Monday, 20 December 2010

More wikileaks in Africa

Zimbabwe is in a rather a fragile state at the moment. Recent ZANU-PF rallies have rallied around the idea of ending the unity government and removing the MDC from all power - possibly in a general election to be held early in 2011. Mugabe is not a happy man and the threats against countries imposing sanctions keep growing. It is becoming increasingly clear that a major reason ZANU-PF entered the unity government was so that sanctions would be lifted and they are far from pleased that this has not taken place.

And now WikiLeaks has published cables that say the MDC says that the UN has been offering to buy-off Mugabe. I still don't know exactly how I feel about WikiLeaks. I have yet to hear a convincing argument that WikiLeaks is a sufficient threat to security to justify removing it from existence and I'm not sure I buy any of the other arguments against it. But I am starting to wonder if publishing rumours of rumours of dodgy  dealings in fragile environments is perhaps not the best idea in the world. To be fair, WikiLeaks is not responsible for the way in which these allegations are published. Supplying the information should not make someone accountable for what a newspaper does with it. Reputable news sources seem to have taken a holiday from considering the reliability of source information on the grounds that they can blame someone else. In this article, for example, some attempt could have been made to recognise the possibility that the source might be unreliable before jumping on the story and running with it as fact.

In the end, it sounds like whatever offer was or was not made was turned down by Mugabe. It seems slightly unhinged/crazy/megalomaniac leaders just aren't as keen to accept a comfortable exile in (for example) South Africa as they used to be. Either way, Mugabe certainly won't be accepting any kind of graceful exit package now that the MDC has been revealed as telling the world that he should. Publishing sensitive information has downsides as well as upsides.

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