Is the world’s truly despotic regime about to tip over?

It started when Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and other opponents of Robert Mugabe’s government in Zimbabwe were brutally beaten by government operatives last week. Since then the Zimbabwe dollar has collapsed – from Z$9,000 to the US dollar to Z$17,500 over five days – and the price of petrol in Harare rose from Z$9,000 to Z$15,000 a litre over the weekend. The London Sunday Times reported yesterday that the former head of Zimbabwe’s army is in discussions the British, French and US ambassadors to engineer a transfer of power from Mugabe.

Today come further reports that the Mugabe government arrested and assaulted key opposition leaders as they attempted to leave Zimbabwe and stole the body of a murdered activist to prevent his funeral from taking place.

While the West has been resolutely transfixed with Iraq in recent years, a really awful dictator has survived without more than diplomatic rebukes from the self-proclaimed protectors of democracy and decency. Thankfully, and without their help, the lid finally seems to be blowing off the Zimbabwe pressure cooker.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey