Monday, February 26, 2007

Mugabe's Grip Slipping?

As of late dcat has speculated that Robert Mugabe's once unshakeable grip on power in Zimbabwe might be slipping. Now, as if to augment my case, Brian Raftopoulos, head of the Africa programme at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in Cape Town, argues that circumstances might be changing in Zim and that the changes might finally tear Mugabe's grip loose.:
The Zimbabwean crisis has reached the point where a number of factors are combining to introduce a new political dynamic into the current situation. These include the confluence of drastic economic decline, growing internal dissent within the ruling party, a renewed wave of labour and civic activism and the continued isolation of the regime by Western countries.

Like most Big Men in Africa, Mugabe has access to resources, he has an inner circle that buttresses him, and he has the capacity to wield patronage, at least for the time being. He is wily and is nothing if not savvy in the ways of self-presevration and demonizing his opponents. That said, when the winds of history shift they do so dramatically, and even the most ruthless of dictators have capsized when the waters got choppy as a result.

(The article comes from the increasingly courageous Zimbabwe Independent.)

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