Friday, May 16, 2003
Zimwatch: When will we emigrate to Baghdad? - 16th May 2003, 20.40

If there is a place that has sunk lower than Iraq, it is now Zimbabwe. Whilst Mugabe was listening to the efforts of a 'praise-singer' exulting his achievements in driving the whites off the land, his country is now suffering from hyperinflation and a freefalling currency. As these quotes show, the ecomony has now ground to a halt:

Industrial production is estimated to be 60% below capacity. Inflation has soared to a record 228% this year, and unemployment is nearly 70%....The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, the state oil monopoly, announced last week it had run out of hard currency to import fuel and was preparing to buy US dollars "at any rate."...With little fuel available, traffic in Harare was light on Thursday, almost resembling weekend traffic flow. Many commuters have resorted to walking several miles to work. Those who live too far away, simply don't go at all.

The MDC remains committed in theory to the campaigns of mass action and have stated that they will render the country "ungovernable". The organisation is certainly unwilling to accede to the demands of Africa's Big Men that they accept Mugabe's rigged election, as demanded by the tainted Obasanjo and Mbeki.

Obasanjo, in flowing robes and fresh from his own questionable election victory, took a line straight from Shakespeare's Richard II: "Not all the water in the rough rude sea can wash the balm from an anointed king." Once a ruler had gone through the process of an election, and been sworn in, there should be no further challenge to his authority, he said. MDC sources say Obasanjo, Muluzi and Mbeki tried to manoeuvre Tsvangirai into conceding that the officials who conducted the 2002 bogus poll in Zimbabwe were appointed constitutionally, acted in terms of the constitution, and Mugabe was then sworn in constitutionally. The MDC would have none of it.

Mugabe is reducing his victims to the Stone Age. People even leave their cars in queues for weeks at a time waiting for petrol, secure in the knowledge that no-one has the fuel to drive them away. Meanwhile, the usual suspects turn a blind eye to the crimes of the kleptocracy. Zimbabwe's Minister of Trade is currently in Belgium at a summit of the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of countries.

However, the Pope managed to get a dig in, for once.

Making reference to your Government's land reform program, Your Excellency has remarked that this is a vehicle for improving the people's standard of living, achieving equity and establishing social justice. In many countries, such agrarian reform is necessary, as noted in the document "Towards a Better Distribution of Land" published in 1997 by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, but it is also a complex and delicate process. In fact, as this same document points out, it is an error to think that any real benefit or success will come simply by expropriating large landholdings, dividing them into smaller production units and distributing them to others (cf. No. 45). There are first of all matters of justice to be considered, with due weight being given to the various claims of land ownership, the right to land use and the common good. Moreover, if land redistribution is to offer a practical and sustainable response to serious economic and social problems in a given country, the process must continue to develop over time and must ensure that the necessary infrastructures are in place. Finally, and no less important, "indispensable for the success of an agrarian reform is that it should be in full accord with national policies and those of international bodies" (ibid.).

It can't be too long now.


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