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Europe Global Environment & Development The New South From G8 to G20 The Development Agenda UN Reform Global Finance Doha Final The Euro-zone in Crisis Eastern Europe

African Despotism and European Double Standards

Merkel 2007 and Mugabe 2008

Is there anything unusual about the events in question? An African despot, a good deal of bloodshed – at least 80 dead, 10,000 injured, 200,000 displaced –, a rigged election, a concentrated effort to dilute international interest which is very little in the first place – that list contains nothing out of the usual or expected, does it? These – sadly usual – events unfolded in a most unusual way. An essay by Oliver Schmidt


The dictator in question, Mr. Robert Mugabe (84), had come to the end of a very difficult term of office indeed. Though torn down by a cruel apartheid system that Mr. Mugabe had to overcome by force Zimbabwe was still one of the richest and most productive countries of Africa in the 1980s. In 2000, the 20th year of Mr. Mugabe's rule, Zimbabwe still recorded a higher per-capita-income than all countries of Western, Eastern and Central Africa, with the only exception of oil (and uranium)-rich Gabon. Most of Zimbabwe's income came from agriculture, with tobacco being a leading cash crop ...

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