When is it time for war?

OPINION – Like many Zimbabweans, I followed the latest non-developments with disgust. I suppose that whilst we have all known for some time now that Mugabe has no intention of sharing anything, I think we all hoped that his rule would be finally brought to an end now. Instead, the toothless gathering of corrupt African governments have basically endorsed Mugabe's theft of the entire nation by their inability to stand up to him.

Sadly this malaise is international and ordinary people must wonder about the forces that control events. We have to ask why the developed nations continue to provide aid and support to the begging bowls of Africa, instead of holding it back until Africans learnt to behave with some integrity at least. But then, I suppose, we are asking that question of a morally bankrupt world. Still, the world, being driven by money and everyone feeling the pinch right now, should be taking a view on Zimbabwe – why on earth should the rest of the world be paying anyone in Southern Africa anything in any kind of development aid or support? Southern African nations will not put pressure on to rid Zimbabwe of a man who is not elected, a man who is basically a thief and a murderer and a man who is bankrupting an economically solid country for his benefit and the benefit of those around him, through the much vaunted "patronage" system (here read "looking after a band of brigands and cut throats to make sure they keep Mugabe in power").

The net result is that Zimbabwe will end up costing the rest of the world a vast sum of money to try and rebuild a viable nation when, if the correct pressure had been applied, it would instead be contributing to the region as a whole and taking the pressure off the world’s purse.

The logic defies explanation!

And when is it time to say that "diplomacy" is simply not working, a military solution is needed? That famous cop out when the international community, particularly the labour government in the UK, rings out repeatedly and loudly – "this is a Zimbabwean problem and Zimbabweans must resolve it". Erm… how exactly does that work then? Do we expect that the beaten, starving and dispossessed people of Zimbabwe will rise up against the AK 47 and armoured vehicles? Perhaps they will be able to knock down the fighter jets with catapults?
And even if we are speaking "diplomatically".. how are Zimbabweans going to solve the problem? No matter how Zimbabweans vote, Mugabe wins. As he has done now – so Zimbabweans go to the regional bodies for help and they support Mugabe? So what next?

I challenge ANYONE in the international community to explain that statement to me.

I have also often read in forums and comments on news sites the view of many of the retarded people in the world who say that the international community should just disengage completely and let Africans get on with killing one another.. Convenient, but wasn’t it the various colonial administrations that created large tracts of the problem?

So what now? Diplomacy is not going to work – so many months since the most irregular and flawed election in the world and still no progress, other than what Mugabe wanted in the first place – so despite the fact that Zimbabweans voted him out of power, he is still in charge and calling the shots… and diplomacy is not helping.

In the meantime, Mugabe and his cohorts continue to rape the country of everything of value. They steal from the aid agencies (although when this "irregularity" was going to impede the flow of even more money.. it was suddenly returned). The aid agencies continue to send money into the country for "humanitarian reasons" and this money is mis-appropriated to Mugabe’s use. Mugabe and his followers are into diamonds, gold and anything they can get their crooked fingers on.

Add to this that they are in fact ILLEGAL and then the populace must turn to the police for help.. but the grand commissioner general is firmly part of the problem and the police force has been turned into a party militia.. so now what?

As a police officer myself, and a real policeman, not a zanu-pf militia man, I feel that it is my duty to arrest all of these people – but how do I go about it? Essentially I am dealing with criminal cartel protected by armed men, so how much force should I use to achieve these arrests? In terms of both Zimbabwean and international law, these are wanted people and they need to be brought to book. How do I go about that?

Additionally, in terms of Zimbabwean law and police procedure, deadly force may be used when:

a. Lives are at risk from criminals
b. A criminal attempts to disarm an officer
c. A criminal attempts to relieve an officer of prisoners

(there are more reasons, some quite complex, governing the use of deadly force, however these are the main and most pertinent)

In terms of the use of deadly force and in line with the precept of "minimum force", deadly force should be used as a threat (if possible and practical – i.e. warning shots), if that is not effective or possible attempts should be made to effect the arrest by injuring, maiming or otherwise incapacitating the accused. As a last resort, however, the accused may be killed, if killing is lawful under the circumstances.

Now, if we read and understand all that, and we accept that Mugabe and, particularly, the members of the so-called "JOC" (Joint Operations Command) are, in fact, criminals. So they should be arrested and brought before a court for trial. How does one arrest these individuals who are protected by well armed men?

It would seem that the minimum force required in this instance is armed conflict. Would this be justified? Well, all armed conflicts must be considered in terms of both human and financial cost.

How many lives would be lost in conflict? How many lives have been lost since Mugabe and his murderous regime have been in power? How many more will be lost for everyday he continues denying people access to health care?

In fiscal terms, how much money has Mugabe and his cohorts stolen? How much do they continue to steal? How much will it cost the country and its people for everyday he remains and wreaks further destruction on the economy? How much will it cost the region and the international community in aid and support? How much will armed intervention cost?

I think the answers are many and diverse, however, the facts are that people are dying every day and the financial cost is staggering. It needs to stop.

How do we stop it? I my mind it is quite clear, it is now time to remove the head from this snake. If they cannot be arrested (and I am not sure why – they are not legally the elected representatives of the people and therefore, not entitled to diplomatic immunity, so could easily be taken when they visit the UN or any of their other sanctions avoiding trips), then force must be considered, and there are many, many ways to neatly remove Mugabe and company without starting a full scale war. I personally have made representations to international security agencies with a view to getting equipment and minuscule funding to carry out the required operation. Sadly I merely received the pious reply that they "do not condone violence"! Not sure what they are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan then and, if this statement is true.. why are they condoning the violence of Mugabe and his followers?

I am hoping that a peaceful, diplomatic resolution will rapidly end this situation, but it seems unlikely. I admire and commend the MDC who are the legally elected representative of the people of Zimbabwe and I hope they continue to reject Mugabe’s unworkable solutions. I also am ready, willing and able to take action against Mugabe if the right support is forthcoming.

Vain hope methinks – this stinking morass will continue ad infinitum because the African and International community still refer to him as "president" Mugabe and refuse to stand up to this little criminal.