Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Unpaid Soldiers Will Be Mugabe's Final Undoing; Precious Little: Children in the Capital Harare Collect Stagnant Water. the Cholera Outbreak Has Been Caused by the Collapse of the Country's Water System

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Unpaid Soldiers Will Be Mugabe's Final Undoing; Precious Little: Children in the Capital Harare Collect Stagnant Water. the Cholera Outbreak Has Been Caused by the Collapse of the Country's Water System

Article excerpt

Byline: RICHARD DOWDEN

ANYONE who cares about Zimbabwe and Africa may applaud Archbishop John Sentamu's call for the removal of Robert Mugabe from power, but his voice is more like one crying in the wilderness rather than a call to practical action.

Assassination, I am sure, has been considered and probably rejected for the moment. Likewise military intervention but there are strong arguments against it in southern Africa. A more likely trigger for the collapse of the Mugabe regime is the moment when its money becomes meaningless and the government is no longer able to pay the forces of repression; the army, the police and the dreaded British-trained Central Intelligence Organisation.

That moment may have arrived. Last Thursday the Zimbabwe dollar fell from two million per US dollar in the morning to 25 million in the afternoon. A week ago soldiers rioted on the streets, attacking shops and looting the money changers who turn Zimbabwe's vanishing currency into real money and keep business faintly alive.

Unpaid soldiers could be the first crack in Mugabe's outer defences..

When the lower ranks, who are understood to have voted overwhelmingly against Mugabe in the election this year, change sides or refuse to shoot protesters, he will be in real trouble. He sees himself as the ruler of Zimbabwe by right of conquest and as long as the security forces are loyal, and paid, no one can threaten that fact.

Elections were supposed to re-assert that victory, not remove him from power. Ever since March when Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential election it has been clear that he will kill, and let Zimbabwe itself die, rather than give up power. To avoid taking serious action against him, his fellow presidents in the region tried to persuade him to share power with the opposition. …

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