Saturday, March 07, 2009

Car crashes in African politics

I've been reluctant to post this but as others have pointed it out (see David Boothroyd's comment on Iain Dale's Diary: Sad News from Zimbabwe) I'll go ahead and say my reaction to the sad news from Zimbabwe.

I have been reminded of one of the first ever articles I read on African history as an undergraduate: "Remembering Du: An Episode in the development of Malawian political culture" in African Affairs 97:369-396 (July, 1998). For those without access to the article it looks at the death of Dunduzu Chisiza and how "car accidents" involving significant political rivals have become a significant factor in the politics of not just Malawi but in many other African countries. Coincidence can be all too convenient.

Zimbabwean politicians who have died this way include (again, thanks to a comment by David Boothroyd):
* Josiah Tongogara (December 1979), single car crash in Mozambique. He was the leader of the anti-Mugabe faction in ZANU which wanted to run a joint election campaign with ZAPU.
* Rufaro Gwanzura (August 2000), car crash in Zimbabwe. MP for Marondera West.
* Border Gezi (April 2001), single car crash on the Masvingo road. Minister for Gender, Youth and Employment with a large following among young members of ZANU-PF.
* Moven Mahachi (May 2001), single car crash in Zimbabwe. Minister of Defence and popular among the armed forces.
Understandably the Movement for Democratic Change are launching their own investigation into this incident. (BBC News: MDC to examine Tsvangirai crash) Many will be hoping that this was a genuine and tragic accident, but I hope this does not lead to the investigation being fudged. Truth must not be sacrificed to convenience.

1 comment:

Anastasiya Vladimirovna Lychyova said...

You shouldn't feel bad - I for one would like to see more of your thoughts on issues like this

On another topic I recently read that various human rights-orientated groups in Pakistan/Afghanistan have severely underestimated the lengths of cruelty and violence that the Taliban/A-Q were prepared to go to to stop them - and paid a pretty high price for it


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