Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Why Is India Silent On Zimbabwe

Perhaps I've been living in a fog, or just may have missed reports in the media, but what is India's official position on the current situation in Zimbabwe?

Everyone except Robert Mugabe knows full well that recent elections were a sham. The United States and Europe (and even the United Nations) have rightly denounced the elections as illegitimate since the atmosphere was poisoned with fear and violence. Yet India and many non-Western countries have been eerily quiet.

I can only guess why. For all his dictatorial tendencies and his calamitous economic policies, Mugabe is still a popular figure and continues to draw respect from many countries, especially those who were themselves under colonial rule. To them Mugabe is a legend, whose reputation as an independence leader is beyond reproach. And Mugabe is banking on this sympathy to help him weather the storm. This also explains the bellicose statements made by Mugabe's spokesman during an African Union summit in Egypt. To quote:

Charamba had harsh words for Western pressure: "They can go hang. They can go and hang a thousand times."
The African Union, under whose auspices its leaders are trying to convince Mugabe the error of his ways, will be ineffective given the fact that most of its members are worse than Mugabe. So don't expect anything to happen on that front.

Instead countries like India should take the lead in condemning Mugabe for what he is and resist the temptation to engage in knee-jerk anti-Western histrionics. A condemnation from non-Western countries like India carry a heavier weight than those by the west, whose legacy of imperialism and colonialism taint their calls for Mugabe's ouster.

The question is: will India rise to the occasion, or say nothing, thus affirming Mugabe's actions?