Sunday 18 March 2007

Zimbabwe, a serial nightmare

Pictures too disturbing

The pictures coming out of the despotic enclave of Zimbabwe where a gerontocrat holds sway like a boat caught in a storm makes utterly disturbing viewing. The cartoons in the Economist or Financial times this weekend have no patch on the horrific bloated faces, partly shaved heads and bloodied bodies - these are the visible parts, the internal damage could be worse, the psychological scars would even be deeper, my prayers are definitely with those people.

For all sorts of reasons Robert Mugabe still gets revered by too many on the basis of what he did about 3 decades ago, the struggle for independence, it is unlikely that ordinary people like you and I can really rest on our laurels of 30 years without improving and updating our skills.

Breaking bad records

The time for commendation for that struggle has passed, we have stark realities on the ground now; Zimbabwe is setting record inflation levels of almost 1800% and the projection is that it would hit 5000% by the end of the year.

In established economies we cannot countenance a percentage increase in inflation without some serious macro-economic decision taken to stem the tide, everything is thrown in keep it below 3%, Zimbabwe's case it is seemingly beyond control or mere mortals.

Such inflationary levels mean that money becomes like dust, no amount you have can buy anything worthwhile, it lead the head of the teacher's union to comment that teachers are being paid the equivalent of 4½ bananas a day.

That is exactly the point, the ordinary and probably middle-class Zimbabwean earns less than what a monkey in the forest would gnaw into in 5 minutes or less. The leader is making monkeys of his people and getting away with it with impunity.

Mugabe is a blind visionary

The police brutality meted out to the members of the opposition cannot ever be acceptable in the West, it beggars belief that such brazen barbarity can still exist and the ruling authorities can condone it at all.

But Mr. Mugabe earns praise for kicking out the whites, people who are more or less as indigenous as their fellow black citizens, who for the sake of record keeping can probably trace their ancestry back a lot longer than any African either in Africa or back to Europe - he missed a crucial point in this ideological stupidity that would probably parallel the Cultural Revolution of China.

Those whites were the engine of the Zimbabwean economy, they probably had an unfair share of the wealth, land and resources of the country; that was a detail of history, the snatch and grab to place in the hands of incompetent cretins who could hardly manage their principles; well, that is to give them more credence than is deserved, they probably could not manage even their own bowels talk less of businesses was utterly foolish.

Now, if Mugabe had taken those so-called war veterans and put them through management school, had some major in horticulture, agronomy, economics, international trade and put some through vocational training as able farmhands then had them understudy the farm-owners before negotiating a market-value proposition to transfer the business to budding blacks, probably Zimbabwe would have been an utterly different place.

Herein is the problem with African leadership, they have crazy ideas, crooked execution strategies and foul up the whole thing without taking an iota of responsibility - they have ideologies but lack a mission and have no vision.

Mr. Mugabe would have us believe that Zimbabwe is under some sanctions regime, well, nothing could be further from the truth, it is the despotic leadership that is under sanctions, travel bans and restrained banking access, Zimbabwe as a country can trade if she had the goods to trade.

Feeding out of bins

One other story speaks of early morning joggers finding their rubbish being rummaged, not by dogs or foxes, but by fellow human beings, Zimbabweans who maybe 10 years ago had the world as their oyster.

Couple to this the ineffectiveness of the African Union, the silence of neighbouring countries, South Africa especially that would have to do something in order not to make the 2010 World Cup their hosting the least attended of that event in modern times, they might just begin to speak up and do something, they cannot continue to absorb one third of Zimbabweans making up on sixth of their population.

Zimbabwe, the diplomatic graveyard

Now, Mr. Mugabe says the West should "Go and Hang", it really does not bother the West apart from the civilised humanity of having to witness the destruction of jewel thrown to pigs, the Economist cartoon shows him sitting on the carcass of a rhinoceros with the comment that Zimbabwe is standing still, and it cannot even go backward. The Financial Times shows him saying "Go and Hang" whilst ignoring every aid to get him out of the quicksand he is sinking into and the West stands on firmer ground.

He has threatened to kick out foreign diplomats, again, why anyone would want to further their diplomatic career in Zimbabwe escapes me except for where the person needs to get some training on how to handle despots in Myanmar or North Korea - for all intents and purposes, diplomats would be assaulted with images that are too distressing for comfort, a posting to Zimbabwe has to be the elephant's graveyard of an undistinguished diplomatic career, frankly, every self-respecting country should recall their diplomats and send the Zimbabwean mouthpieces of that savage back to the bush that Zimbabwe has become.

As he said those words about diplomats getting kicked out, people applauded, the people who prop up this unconscionable apology for all that is wrong with patriachalism in Africa, the inability to speak the straight truth out to our elders for the fear of disrespecting them and then getting cursed. Yes, they really did applaud him, they did.

Not proud to be African

In all, the decline of Zimbabwe, the savagery of their law enforcement, the tragedy in Darfur, the terrorism in the Niger Delta, the impending chaos being visited on the Nigerian elections, the simmering uncalm of Western Sahara, yes, it exists, the ineffectiveness of the African Union, the lack of moral rectitude of our African leaders and the second slavery of the African people to bad governance, poverty and repression by their own people leaves me not very proud to be African today.


Chippla's Weblog - Whose Zimbabwe?

FT - Mugabe tells critics to ‘go and hang'

FT - Zimbabwe sinks into hell of hyperinflation

FT - Zimbabwe teachers earn 4½ bananas/day

BBC - Zimbabwe stops activists leaving

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