Friday, March 16

The spectre behind a cricket match

Watching the cricket scoreboard update yesterday evening as Ireland snatched a tie with Zimbabwe - quite a good result, even if Ireland's cricketing problems (England&Wales will pinch any genuine international quality players they produce) pale into insignificance compared to Zimbabwe's (there are easily eleven international quality Zimbabwean cricketers who have fled the country for political reasons).

It's hard to separate the sport from the politics when it drives the players - such as Tatenda Taibu (compare his Test batting average to England's recent wicket-keepers) - into exile.

Then this morning there is the news of Mugabe telling his critics in the West to "go hang".

He also accuses the MDC of being sponsored by western countries keen to see him removed from power. Given that Mugabe has turned into a despot, and has turned his country from breadbasket to basketcase, it would be hardly surprising if responsible countries start thinking it would be nice to see Mugabe removed from power in a political fashion.

His anti-western rhetoric isn't going to save him - Africa has noticed. The Southern African Development Community have asked Tanzania, Lesotho and Namibia to mediate the crisis, Mbeki of South Africa has urged Zimbabwe to respect the rights of opposition parties, Zambia's president has expressed concern, and Ghana's president says he is "embarrassed" by the situation in Zimbabwe.

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