When the British Commonwealth decided to exclude Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe from the upcoming Commonwealth summit in Nigeria (December 5-8), Mugabe responded by saying Zimbabwe would leave the Commonwealth. Mugabe maintains that his trouble with the Commonwealth stems from a racist response (by Britain) to the seizure of white-owned farms. The Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe in 2002 when Mugabe committed election fraud to insure his ZANU-PF party retained power. The Commonwealth, regarded by many as a moribund organization, has actually proved to be a potent political forum for Mugabes Zimbabwean opposition (the MDC, Movement for Democratic Change). One reason is the common language of English. Another reason: Mugabe cant hide the fact from other former British territories that he has brought to the brink of mass starvation what was once one of the most agriculturally productive colonies.