Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Zimbabwe Zenate Zucks

Zimbabwe is seen as the epitome of democracy gone amuck. A charismatic revolution leader sweeps into office, consolidates power, and uses every trick in the book (goon squads, outlawing political opponents, destroying the economy of opponents, biased judges) to stay in power while still having an electoral process. While in power he has denied private property, human rights, and free speech.

The latest debacle is a bunch of sweeping Constitutional changes passed by his parliament, designed to further entrench his power.

Rolling back institutional roadblocks that can prevent his growing power? No. In fact, he’s adding one of our own favorite roadblocks, the Senate. Not because of a love of checks and balances of course. But simply because that’s 66 more supporters and their staff who he can add to the patronage rolls. And he knows his popular power is absolute enough, especially in the rural-biased Senate, that it adds no risk to his pogroms, errr... programs.

Institutions like these simply do not do enough to stop popularly supported despots, and the political elite loves them because it offers a bunch of cosmopolitan jobs for them to have.


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