zambia and Malawi to name a few countries.

See also:

18 Mar 02 | Africa
Mbeki faces Zimbabwe test
14 Mar 02 | UK Politics
Straw condemns Mugabe 'tragedy'
14 Mar 02 | Africa
Africa backs Mugabe win
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