Personal tools
 
Views

Debate: Sanctioning Zimbabwe?

From Debatepedia

Jump to: navigation, search
[Digg]
[reddit]
[Delicious]
[Facebook]

Background and context

In 1980, the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU-PF) and Robert Mugabe overthrew white-only rule in Zimbabwe. Though Mugabe was once a respected resistance leader, he has resorted to violence in recent years to prop up his regime and further his agenda. In the 1980s he killed 10,000 of his political opponents and, most recently, he used brute force to win the 2002 presidential election. Mugabe has drawn international criticism for allowing black settlers to seize white-owned farmland. The EU passed smart sanctions against Zimbabwe’s leadership and it was suspended from the Commonwealth in early 2002. The effects of Mugabe’s rule include a worsening food shortage, economic stagnation, politicisation of the judiciary and corruption in all branches of the government.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]

Argument #1

[Add New]

Yes

The human rights violations in Zimbabwe are a mile long. First, Robert Mugabe stole the 2002 presidential election from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) by intimidation and ballot-stuffing. Secondly, Mugabe has put the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on trial for allegedly plotting to assassinate the Zimbabwean leader; the evidence is suspect and the judiciary has been corrupted and intimidated. Third, until earlier this year, Mugabe had marked 95% of Zimbabwe’s 4500 white-owned farms for seizure without compensation. Farmers resisting eviction have been killed by self-proclaimed "war veterans", many of whom are too young to have participated in the struggle for independence. Finally, Zimbabwe has routinely deported foreign journalists critical of its government, most recently the Guardian’s Andrew Meldrum.

[Add New]

No

South Africa and Nigeria, after visiting Zimbabwe in January 2003, are lobbying to return Zimbabwe to the Commonwealth. They argue that Mugabe has concluded his land seizures, eased press restrictions and, for the most part, returned the country to normal. Even if Zimbabwe stays outside of the Commonwealth, there is no international consensus on sanctions: the Commonwealth expulsion does not carry with it the threat of sanctions and the EU’s sanctions are, at best, mild. Further, the threat of sanctions could harm the quiet efforts of African leaders like Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to arrange future talks on a government of national unity for Zimbabwe.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section down]
[Move subquestion section up]

Argument #2

[Add New]

Yes

"Smart sanctions" have been in place for less than one year. If they are ineffective, it is because they are not being universally applied. The issue is not with sanctions but with countries flouting them. More importantly, smart sanctions should be applied by African countries and the Commonwealth alike. At least five African leaders have praised Mugabe as "legitimate": if they continue to allow him to transact on his accounts and move freely in Africa or around the world, he will never feel isolated, the goal of such sanctions.

[Add New]

No

"Smart sanctions" have been ineffective at turning Mugabe’s hand. The EU has frozen his foreign assets and restricted his mobility. France has shown its disdain for the ban by inviting Mugabe to a summit meeting in Paris this month. This action suggests that even if sanctions were working, there is no consensus even amongst the EU that they are appropriate. Universal sanctions will only harm Zimbabwe’s already ailing economy and Mugabe appears unafraid of allowing his country to regress to subsistence farming.

[Edit]
[Delete Subquestion section]
[Add new subquestion section]
[Move subquestion section up]

Argument #3

[Add New]

Yes

Mugabe has repeatedly refused to change his land reform policies. However justified he may be in redistributing colonial lands, there is no justification for the violence and a lack of compensation. And this problem isn’t confined to whites in South Africa: a breakdown in law and order can have negative consequences on blacks. It is true that other African countries have had problems with elections and human rights, but Zimbabwe was heralded as a test case for a new model of governance in Africa: both the African Union and the G8 looked to Zimbabwe’s 2002 elections for proof that African countries were committed to the democratic process.

[Add New]

No

Most countries support land reform in Zimbabwe - the concern is Mugabe’s method for seizing that land. The UK government has pledged money and aid for proper land reform; it agrees that it is unfair that whites control the best land in Zimbabwe. Many countries in Africa violate human rights or electoral standards but they are not threatened with sanctions. The EU’s decision to intervene, and the strong support for the Commonwealth’s position by Australia’s John Howard, may be a result of the “CNN factor”: hapless white farmers being stripped of their land by marauding bands of black soldiers.

See also

External links and resources

Books

Problem with the site? 

Tweet a bug on bugtwits
.