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U.S. Opposes Power-Sharing in Zimbabwe

10:13 AM, Dec 23, 2008 • By JOHN NOONAN
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PRETORIA, South Africa (AP):

The United States can no longer support a proposed Zimbabwean power-sharing deal that would leave Robert Mugabe, "a man who's lost it," as president, the top American envoy for Africa said Sunday.

Jendayi E. Frazer, the assistant secretary of state for African affairs, made the announcement in South Africa after spending the last several days explaining the shift in the American position to regional leaders.

The new stance will put pressure on Zimbabwe's neighbors, South Africa in particular, to abandon its support for Mr. Mugabe. But South Africa said its position was unchanged.

The United States, Ms. Frazer said, has become convinced that Mr. Mugabe is incapable of sharing power. She cited political moves he has made since September without consulting the opposition, reports that his government has continued to harass and arrest opposition and human rights activists, and the continued deterioration of Zimbabwe's humanitarian and economic situation.

In the past month, President Bush, Gordon Brown, and Nicolas Sarkozy have all called for dictator Robert Mugabe to step down. However, this is the first time that a major power has admitted that a power-sharing deal between Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Mugabe's thuggish ZANU party simply will not work. Mugabe has spent his entire 28 year reign in the former Rhodesia clinging to power through intimidation, vote rigging, calculated starvation of his people, and outright murder. His behavior, like that of all Marxist-Leninist dictators, has been constant and predictable for over three decades, resulting in the most dramatic peacetime collapse of a nation-state in recent history.

Unfortunately for Zimbabweans, it is the Republic of South Africa, not the the United States, that holds the key to Mugabe's downfall. Just as in the days of the Rhodesian Republic, where apartheid South Africa kept their landlocked neighbor to the north breathing, closing the Zimbabwe-South Africa border would result in the rapid collapse of the Mugabe regime. To wit, Zimbabwe's western neighbor Botswana has proposed just that, meeting resistance from the African National Congress and the bulk of South African leadership, all of whom continue to view Mugabe as a post-Colonial hero and freedom fighter.

Until the RSA is ready to commit to serious solutions to Zimbabwe's political crisis and impending implosion, the nation once hailed as the "breadbasket of Africa" will continue its swift descent into a Somali-like vacuum state.