A prominent U.S. magazine has named President Robert Mugabe as the fourth worst dictator in the world, following Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, Kim Jong-il of North Korea and Than Shwe of Burma, citing his government’s 2005 slum-demolition campaign which the United Nations said left 700,000 people without homes or incomes or both.
The magazine bases its annual ranking of dictators on information from human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch. In 2005 Mr. Mugabe was ranked ninth. To Parade a dictator is “a head of state who exercises arbitrary authority over the lives of his citizens and who cannot be removed from power through legal means.”
“Life in Zimbabwe has gone from bad to worse,” Parade said. “It has the worlds highest inflation rate, 80% unemployment and an HIV-AIDS rate of more than 20%.” “In 2005, Mugabe launched Operation Murambatsvina (Clean the Filth), the forcible eviction of some 700,000 people from their homes or businesses – ‘to restore order and sanity,’ says the government. But locals say the reason was to forestall demonstrations as the economy deteriorates,” the magazine said.
International Crisis Group Southern Africa analyst Sydney Masamvu told Ndimyake Mwakalyele of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Parade’s assessment is fair.