Monday, June 30, 2008

Vigilantism in Ghana

With all the global and African media attention on the man-made catastrophe in Zimbabwe, a lot of other stories are flying under the radar. Take a couple of troubling stories coming out of Ghana, a country generally seen as one of the most stable in West Africa.

The IRIN reported on an ethnic conflict in the north which might threaten national elections scheduled for later this year. Some 17 people have been killed in clashes between the Mamprusi and Kusasi. President John Kufuor said local officials in the town of Bawku should be 'ashamed' of what happened there.

The UN news agency also on a troubling security vacuum in the capital Accra that's been filled by militia-like vigilante groups.

The scary part is that these vigilante groups are actually welcomed by locals, who are so mistrustful of and disillusioned by the police and court system.

One elderly Accra resident explained, "I am grateful for their presence. They put the fear of God into all the criminals in the area."

Not surprisingly though, such instant mob justice often goes awry.

The beating to death of the administrator of the government hospital in the Bono Ahafo Region of Ghana by a group of young men last year who mistook him for a serial killer is one of the most notorious examples of mob law gone wrong.

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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Mugabe 'wins' one-man runoff; re-inaugurated with unprecedented speed

Bob Mugabe will soon be inaugurated for another term as dictator of Zimbabwe... this despite the fact that official election results from Friday's sham poll haven't yet been published.

Re-Liberation leader Morgan Tsvangarai won a clear majority in March's first round before massive theft by the Mugabe regime. Tsvangarai's win was so crushing that even after weeks of the regime rigging his tally down to 48 percent, he still beat Mugabe in the "official" results.

Tsvangarai withdrew from the runoff because a massive pro-Mugabe campaign of violence and murder against opposition supporters and neutrals. Mugabe promised to crush the Re-Liberation struggle by all means necessary... and has tried to keep that promise. Zimbabwean women have even been raped for opposing Mugabe.

In the first round, it took nearly a month of government thieving before results could be published. Yet, Mugabe will be inaugurated a mere day and a half after the end of the second round.

The reason for the haste to enshrine Mugabe's theft into pseudo-legality is not simply to snub the international community but to allow the tyrant to travel to Egypt for tomorrow's opening of the annual African Union summit in Cairo.

This process will certainly please Mugabe's chief apologist, South African president Thabo Mbeki. The UN Security Council condemned the polls in Zimbabwe, saying that it would be "impossible for a free and fair election to take place."

14 of the 15 Security Council members had wanted to properly condemn the election as "illegitimate." But this was blocked by South Africa.

But Mbeki's appeasement of warlord Mugabe has met with sharp criticism, not only internationally but within southern Africa as well.

Botswana, Tanzania and Zambia have harshly condemned the repeated detention of Zimbabwean opposition leaders during the campaign, as well as the violence against opposition supporters.

Even within South Africa itself, there are many voices of opposition to Mbeki and Mugabe. Including from Nobel Peace Prize winners Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Jacob Zuma, president of Mbeki's ANC party, has called for intervention from the United Nations and the regional Southern African Development Community. The influential trade union COSATU, a key pillar of ANC support, has demanded international isolation of Mugabe.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Death knell to Zim's Re-Liberation Struggle?

The leader of Zimbabwe’s Re-Liberation Struggle has sought refuge in the Dutch embassy in Harare in fears for his safety.

The move occured only hours after Morgan Tsvangarai, who'd won the first round of presidential voting a few months ago but saw results rigged to deny him the majority he'd earned, pulled out of the upcoming runoff after dozens of opposition supporters were murdered in a well-organized series of pogroms by thugs loyal to megalomaniac Bob Mugabe.

The tyrant, who some speculate is suffering from dementia, invoked Divine Right to rule the nation he considers his personal fiefdom. He claimed that God chose him to rule Zimbabwe and that 'only God' could remove him.

Mugabe's mother lived over a century.

The implication of the withdraw on Zimbabwe's Re-Liberation Struggle is unclear. Tsvangarai surely hopes the withdrawal will cause the international community to pressure the Mugabe mafia

The UN has already called for a poll delay, the Bush administration has condemned Mugabe-inspired violence against the opposition and the effete South African President Thabo Mbeki has made a 41,024th weak-kneed plea to Mugabe to not be quite so ill-tempered... pretty please with sugar on top.

But Mugabe has thumbed his nose at international pressure for years, even used to his own defiant advantage. So it begs belief that anything will change this time.

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Monday, June 09, 2008

Gambian madman threatens to behead gays

Certainly a lot of attention has been paid to Robert Mugabe’s attempts to starve to death people in opposition strongholds as well as the more general terror tactics against those in engaging in the Re-Liberation Struggle.

But another lunatic seems to be flying under the radar.

Last year, Gambia’s dictator Yahya Jammeh descended into farce when he had the power to cure AIDS.

Jammeh’s rantings have taken a more sinister turn. Last week, the longtime military leader gave gays in the tiny nation 24 hours to leave the country. Those that remained, he said, risked being beheaded.

A spokesperson for the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Council said that Jammeh’s ravings were "doubly disgraceful" because The Gambia is the host country for the African Commission on Human and People's Rights.

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