Newbury Today reports:
NEWBURY MP Richard Benyon made a startling foray into foreign policy this week when he urged the people of Zimbabwe to rise up and depose leader Robert Mugabe.
Mr Benyon, whose constituency includes hundreds of Zimbabweans, said that the people of Zimbabwe should rise up in violent revolt against Mr Mugabe in the same way that former Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was thrown out in 1989. Mr Ceausescu was executed after a popular revolt at the tail-end of the Cold War.
While respecting our Member of Parliament's knowledge of Zimbabwe and his duty to speak on behalf of exiled Zimbabweans in West Berkshire, his call for Zimbabweans to "rise up" against President Mugabe raises some questions.
First of all, one observes that many Zimbabweans have indeed been trying to "rise up" for many years but have ended up in jail and/or tortured and/or killed as a result.
Secondly, while I appreciate that Mr Benyon advocates other measures such as sanctions, is it really morally right to ask someone thousands of miles away to risk their own life? It reminds me of the generals in the First World War who, from the safety of chateaux miles behind the front, sent young men to their grim deaths .
Thirdly, I don't remember Mr Benyon or his Conservative party calling for the same uprising against the apartheid regime in South Africa, which was in many ways as offensive as the Mugabe regime. Indeed, Mrs Thatcher strongly resisted calls for sanctions against South Africa because she said they would hurt black Africans. So why are sanctions right against Zimbabwe now, according to Mr Benyon, when they were not right, according to his Conservative party at the time, against the South African Apartheid regime?