Re "South Africa Shouldn't Have to Go Tougher on Mugabe," Commentary, March 20: Why does it matter that President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe may have been perceived as more pro-Western than his chief political opponent when he assumed power over 20 years ago? The pressing issue today is that his government has systematically violated human rights, shattered the rule of law and, by most observers' accounts, stolen the recent presidential election.
This commentary suggests that some view the Movement for Democratic Change with suspicion because white Zimbabweans, less than 1% of the population, support it. What distinguishes the political opposition in Zimbabwe for many others is its admirable commitment to nonviolence in the face of violent government attack, though it is worth noting that a few white MDC parliamentarians have won election in overwhelmingly black constituencies, which represent unique acts of racial reconciliation. The victims of government violence in Zimbabwe, by the way, are overwhelmingly black.