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Britain deploys e-weapon against Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe has stepped up his war against Western "white racist bullies" by accusing Britain of using the Internet to destroy his country.

Laughing Bob, addressing the World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, asserted that information technology is dominated "by a few countries in the selfish interests of those countries which are in quest of global dominance and hegemony", the Daily Telegraph reports.

He singled out Britain, the US and Canada as attempting to "challenge our sovereignty through hostile and malicious broadcasts calculated to foment instability and destroy the state through divisions".

Email and the Internet are pretty well the only lines of communication still open to Mugabe's opponents - among them the much-harrassed Movement for Democratic Change - and, despite controlling all broadcasting and press in Zimbabwe, the embattled and impoverished president simply doesn't have the resources to control the flow of electronic dissent.

It's natural, then, that Mugabe would finger IT as a tool of colonial bogeymen. In fact, the anti-white card is the only one he has left to play. Having reduced Zimbabwe to destitution, he now hopes to save his skin through rekindling the revolutionary fervour of his youth. Then, he was a hero for his struggle against the British. Now, as Archbishop Desmond Tutu puts it, he is "becoming a cartoon figure of the archetypal African dictator".

And, in the time-honoured fashion of cartoon African dictators, Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party have embarked on a terror campaign against their own people in which membership of any form of opposition often leads to a premature appointment with the undertaker.

What exactly turned a young socialist freedom fighter into a tyrant is unclear. What is certain is that not even Mugabe - his head filled with e-colonialism and black helicopters - can blame this strange and lamentable process on some Internet-manipulating Cecil Rhodesian conspiracy. He alone must shoulder responsibility for his own descent into autocracy. ®

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