Thursday, June 26, 2008

Africa: the merry-go-round from hell

David Seaton's News Links
Africa has become a carousel of horrors that spins through the news.

Not long ago it was Kenya and Somalia, before that it was Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Rwanda: always the Congo or Darfur, or the north of Uganda with its child soldiers.

The present “hell of the month” is Zimbabwe and its resident, “devil in chief”, the 84 year old Robert Mugabe, who refuses to leave office.

According to the United Nations World Health Organization, the life expectancy for men in Zimbabwe is 37 years and the life expectancy for women is 34, the lowest in the world.

Zimbabwe has a HIV infection rate, estimated to be 20.1% for people aged 15–49.

Unemployment is estimated at 80%.

The last official inflation rate was above 26,000% a year.

The government no longer publishes official inflation figures, but some estimate inflation as increasing by 26%... per day!

According to the BBC, Zimbabwean dollar fell to 30 billion against the US dollar. The cost of a box of margarine in a Harare store last Monday was 420m Zim dollars and a ham sandwich now costs 3.8 billion.

Mugabe is believed to have many offshore bank accounts and his wife Grace, said to rival the late Imelda Marcos, is reported to have spent millions (of real dollars) on international shopping sprees during the past two years.

Why, having so much money abroad, anyone should wish to govern such a country as Zimbabwe, much less kill in order to do so?

What is there left to steal?

The non-binding UN resolution is certainly a step in the right direction, but as the Los Angeles Times asks, “Will they now act to forestall a repeat of the unchecked excesses of Uganda's Idi Amin, the Central African Republic's Jean-Bedel Bokassa or Congo's kleptocratic Mobutu Sese Seko?”

The recent record of sexual abuses by “blue helmets” in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of Congo would urge caution in their deployment.

What certainly would be counterproductive would be to send white soldiers from former colonial powers or the USA to take and patrol Harare.

Only Zimbabwe’s neighbors can remove Mugabe without making pan-African martyrs of him and his thugs.

The one country that could quickly get Mugabe out is South Africa.

Millions of Zimbabweans have fled to South Africa and public opinion there is hardening against Mugabe. The ruling African National Congress and the trade unions have condemned him, only the South African president, Thabo Mbeki continues to protect the tyrant.

It is useless to pressure Mugabe, for him there is no turning back; the man to pressure is Mbeki. DS

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Allow me to provide the latest inflation rate in Zimbabwe: 10 million %.

Also from today's FT:

"A loaf of bread that cost Z$10,000 during the first election round now costs Z$1bn – and that is when it is even available, which is not very often."

It's the man-made disasters that most upset me...

Anonymous said...

Allow me to update you on the most recent rate of inflation in Zimbabwe: 10 million %.

Also from today's FT:

"A loaf of bread that cost Z$10,000 during the first election round now costs Z$1bn – and that is when it is even available, which is not very often."

RC said...

Can no individual rid us and Zimbabwe of this nuisance?