Viewpoint: Time for Mugabe to go
There was, for once, a display of unity at Stormont yesterday. The cause of this rare outbreak of agreement? Zimbabwe.
MLAs united to demand free and fair elections in this benighted country.
It was uplifting for observers of this normally most parochial of parliaments to hear forthright denunciations on an international issue.
The SDLP's John Dallat was particularly vocal in his condemnation of the tyrant Robert Mugabe. "Recently," he said, "he turned up in Rome in the heart of the European Union. My God, where does it end?"
Once the bread basket of southern Africa, Mugabe and his thugs have presided over the disintegration of a nation. Millions have left, famine looms and the economy is a hyper-inflated disaster zone where £1 equals 40 billion, yes billion, Zimbabwean dollars.
State-induced violence has increased to levels where slaughter of a genocidal ferocity has become a real concern.
The shame of the West was its failure to understand the nature of the Zanu-PF ruling party.
Post-colonial guilt allowed it to ignore the Matebeleland massacres of the 1980s where Mugabe destroyed political opposition by butchering thousands.
It is now time to make amends by applying serious pressure to force free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.