One dictator captured as another heads for Zimbabwe
By Tererai Karimakwenda
29 March 2006
We reported Tuesday that former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor had disappeared from south-eastern Nigeria where he has lived in exile since he was forced out in 2003. His bid for freedom lasted only one day. According to reports police said Taylor was arrested in the early hours of Wednesday in northern Nigeria near the border with Cameroon. His capture came as another dictator, the president of Equatorial Guinea, headed to Zimbabwe to meet Robert Mugabe. One analyst said, “Birds of a feather, their time will come.”
As we reported Tuesday the Taylor saga is important to Zimbabweans who hope the oppressive Mugabe regime will someday face trial for its human rights abuses which have been well documented. The trip to Zimbabwe by Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema has kept discussion about dictators alive. A ZANU-PF official is reported to have told state radio, "The president of Equatorial Guinea is coming to thank the government and people of Zimbabwe for assisting and averting what could have been a catastrophe in his country and also to explore ways of increasing bilateral economic relations between the two countries." The sudden flurry of activity and news about these dictators have invited comments from listeners and political activists.
Moses Mzila Ndhlovu, secretary for International relations for the Mutambara led MDC, said Taylor, Nguema and Mugabe belong to the same group of post-independence leaders who hop on the colonial legacy to account for their failures. He said Zimbabwe is governed by a repressive regime similar to that of Taylor’s when he ruled Liberia. Mzila Ndhlovu said: “The long arm of justice is reaching out. The bells are ringing for those who indulge in abuse, theft and corruption, even if they try to silence their critics.”
Mzila Ndhlovu believes there is a new wave of thinking that does not allow for dictators to continue. He said South Africa’s President Thabo Mbeki can play a pivotal role in bringing in this new era of democracy in Africa. He said Mbeki and his country rose to economic prominence in a very short time because they were more democratic. He added that all African countries should be governed in the same democratic fashion so that everyone can enjoy the same freedom. But Mzila Ndhlovu believes this can only happen if leaders like Mbeki speak out against others like Taylor, Nguema and Mugabe, regardless of the post-colonial experiences they share. In his own words: “There is no more room for dictators in Africa.”