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Stop the thuggery not the cricket

Stop the thuggery not the cricket

Stephen Franks Tuesday, 5 July 2005

Press Releases - Foreign Affairs

ACT Sports and Recreation Spokesman Stephen Franks today confirmed that ACT would not vote for a law banning sporting connections with Zimbabwe, inward or outward.

"Freedom of association means nothing if it can be denied whenever a majority thinks it would be better to shun some people.

“ACT sees this as a moral issue for the cricketers concerned. They should leave Mugabe in no doubt about their feelings to rebut any Mugabe attempt to claim the tour is an endorsement. We have seen no evidence that the tour will in any way support Mugabe. It is more likely to embarrass him, attracting attention to his thuggery.

“There are plenty of ways in which the cricketers could make Mugabe wish they had never come.

“Politicians, who for years have sat on their hands, are now trying to claim superior morality by imposing a stand on cricket when they have been too politically correct to take effective action themselves.

“Mugabe owes his continued hold on power to Mbeki of South Africa. Instead of holding him and the ANC accountable, Labour politicians have continued the fawning of their anti-apartheid days, most notably at the recent Durban conference where the Hon Margaret Wilson supported the third world hypocrisy of African countries blaming the US for the world's ills.

“There is a real risk that political relics of the 70s will try to foment and exploit a “stop the tour" wave of hysteria, glorying in the echoes of their salad days.

“The whole focus should instead be on "stop the thug”.

“There is precious little evidence that boycotts are effective. Afghanistan was liberated from the Russians by force and the Moscow Olympic boycott simply damaged sport and the Los Angeles Olympics. Last time Zimbabwe was in the headlines Mr Goff rolled out his "smart sanctions" rhetoric.

"ACT has seen nothing to show that a government order to stop the tour is ‘smart”. It would carry far less moral weight than clear disgust at the regime by the cricketers," Mr Franks said.

ENDS

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