Nytt

Kan styresmaktene la et land gå til grunne uten at omverdenen bryr seg? I Zimbabwe har en tredel av befolkningen flyktet og over halvparten av den gjenværende sulter. Årsaken er den totale hensynsløshet til Robert Mugabe og hans klikk. Nå sprer koleraen seg. Burde ikke Zimbabwe kvalifisere til intervensjon etter FNs Right to Protect-resolusjon?

Zimbabwe er ikke en failed state pga vanstyre, dvs. inkompetanse. Mugabe og hans klikk stjeler pengene som skulle gått til de 80 prosent arbeidsløse. Som Joe Swain skriver fra Harare: de er eksperter på korrupsjon.

En av dem er Mugabes økonomiske rådgiver, visesjef for sentralbanken, Gideon Gono. Han har i flere år bygget seg et nytt palass, med 45 suite-soverom.

The castle-like house has 47 en suite bedrooms and a glass swimming pool with underlights, a gym bigger than many good houses in the Zimbabwean capital, a mini-theatre and landscaped gardens.

His house is one of the biggest in Harare – bigger, in fact, than Mugabe’s, which is nearby, hidden behind a high wall and guarded by soldiers.

No one except Gono knows for sure how much the mansion cost, but the architects originally said they expected it would reach more than $5m on completion. This is enough to build and equip at least four primary schools in Zimbabwe.

Gono is not ready to move in just yet. Extra security sensors were recently installed on the outside perimeter and biometric iris recognition and finger print authentication systems were fitted in the interior, but he has yet to be convinced that it is entirely safe.

Gono tilbringer julen i Malaysia. Det pleier Mugabe også gjøre, men i år blir han hjemme. Mugabe tør ikke forlate landet. Det gjærer blant folket.

Tjenestemenn som fikk julebonusen opplevde at den var verdiløs. Andre fikk ikke ut penger fra banken.

Little wonder that, on Friday, anger against Gono spilt into the streets of Harare for the second time in a month. A mob threw rocks at the Reserve Bank building. Many were low-grade civil servants such as prison staff who had been trying to get money for Christmas, only to find that the banks had run out of cash despite the introduction that morning of new Z$1 billion, Z$5 billion and Z$10 billion notes.

«We have fallen into the abyss,» said a friend. «Economically we were teetering on the edge. Now we have fallen over and it is demonstrable for a number of reasons. You go into a shop and if you don’t have US dollars you starve. People don’t want Zimbabwean dollars. They are worthless.»

He pointed out of the window into a grubby lane below where people had dumped thousands of banknotes which had become redundant.

Kleptokrati

Zimbabwe har ikke vært utsatt for et jordsjelv eller en annen naturkatastrofe. Elendigheten er resultatet av en bevisst politikk.

As Mugabe’s right-hand man, Gono is a beneficiary of the crisis. «He has been looting big time,» said one of his many critics, a once wealthy Harare businessman who had crossed swords with Gono several times. «Mugabe has just reappointed him governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe [RBZ] for another five years, so it must be great for him.

«Any loot that comes in he grabs. It is no longer the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe; it is a bank reserved for him and the president’s cronies. If Mugabe has a degree in violence, which he has often said he has, Gono has a degree in corruption.»

In fact, Gono, who started out as a tea boy at the central bank, has a doctorate in strategic management, but it is from a nonaccredited American university.

Mugabe legger alltid skylden på Storbritannia, USA og kolonimaktene. Men den utplyndringen han og hans klikk har stått for er verre enn noe kolonistyre.

Konfiskasjonen av de store eksportrettede gårdene var begynnelsen på slutten. Men det brydde ikke Mugabe seg om. Farmene ble delt ut til hans klikk, og folk som Gono har så mange at de ikke greier å bestyre dem. De ligger brakk.

Gono var en mønsterfarm drevet av hvite. Gården trengte vann i tørken. Gono la da rørledning fra et vannreservoar for Harare og vanner jordene sine med vannet som befolkningen skulle hatt. Koleraen som nå sprer seg skyldes forurenset vann.

En regional domstol for det sørlige Afrika har dømt konfiskasjonen av farmer som rasistisk. Men det bryr ikke Mugabe seg om.

Zimbabwe was the breadbasket of southern Africa and one of the world’s top exporters of tobacco until 2000, when Mugabe started seizing white farms under the guise of redistributing them to black Zimbabweans to right the wrongs of the colonial past. But he gave them largely to his cronies and entourage.

This chaotic land reform programme, plagued by violence, was condemned as racist by five African judges in southern Africa’s regional court in a test case bought by 78 farmers, a ruling that Zimbabwe has refused to accept although it is bound by treaty to do so.

The land seizures have created chronic food shortages and a crisis that has led a third of the population to flee abroad and half of those remaining to depend on food aid to survive.

Man må undres om det ikke er the white man’s guilt og omvendt – afrikanske lederes misforståtte stolhet og toleranse for maktmisbruk fra deres egne – som gjør at verden tillater Mugabe å ødelegge et helt land.

Det er noe av den samme passiviteten som overfor folkemordet i Rwanda: det er ikke noe å gjøre med.

Jan Egeland og Åslaug Haga vil at Norge skal sende soldater til Kongo. Hvorfor snakker de ikke om Zimbabwe?

Historiene om Mugabes klikk er som hentet ut av Roma under Caligula:

Take the case of Elias Musakwa. A stalwart of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, he is a gospel singer at night with his own recording studio, a banker by day working with Gono in the upper echelons of the RBZ, and an occasional farmer at the weekend on a farm he seized.

Last year he grabbed a dairy farm that once supplied 2% of Harare’s milk. It now has four goats and a few sheep, while hundreds of cows that produced the milk have perished.

Argumentet for å intervenere i Zimbabwe er at landet ikke er en failed state slik som Kongo. Det er ledelsen som er råtten, ikke folket. Det finnes fortsatt håp i Zimbabwe.

There are many heroes in Zimbabwe still trying to make the country work. One is a 28-year-old male nurse at a Bulawayo hospital who was struggling this weekend to care for a ward of 63 children on his own.

Unable to obtain their wages from the banks because of the shortage of banknotes, many of his colleagues have given up coming to work. It was too burdensome and expensive for them to travel or they have moved to South Africa to try to earn a living.

Behind the male nurse was the body of a two-year-old boy lying under a sheet on a table. He had died that morning from severe malnutrition and septicaemia from sores on his body.

«We survive by so many ways,» the nurse said. «We adjust; we barter. I have been tempted to leave like many of my colleagues so many times, but I need to look after my mother, father and young brothers and sisters.»

Looking at the small bundle beneath the sheet, he said: «This boy should never have died.»

«When you meet somebody like that young man you feel that is why there is still hope in this country,» said Stella Allberry, health secretary of a faction of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change who has been jailed before. «The one God-given thing we have is hope. And the one thing I don’t want Mugabe to take from me is hope.»

Ting tyder på at også regjeringspartiet Zanu-PF rakner. Det brøt ut stridigheter i hovedkvarteret i Harare nylig. En mystisk nyhet om at sjefen for luftvåpenet var såret, ble brukt som påskudd til å arrestere journalister og opposisjonelle.

As the country crumbled, Mugabe’s ruling Zanu-PF party was desperately trying to put on a show of unity at its annual party conference. Even before it began, the facade of unity was cracking. The party is increasingly riven with factionalism, shown by an unprecedented outbreak of fighting at its Harare headquarters on Monday night. Police had to use water cannons to break up a pitched battle over the election of a new leadership for Harare province.

This internal party violence followed the mysterious wounding of Perence Shiri, the powerful air force chief, in an alleged assassination attempt, and the arrests and abduction of opposition members, human rights activists and journalists who have vanished without trace.

The government charges that the opposition has set up secret military training camps in Botswana to overthrow it, aided by the West.


Lavish life of Mugabe’s looter-in-chief

As starving Zimbabweans face their bleakest Christmas ever, the head of the state bank puts the last touches to his 47-bedroom palace