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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 August 2005, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
What should be Zimbabwe response?
Andy Flower of Zimbabwe hits a ball bowled by Shane Warne
Should Zimbabwe be prevented from competing in international sporting events?

Controversial Zanu-PF policies like Operation Murambatsvina (Drive Out Rubbish) have seen people's homes destroyed and residents forced to moved to rural areas.

Government ministers in the UK have issued a letter to the International Cricket Council urging them to suspend Zimbabwe.

Do you live in Zimbabwe? How should other countries respond to the situation in the country? Can politics and sport be separated?

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

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Bruce Acton, Winchester, UK
Can we really make any difference to the situation in Zimbabwe unless we are prepared to intervene militarily?

It is unfortunate that some people think that travel bans, sports ban, and all sorts of acts against the government will remove Robert Mugabe from power. The power lies in the people of Zimbabwe to speak out in whatever form is made available to them. Such acts are directed on the wrong people at the end of the day.
Anon, Nigeria

Other countries should create a platform for Zimbabweans to determine their fate through clear ways understanding of the situation from a broader perspective. Politics and sport are complementary of each other however sport cannot be used as a weapon to force or implement change if need be.
Emmanuel, Gaborone

How can we exclude Zimbabwe from taking part in international sports? What politics is to do with sport? If so, the US has contravened the UN to wage a dirty war in Iraq. Israel is violating all the charters of the UN and the ICJ. These two countries stand ahead of Zimbabwe in human rights violations. Just because they have power and money, nobody is objecting to their misdeeds in politics. Zimbabwe is poor economically. That's the reason rich nations want to relegate Zimbabwe on false pretexts like the Operation Murambatsvina.
C. Sachidananda Narayanan, Tirunelveli, India

In the case of South Africa only whites were allowed to participate in international sports and that was why they were banned during the era of apartheid. But in Zimbabwe it is different, both whites and blacks players participate in the teams. If sports are banned, it's taking the only get away that people have from their hardships, the only place where they can enjoy themselves. You can't punish the people for the abuse of the government.
Amanuel, Baltimore, USA

Zimbabwe should be subject to the same sporting sanctions that applied to South Africa during the apartheid era
Rob, Scotland
Zimbabwe should be subject to the same sporting sanctions that applied to South Africa during the apartheid era. South Africa was rightfully vilified for its racist policies. Zimbabwe should receive the same treatment.
Rob, Scotland

It's up to the rest of us to shout at our governments to act for the people of Zimbabwe. Western governments see it as a minefield because there's no money or political gain to be made. Get the UN in and get Mugabe out.
Simon B, Northampton, UK

It's good to hear views from people outside Zimbabwe, but the truth is this is another desperate move by the British trying all they can to re-colonise Zimbabwe. Sport and politics are two different things and banning sportsmen from international matches is not going to pave way for the MDC.
Tendai, Dallas, TX, USA (Zimbabwean)

Of course there should be a ban. Mugabe only has one thing left and that is his ego. Mugabe gets political mileage every time there is an opportunity to pretend that all is well in the country.
Alex Nhando, Zimbabwean in UK

As a Zimbabwean I'm angry and saddened. Is that all the international community can come up with, a cricket ban? How about effectively policing the travel ban? How about not allowing ministers to bank their stolen assets? It appears far easier to punish a few hard working cricketers than it is to take hard hitting action against the real culprits and criminals.
Hayden, Edinburgh

I'm a Zimbabwean and a great sports fan. What I think of our country's politics is best left unsaid. However as a Zimbabwean citizen why should I pay for my government's faults? I doubt they follow and enjoy cricket like I do, so why should you punish me to get to them? They already don't care about me and my own. Why should you punish the cricket team? They are not the Zimbabwean government.
Terrence, Harare, Zimbabwe

Banning Zimbabwe is nothing short of patronising
Al, (Zimbabwean) Kent, UK
I find it sad and offensive, the only time the international community decides to debate and take a moral stand on the Mugabe issue is when there is cricket involved. Human rights, international law, democracy all take back seats to cricket in the international mindset it would seem. Banning Zimbabwe is nothing short of patronising and will solve nothing other than eliminating any media exposure the ongoing ethnic cleansing is receiving.
Al, (Zimbabwean) Kent, UK

The main problem starts at the ICC. How did they get the authority to impose huge punitive fines on teams that don't want to play in Zimbabwe? What happens to the money if a fine is paid? Perhaps be given to Mugabe? I reckon get rid of the ICC and the problem will be solved. If you don't want to play with the boy next door, you don't play with him. It's as simple as that. Richard
Richard, Burnaby, Canada

Suspending Zimbabwe is just as good as adding more oppression on the already oppressed and innocent Zimbabweans. It is the already suffering sporting men and women who will be affected most, with no effect whatsoever on the politics of the day
Pasipameraziso, Harare, Zimbabwe

The events at stake in Zimbabwe have no connection with sport. There are sports men and women in Zimbabwe who must have been working extremely hard to perform in sporting competitions. Should their dreams become unreal because some unscrupulous people want to meddle in the affairs of others and promote regression rather than progression? Please let Zimbabweans be.
Ngehndab Delphine, Bamenda Cameroon

Isolation is the answer. The world must be kept alert and the only way is to isolate Zimbabwe not only in cricket but soccer and all popular disciplines.
Pararawu, Stockholm Sweden

People are more concerned with keeping food in their stomachs and a roof over their heads than the cricket
Craig, ex Zimbabwean
The majority of people living in Zimbabwe cannot afford to watch the Zimbabwean cricket team play. The ticket prices of home games are high and hardly anyone in the rural areas has a television to watch them. People are more concerned with keeping food in their stomachs and a roof over their heads than the cricket.
Craig, ex- Zimbabwean

Why waste time and energy debating about cricket? Surely tackling the source of Zimbabwe's problems (Mugabe) would be a lot more constructive and ultimately more beneficial to a struggling, oppressed nation rather than whether or not their cricket team is banned.
J. Mariani, Calgary, Canada

No, leave sport out of politics, especially in Zimbabwe where sport is one of the few pleasures the decent majority in Zimbabwe have left. This country has produced some great sportsmen over the years given its poor resources and relatively small population. Leave them one last glimmer of hope and enjoyment.
Richard Price, West Chiltington, UK

As a former Zimbabwean, Zim should have been banned from playing internationally years ago. It is sad that eyes are only opening now to what Mugabe has been doing for so long. I think cricket in Zimbabwe should be banned them until there is a true leader for that persecuted country.
Hayley Kahler, Virginia, USA

Why exclude a country if they want to take part in international sports? Is it fear of terrorism? Or is it just uncertainty to how the people would act once they arrive? Government problems shouldn't prevent Zimbabwe from competing- they should have an equal chance like any other country, regardless if government's having problems; that will never cease.
Olivia, United States

Suspending Zimbabwe from international sporting events will send a strong message to the government of Robert Mugabe that the world will not tolerate his tyranny any longer.
Jaward Sesay, Philadelphia, USA

Lots of countries are in the line if human rights are to be the concern to impose sports sanction. USA abuse in Iraq, China, Russia, UK in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and many, many more. And please, stop the double standard.
Mike Aziz, Vancouver, Canada

I can tell you first hand that sports sanctions have no effect
Jovan Ivosevic, Belgrade, Serbia
As someone whose country was penalized in sports because of its politics, I can tell you first hand that sports sanctions have no effect. If anything, you will just get ordinary Zimbabweans angry and more likely to believe Mugabe's accusations of western plots against him.
Jovan Ivosevic, Belgrade, Serbia

It is unfortunate that a whole nation should suffer for one man's actions. It would be unfortunate to take away the one thing that brings joy to Zimbabweans and that is cricket.
Margaret, London

Absolutely. If it was good for South Africa during apartheid then it's good for Zimbabwe now. Prejudice and racial oppression is bad whoever is conducting it.
Chris, UK

All forms of isolation add to pressure on Mugabe's regime. Cricket might seem little but the people of Zimbabwe need any help they can get from the international community
Coleman, Ft McPherson, Canada

Suspending Zimbabwe will not force Mugabe into change. It needs determined political will from Africa, particularly South Africa, to change the political scene.
Richard George, Swansea, Wales

Sport and politics should be kept separate. You can't penalise a nation's sports teams - law abiding men and women - for the faults of their government. If you're going to ban Zimbabwe from playing international cricket, do it because they're not good enough to compete.
Adam, London

It is about keeping a country in the media eye
Denise, Paihia, New Zealand
I don't believe it is a case of mixing politics with sport. I believe it is about keeping a country in the media eye without which it would sink into obscurity, where human rights abuses will carry on without anyone caring. Lets keep pushing the state of Zimbabwe in the world's faces anyway we can.
Denise, Paihia, New Zealand

That rubbish about "not mixing" politics and (whatever) is a complete red herring. Politics (the use of power, essentially) is an essential part of any and every other activity. It really hurt SA when the apartheid ban was imposed. I know, I was there.
Richard Flynn, Huntingdon, Cambs

Suspending Zimbabwe will have no political effect whatsoever, instead it will only be used as political mileage by the government. The games bring hope to many who have no hope in anything. God bless our Zimbabwe!!!
Simon, TX USA

Sport is a universal unifying media, Zimbabwe has deservedly earned its position as a cricketing giant in the region and this has nothing to do with its corrupt regime. Therefore denying it participation will be a direct assault on its citizens with very little impact, if none, on Mugabe and his cronies. In my view, more systematic and stringent sanctions should be directed at its oppressive leaders.
Patrick Chabwe, Zambia

Sports and politics should not be mixed. Sports can build bridges that politics burns.
Alpesh, UK and France

Leave the cricketers and their supporters alone
Rob, Manchester, UK
I agree with many people on this board that it's simply not right to punish the people who are already being punished by their own government. If you want to express displeasure at the Mugabe regime then do so but leave the cricketers and their supporters alone, what have they done to deserve a suspension? Let them play!
Rob, Manchester, UK

Any penalties, in sport or otherwise, will make Mugabe lose face and take revenge. It will be against his own people, as he can't get at anyone else.
Keith, Chepstow, Wales (ex Doha, Qatar)

Why must the normal Zimbabwean suffer? The majority of the people there did not vote for Mugabe, or, did so by force. They must suffer because the West is powerless to do anything to upset Mugabe?
Mike, Luton UK

Politics and sports should be tied together. Any pressure that can be applied should be. It is just a shame that the international agency that was created to help resolve conflicts has not stepped up and put increased pressure on Zimbabwe. Of course I am talking about the United Nations, united in self preservation seems to be their new motto instead of helping less fortunate people.
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio

Sport and politics should be kept separate. You can't penalise a nation's sports teams - law abiding men and women - for the faults of their government. If you're going to ban Zimbabwe from playing international cricket, do it because they're not good enough to compete.
Adam, London

There can be no comparison to apartheid South Africa
Frank Hartry, Amanzimtoti, South Africa
If, as claimed by the EU and most Commonwealth countries, that the Zimbabwean elections were rigged, then the people of Zimbabwe cannot be held responsible for the abusive actions of their government. So why punish the people? There can be no comparison to apartheid South Africa because in the latter case, a sports loving minority electorate, continuously voted a repressive regime back into power.
Frank Hartry, Amanzimtoti, South Africa

I cannot see what difference it will make to either the locals, or the government. Mugabe has repeatedly shown that he doesn't care about international opinion and I really don't think that this would bother him at all. Is this all the UK government can actually do?
Angela, London, UK

We'll never interfere militarily or otherwise in Zimbabwe. It doesn't have any oil.
Rich W, England

Why should any country's teams be able to compete on the international scene if the country is in such extreme violation of accepted human rights? Wasn't South Africa correctly banned from international sporting events until apartheid ended? As a human community we should not allow special treatment for any country.
Joyce Morin, Salem, Massachusetts, USA

Sportsmen and women of Zimbabwe should not be the scapegoats of the bad behaviour of their leaders. It is through contact with the outside world which can groom the next generation of leaders to be more humane and accountable.
Kwok , Sydney, Australia

The majority of people in Zimbabwe have voted for Mugabe. They are poor and have very few luxuries and as a result sporting isolation will make no difference to their lives. South Africa should be censured for giving financial aid to the Mugabe regime.
Charles van der Westhuizen, Nuneaton, UK

Banning a cricket match would be as effective as the Live Aid concerts
Doug, Watfor
If the British government really wants to catch the attention of Mr Mugabe and co, then they should sanction Zimbabwe politically. Banning a cricket match would be as effective as the Live Aid concerts. It would catch their attention, but it would do no more.
Doug, Watford

Yes, invoke the ban now. A ban on international sporting events is the international equivalent of being barred from your local pub - it lets you know that you are no longer considered to be fit to mix with your peers. In the past that has caused countries to clean up their acts.
Iain Howe, Amsterdam, Netherlands

If we ban Zimbabwe for destroying people's homes, we will have to ban many other African, Middle Eastern, and Asian countries as well for their repressive, violent, and/or unfair actions and policies. Where will it stop? Who will decide? Mugabe is not a compassionate man, but then, many other world leaders are not either.
Michael, Calif, USA

Within Zimbabwe, there are free men, so it should be treated as a free country.
Youcef, Algeria

I'm no fan of Mr Mugabe's brutal regime, but I have always thought that sport should be separate from politics. Zimbabwe is an excellent cricketing nation, and it is no fault of theirs that their tyrannical leader abuses human rights. Why should we use sport as a political weapon, when so many sporting events have been founded on the basis of preventing conflict?
Andy, Droitwich, UK

Is a ban on sporting events really the best way to punish the Mugabe regime? Surely we as the West can come up with something a bit more harsh than that, given the Zimbabwean government's actions.
David, Washington DC, USA

If a country's human rights record is reason enough for banning them from sporting events, why are the next Olympics in Beijing?
Al, London, UK

Other countries should respond to the situation in Zimbabwe with caution. Its sovereignty has to be respected even though what is happening there is pathetic and incomprehensible. Politics and sport are different entities and as such, should remain independent of each other. The cricket players are not responsible for Zimbabwe's woes. They should be allowed to compete in any international competition.
Omorodion Osula, Boston, USA

Sanctions as applied to apartheid South Africa should also happen
J Tatley, Camberley, UK
Yes, and sanctions as applied to apartheid South Africa should also happen, it does make a difference. The SA government should be encouraged to be firm with Mugabe too.
J Tatley, Camberley, UK

If Mugabe is determined to act like a pariah, then treat him as such. Whether or not the cricket boycott takes place (and it should), I shall continue to boycott Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean goods, as Zimbabwe is on my list of countries not to be subsidised or aided until they stop treating their people like dirt. To do otherwise is to tolerate, and give approval to the unacceptable.
Martin, London, UK

The ban on sporting links with South Africa was a major signal to white South Africans that apartheid was not acceptable and most certainly influenced their government. Of course Zimbabwe should also be boycotted.
Deyo Okubadejo, Peterborough, UK

Any stand against Zimbabwe should be taken by our government, not our sports' teams. Why punish either the team or the fans when they may not agree with the regime they have to live under.
Paul Woolley, Notts, UK

Do not mix sports and history/politics. Support Mugabe in his efforts to return the land to the rightful owners, and then give them time as well as material and technical support to build their country.
David Karani, Helsinki, Finland

Funny isn't it how so many of the people who screamed so loudly to have racist South Africa isolated in the 70s and 80s both in business and sport are now turning a blind eye to Mugabe, now that the boot is on the other foot?
Jon Johnson, Morgan Hill U.S.A.

No. Sport and politics should remain separate.
Paul, Cardiff, UK

Suspending Zimbabwe from international sporting events is going to do little to change the situation
Anon, Harare, Zimbabwe
Unfortunately, suspending Zimbabwe from international sporting events is going to do little to change the situation. The reality is, while Zimbabwe is still involved in embarrassing defeats such as that against the New Zealand cricket team, the more publicity is generated about the situation there. This has gone beyond the ridiculous and more needs to be done. It is obvious that the international community needs to take a stronger stand against Mugabe and his farce of a government. He is making a mockery of human rights and as patron of cricket in Zimbabwe, is laughing all the way. All talk and no action is going to get Zimbabwe nowhere.
Anon, Harare, Zimbabwe

Best to prevent them from competing in any such events until their government snap out of their archaic ways and grow up - Set an example by showing these lunatics that the rest of the world won't tolerate it.
Paul, UK

Stiff sanctions with exception of food and drugs must be enforced to bring President Mugabe to his knees.
John Jacobs, Harrisburg, Pa. U.S.A.

No, Zimbabwe should not be prevented to take part in the international sport. If we do we will be victimising innocent Zimbaweans not Zanu-PF who initiated this dirty policy campaign. Therefore, politics and sport should be definitely separated at any time not only in Zimbabwe but also wherever in the world.
Peter Tuach, Minnesota,USA

Given what was done to South Africa before the apartheid system came down, I think it is only right that Zimbabwe should suffer the same fate. The West also seems to be ignoring the way the South African premier is covertly supporting Zimbabwe, (as Hendrik Verwoerd did in the 60s) and so action should also be taken against South Africa.
Graeme Phillips, Guildford, UK

The political risks of sport
22 Aug 05 |  UK Politics


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