Quote of the week

Senekal last week had nothing to do with solutions. It was all about politicians’ testosterone. It was all about politicians’ egos. What useful idea came out of all that heat and noise generated by all those politicians in Senekal last week? There is nothing. Nothing that makes SA a better place. Nothing that leads us to a better understanding of race relations in SA after 1994. Nothing that is a solution to farm murders – many of whose victims are poorly paid, desperate black people – or a solution to the incredibly horrendous murder and crime problem in this country.

Justice Malala
Sunday Times Daily
22 December 2008

Mugabe, Mbeki, murder

In the letter written by ex President Thabo Mbeki to the ANC after he was fired as President he listed Robert Mugabe – who pretends to be the legitimate President of Zimbabwe – as one of the heroes he has had the honour to interact with. Can one tell the quality of a person by his or her heroes? Probably yes.

So when the New York Times reported this morning that a new survey has found that hunger is wide spread in that country, I could not help but wonder what Mbeki would say to this. The report states:

The survey, recently provided to international donors, found that the proportion of people who had eaten nothing the previous day had risen to 12 percent from zero, while those who had consumed only one meal had soared to 60 percent from only 13 percent last year.

For almost three months, from June to August, Mr. Mugabe banned international charitable organizations from operating, depriving more than a million people of food and basic aid after the country had already suffered one of its worst harvests.

Mr. Mugabe defended the suspension by arguing that some Western aid groups were backing his political rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, who bested him at the polls in March but withdrew before a June 27 runoff. But civic groups and analysts said Mr. Mugabe’s real motive was to clear rural areas of witnesses to his military-led crackdown on opposition supporters and to starve those supporters.

Can one remain a heroe if one has contributed so starkly to this state of affairs? Apparently one can if one inhabits the moral universe of Thabo Mbeki. Thank goodness we are rid of him.

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