Monday, September 28, 2009

Democracy Gets a Modest Boost in Zimbabwe

My NYT Comment#1(expanded for blog)
New York City
September 28th, 2009
10:04 am

(wow, its Yom Kippur so only 3 comments, with no more accepted
Now you know who the majority of NYTimes writers and readers are :)
In contrast a whole slew of article about sanctions against Iran, and Iran's testing of missiles)
That's Power in action)

New York City
September 28th, 2009
9:37 am

Mugabe's got to demonstrate that democracy does not include holding office for life, by stepping down, getting out. Who is he, Gaddafi? Hilariously unsuitable role model.

This is not at all to say that Mugabe has not done his share to free Zimbabwe, erstwhile Rhodesia, because he has.

Mugabe has tried to wrest the most fertile, productive, wealth-producing lands from white settlers who made huge profits for decades, on the backs of indigenous Black Africans, during the long period of Brit colonialism.

Settler colonies had a more intransigent and entrenched white settler/farmer/wealth base and in Rhodesia Ian Smith led the settlers in consolidating their power against the African nationalists like Sithole and Mugabe.

I remember reading about ZANU as a schoolgirl in Kolkata. If Ihad been born and raised in the US, I would probably have been kept ignorant about the African nationalist struggle against the minority landholding whites led by Smith.

Land reform and land redistribution are still at the heart of Z's economic inequities, now compounded by pervasive official corruption, as in many postcolonial democracies.

Again, as in many democracies of the Global South, Z's Supreme Court has been sporadically proactive and upheld universal human rights and the rule of law.

Kudos also go to LHR Lawyers for Human Rights, they made the case for human rights which includes freedom of speech -- and Democracy won. So of course, did civil society. So of course did the individual in civil society. Democracy, civil society and the individual are inextricably interconnected. Nice work, Z.

So-called Powersharing with the opposition's Tsvangirai is not enough, cosmetic powersharing is a travesty of the election process and an insult to the long- suffering people of Z.

The UNHR Council is now deliberating in Geneva and those meetings will end October 2, with a Resolution of some sort.

Jestina Mukoko's release is most heartening and not a nano second too soon. Her capture and torture must result in the humane interrogation and suitable punishment of her oppressors who are in truth the oppressors of Zimbabwe's fragile but resilient democracy.

Mukoko's courage and dignity are an inspiration.

Chithra Karunakaran

Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

NYTimes Copyright
Zimbabwe Court Frees Rights Activist
The decision of the country’s supreme court to release Jestina Mukoko represents a rare triumph for human rights activists in Zimbabwe.
Published: September 28, 2009