Zimbabwe: Time for Mugabe To Step Down

Posted by James D. McGee
December 10, 2008

About the Author: James D. McGee serves as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Zimbabwe. Earlier this week, Ambassador McGee received the 2008 Diplomacy for Freedom Award.AMBASSADOR MCGEE: First of all, I think we can’t talk about Zimbabwe unless we talk about the humanitarian crisis that’s affecting that country right now. As you may or may not know, every major hospital in the capitol of Harare is closed. As of last week, at the pediatrics hospital before it closed, doctors were performing cesarean sections using the lights from their cell phones. That’s how desperate things are in Zimbabwe right now. Sewage running throughout the city -- there’s no running water in the city; raw sewage is mixed in with what water there is. The ground wells are being contaminated. People are drinking from contaminated water, and that’s why we have this horrible situation with cholera that we’re experiencing in Zimbabwe right now.

Fortunately, the American people and other people around the world have stepped up and started to contribute to alleviating these situations. But this is a situation that’s manmade and should never have happened. The Government of Zimbabwe, the illegal government headed by Robert Mugabe has abdicated its responsibilities, is much more concerned about enriching themselves instead of taking care of the people of Zimbabwe. And that’s why we’re embroiled in this horrible humanitarian crisis.

The other issue of course is the political situation. On September 15th, there was a universal political agreement, the universal agreement that was signed between the ruling party and the opposition parties. And here we are three months later, and still nothing that happened. And that’s an absolute lack of goodwill on the part of the Mugabe regime. Nothing is going to change until the Government of Zimbabwe starts to show some goodwill, some good faith, and to take care of the people of Zimbabwe by moving forward.

The regional bodies, especially SADC, needs to step forward and send a loud, clear message to the Mugabe regime that enough is enough, your day is finished, you need to start taking care of the people of Zimbabwe. And the way to do that is first of all to step down -- very simple -- step down. Allow a representative government, truly the government that won the election all the way back into March to assume power in Zimbabwe. Short of that, we’d be willing to look at a power sharing, a true power sharing agreement in Zimbabwe. But again, it takes good faith on the part of the Mugabe regime to make that happen. And until they do that – and I believe the only way they will do that is with a very, very strong message from the rest of the region; SADC has to step up and take this – they’ve consistently said it should be an African solution to an African problem. And we agree with that.

Thank you.

Editor's Note: Read Ambassador McGee's previous entry about Zimbabwe.



United States
December 10, 2008

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

The British government should be ashamed to have supported a Marxist to run its former colony, Zimbabwe, in the first place. As Mugabe won't step down, Britain should step up and deal with their problem.

If the monarchy is to be useful, the Queen needs to suggest action to her PM and get busy saving lives in Zimbabwe. A few thousand soldiers should be sufficient to depose the incompetent, set up an interim government with a new constitution, and then leave.

United States
December 14, 2008

Kiki in U.S.A. writes:

I just want to applaud Ambassador McGee for his courageous and tenacious stand on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe. He is a true advocate for change, and a deserving recipient of the Diplomacy for Freedom award. Thank you, Ambassador McGee!

New Mexico, USA
December 15, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Ambassador McGee, I second Kiki's comments, and my previously posted thoughts to Assistant Secretary Frazer apply as well to you sir.

The people of Zimbabwe will remember who stood with them in their time of need, so long as we prove effective in changing their circumstance and the parameters of their existance for the better.

Best regards,


(as posted)

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Ms. Frazer -- It is one thing to express concern, but if my following assesment holds truth, then concern won't suffice for kinetic humanitarian intervention up to and including removing Mugabe from power altogether through the will of the international community. By force if neccessary.

There comes a point when nation's must swallow the bitter truth that all diplomatic options have proven ineffective, and a limited time remains to prevent a larger crime against humanity from occuring.

I believe it would be a safe bet that Mugabe could be found to be mentally incompetent, if not criminally insane.

How else can one explain his policies and actions?

I think the following post holds true for how we as a nation approach this crisis, as well as the others mentioned.

I have been consistantly impressed with your personal outspokeness on African issues from the start, and it reflects not only US government positions, but the general attitude of the American people towards mankind's inhumanity towards fellow humans.

Just keep calling it like you see it...maybe folks will eventually get a grip.

But in the meantime will you please do me a small favor and pass my following thoughts on to the AU and UN?

The ball's in their court and they need to realize their potential.

Time's 'a wasting....


(from question of the week)

Eric in New Mexico writes:

"How should Zimbabwe's neighbors engage in the process to resolve the crisis?"

They should proceed under the logical assumption that they will get exactly what they are willing to put up with.

This goes as well for Darfur, Somalia, DR Congo....

Posted on Fri Nov 28, 2008

South Africa
December 23, 2008

Edwin in South Africa writes:

The crises in Zim is affecting all of the people in South Africa. With the borders of South Africa being opened to the whole of Africa, is a recipe for disaster.

Take the Belgian Congo for example in the late 50's.

In South Africa the same will happen. People who are flooding here will never return. The ANC said: "we will have yo deal with it...", but they cannot even take care of their own people.

It is time that the Boerevolk of South Africa be ackowledged once again as it was 150 years ago. At least the Boerevolk could take care of everyone in this country. Poletics was the cause that the Boerevolk losts its identity in South Africa.

Zim has to deal with its own problem, even Mugabe said that there is no crises.

New Mexico, USA
December 23, 2008

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Edwin in South Africa -- Hi Edwin, nice to have you on board, it's about time we heard from a few folks in the region on this issue, so I'll pose a thought to you and see if you think it's viable or not.

Joe in Tenn. recently commented on the lack of solidarity among the people of Africa ( and governments ) in dealing with Africa's common humanitarian problems, and a valid point was made I think, since without political "good samaritanism" and the mindset that this is Africa's problem, not just an individual nation's disfunctional leadership leading one nation over the cliff, but arriving at the inevitable conclusion that a response without unity cannot but offer a fractured and disfunctional methodology.

All that's required is to do nothing of consequence about it.

So, my thought is that a "Continental Congress" should be convened. Representives of all tribes and governments having a vested interest and responsibility to come to a wholistic understanding that what affects one affects all, and that nationalism has no capacity to afford creative solutions to common problems on the African continent.

The intent being to construct an agreed upon structure and process to legally remove leadership from power for the common good when circumstance require nations to meet their responsibility to protect populations from said leadership.

I'm not sure the AU alone is up to it, and the perm 5 will inevitably have to take it up within the UN Sec. Council to back any decision made by regional states in a coordinated manner.

I would ask you Edwin , if you think the South African gov. has the guts to host such a "continental" fora?

I believe I can correctly draw some loose comparison with Somali piracy when a leader has hijacked a ship of state and is holding the people of a nation hostage, claiming illegitimate "ownership" as Mugabe has just the other day.

Sanctions can be effective in targeting, and make life hard for the irresponsible and criminally corrupt, but this alone won't manifest a permanent solution to the people's misery.

Whereas nations have made the fundemental realization that piracy cannot be exclusively dealt with as a maritime issue alone, so I believe niether can the "responsibility to protect" become fully mainfest in practical application under the current narrow legal confines as expressed in the 2005 UNGA.

Whereas the soverign rights of a government should not continue to outweigh the soverign right of a people to seek redress and the good samaritanism of the international system in relief of their dire circumstance.

For that was the basic intent of "responsibility to protect" in the first place.

Folks in Zimbabwe, and a number of other African nations in crisis should be able to expect results, and the peace loving would be correct to demand the question be answered by the international system.

"Where is it written down in international law that the willfull arrogence of one , takes precedence over his people's right to life, liberty and the persuit of happiness; wherin nations under the rule of law may not remove the bane of a people's existance by the judicial application of force if deemed nessesary?"

Here's one possible answer:

When in the course of human events it becomes nessesary to regulate governments that cannot otherwise regulate themselves, it becomes incumbant upon all responsible to the human condition to found the common sense mechanisms of transparent accountablity and enforcement to ensure that the human condition exists in an improving state of evolution , "in larger freedom".


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