Forum

Zimbabwe must rid itself of current President

Last week, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his opposition, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, came face-to-face in talks aimed to move the country forward with a new, united leadership front. After 12 hours of discussion, however, no progress was made. The country remains politically stagnant, and its international reputation continues to falter.

Zimbabwe has been characterized by violent and backwards political turmoil since last summer, when the incumbent president Mugabe was re-elected from a one-candidate run-off after members of his political party, Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF), threatened and harmed some of Tsvangirai’s supporters. Largely as a result of the political chaos that has ensued, the sub-Saharan country has entered into agricultural, economic, and health-related crises, seemingly with no end in sight.

It is true that Zimbabwe is far away, in a different time zone, a different climate, and populated by speakers of multiple foreign dialects. But the country’s citizens, like those of the United States, are experiencing economic woes that are hindering the routine of their daily lives, as the economic recession/depression of the U.S. is changing the lives of citizens here. While the two economic crises must not be misunderstood as equal — they were caused at least in part by different factors and are being experienced in completely different cultures — it is important to recognize parallels between two seemingly disparate cultures.

While widespread distaste for now-former President Bush’s actions and decisions is rampant (hey, we’re not disagreeing), U.S. citizens are lucky to avoid such a tyrannical ruler as Mugabe. His relentless desire to maintain power has led to collapsing health and education systems, a cholera epidemic, and inflation rising at such a rate that zeros were almost thoughtlessly removed from their currency to make monetary processing possible.

Mugabe is a danger to the people of Zimbabwe, and his illegitimate government is a danger to the reputation of national leaders on an international scale. His rule should cease, and the opposition power of Tsvangirai and his party should be allowed to rule such that the country may begin to recover from its own economic and political crises.