News and Information

Mugabe Among 'Worst Dictators'
September 3, 2004
Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

September 3, 2004
Posted to the web September 3, 2004

Staff Writer

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has been named as one of the world's 10 "worst dictators" in a new list compiled by human rights watchdog Amnesty International and other pro-democracy groups.

United States-based pro-democracy groups Freedom House, Human Rights Watch and the Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders helped in compiling the list.

Mugabe has been widely criticised for political repression and human rights abuses. Now he has been ranked fourth in a league of perceived dictators that includes North Korean leader Kim Jong-il , Than Shwe (Burma), Hu Jintao (China), Crown Prince Abdullah (Saudi Arabia), Theodore Obiang Nguema (Equatorial Guinea), Omar Al Bashir (Sudan), Saparmurat Niyazur (Turkmenistan), Fidel Castro (Cuba) and King Mswati III of Swaziland.

Mugabe, who has also been cited as one of the world's top media tyrants, is the highest-ranking African leader on the list, beating Obiang who killed his uncle to gain power in 1979.

The report came hard on the heels of a survey conducted by the Cape Town-based Institute for Democracy (Idasa) and two US and Ghana-based research centres - released two weeks ago - which stated that "Mugabe's popularity as president has gradually increased, especially when compared to low overt support for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and its leader".

However, the pro-democracy groups in their citation of Mugabe wrote: "Once the darling of the West, Mugabe has become increasingly dictatorial. His government has killed or tortured and displaced more than 70 000 people. The Supreme Court (of Zimbabwe) has carried out the dictator's strategy of silencing criticism and stamping on human rights, and has just blocked an official report on the massacre of 20 000 civilians."

In July a stinging African Union Commission for Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) report on Zimbabwe said government was responsible for gross human rights abuses.

The report was withdrawn from the summit in Addis Ababa amid loud protests by Foreign minister Stan Mudenge who claimed that Zimbabwe had not been afforded an opportunity to respond to the document even when government had the report well before the summit.


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