Saturday, April 05, 2008


Like a lot of the world's population, I've been watching Zimbabwe with some interest. Why? Well, I like to keep up to date with world politics. How populations react to their governments or candidates, is a good way to start developing your own socio-political world.

World building isn't just about land, weather and how many suns in the sky. But I digress.

Mugabe was once a hero to his nation, 'free-ing' the land of 'oppressive' British rule. Ha! He has taken a country known as the 'bread-basket of Africa' and bankrupted it in under thirty years.

Inflation is at 100,000 percent; unemployment at 80 percent; the life expectancy for men is 37 years and for women, 34. The central bank has just introduced a $ZIM 50 million note - worth about 50p in pounds, 80 cents US, and about 82 cents Australian. Fifty million!

And who does Mugabe and his 'liberation' war veterans blame for this catastrophe? Why, Britain of course. You'll remember that Mugabe handed over profitable white-owned farms to the veterans. These veterans had no concept, no idea of how to run a farm and those farms are now in disrepair and nothing is produced. Loyal farm workers were either run off or killed, as were the original owners. This group were also used for intimidation and violence against opposition supporters.

In a recent statement, veteran Jabulani Sibanda, said: "It now looks like these elections were a way to open for the re-invasion of this country (by the British)."

I doubt Britain has any plan whatsoever of invading Zimbabwe, but it's a useful scare tactic - or was. Now, the veterans are used as thugs so an 84-year-old can hang on to power of nation with no money, no infrastructure and a declining population.

If it continues, he'll be president of an empty land. Then again, he and his cronies have stripped the wealth, secreted the money in offshore accounts. You can bet they don't want to be arrested and charged with human rights violations, fraud, vote-rigging and any number of charges they deserve.

We all know this, but what startled me was the naive and ineffectual comment from South Africa's President, Thabo Imbeki, who suggested people 'wait for the official results' before taking any action.

Official results? Mugabe stole the last election by rigging the votes and intimidating the voters. In this election, an extra three million ballots were produced. How easy would it be for opposition votes to be replaced should the outside world demand to see them as proof Mugabe won as many as he says? After all the Electoral Commission is headed by his appointees.

In the meantime, he'll delay the 'results' while working behind the scenes to ensure his re-election; either that, or he's working on an escape plan.

His people are starving, they have no jobs and currently no prospects of one, they have no money and nothing to spend it on. And yet, he wears his hand-tailored suits, drinks and eats the best foods while his lackeys join in.

If ever a man needed to be... disposed of, Mugabe is he, if only to save his nation from his own excesses.

Why do I care about a country so far away? I worked with a rather gor-jus young white Zimbabwean some years ago while in England. His parents were farmers and I find myself wondering what happened to them. Did they safely get to South Africa? Or did the worst happen to them? I like to think they made it, but my creative mind can think up some stories revolving around their escape; or not.

Zimbabwe is the perfect lesson on how to take a profitable, viable nation and destroy it. And all we can do is... wait.

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