The author is an experienced journalist who has produced a compelling and terrible account of the evils that prevail for the majority of the population who are oppressed, unemployed, surviving near to starvation and deprived of a democratic voice by calculated murder, violence and daily intimidation. Godwin tells of his travels where he has seen the torture camps and spoken with survivors about the wholesale destruction of their livelihoods; he has interviewed the last few remaining white farmers and some members of the opposition many of whom spend their lives in hiding from the certain and unrelenting brutality of the ruling political party – ZANU: PF; and he has consulted widely with churchmen, foreign diplomats and politicians who are attempting to expose to the rest of the world the excesses of the regime under President soi-disant, Robert Mugabe.
For those who are not well informed about the situation in Zimbabwe “The Fear” with its optimistic sub-title “The Last Days of Robert Mugabe,” is an accurate portrayal of a dictatorship led by a man who was once regarded as the African hero who had ended colonial rule in Rhodesia and had set an example for others to follow. In his early days as prime minister and then as state president, he showed humanitarian promise that the rest of the world applauded but at the same time he was embarking on a campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Ndebele in Matabeleland that brought about the death of thousands and left a legacy of hatred that eventually contributed to an electoral defeat that he has refused to recognise.
That genocide continues to prevail and the catastrophe of Zimbabwe is man-made and was avoidable but for the greed and iniquity that prevails by those who oppose a democratic state and human rights. Instead of a transition to democracy, Robert Mugabe and his self-interested generals have created a military dictatorship that has denied justice, freedom and opportunity to thousands, created a diaspora of millions who could help rebuild the country and brought about such massive inflation that few but the privileged are able to earn sufficient to keep themselves and their families alive. The US dollar is now the normal currency which only the rich and the president’s cronies are able to acquire. Add to this the collapse of the medical services, the widespread killer diseases of AIDS/HIV, hepatitis and cholera as well as rampant TB, and the state manipulation of medical supplies that are available only to the privileged and members of ZANU: PF and it is easy to see how Zimbabweans have been brought to their knees.
There is the pretense of a shared government between ZANU: PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, but the reality is that the agreement is more honored in the breach than the observance and Robert Mugabe does everything within his capabilities to cling to power and frustrate the will of the people. Godwin describes the determination of the weakened MDC to prevail and whilst it is certain that change and transition to a democratic state is inevitable, there is no way of knowing how long Mugabe will last and what will occur immediately is gone.
Published by Picador (1st October 2010) ISBN-10: 0330507761. ISBN-13: 978-0330507769
About the Author: “Demos” is a pseudonym. The author is a long-time, frequent visitor to Zimbabwe. He has asked that his real name not be used because “the fear” of retaliation by Zimbabwe’s government is more than just the title of a new book.