Sports and politics

Australian Prime Minister John Howard has ordered the country’s cricket team to pull out of a scheduled tour of Zimbabwe in September. Should sport and politics be intertwined?

Sports should be used as a political weapon to isolate regimes that have no respect for human rights. As teams represent their countries, team from democratic ones shouldn’t play against those living in a dictatorship. Anything is good to put pressure on Mugabe to reform his regime. As economic sanctions failed to change his dictatorial approach, sport boycott will have a moral effect on the Zimbabwean public, which has been seeking a new political team to lead the country democratically.

Sport can be an effective means to isolate Mugabe. Any achievement will be wrongly attributed to him as he can use it to show Zimbabwe’s “great successes” in international sports under his leadership. It doesn’t make sense to hold a trophy or a medal from a dictator who has no team spirit. Sports will become a propaganda machine. It’s easier to form sport teams as a facade for his regime than to tackle the deep troubles of the millions of Zimbabweans living below poverty line.

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