While the world watches, a country collapses

ZIMBABWE’S ECONOMY WILL will cease to function within four months, says an official interviewed by the UK’s Telegraph newspaper. [See article]

The inevitable result of this could be anarchy as the Zanu-PF administration becomes unable to maintain its authoritarian grip on the country’s beleaguered citizenry, 80% of which live in dire poverty. Although a violent overthrow of Mugabe is unlikely, the power vacuum created will leave the country vulnerable to ethnic clashes, warlords and general chaos and lawlessness.

In response to the violent repression and economic meltdown a third of the Zimbabwean population has already fled, most to South Africa, which is ill-equipped to cater for these desperate people. The constant stream of refugees shows no sign of relenting – an estimated additional two million Zimbabweans are currently preparing to leave. Following pressure exerted by the DA, it seems a refugee contingency plan will be formulated. One can’t be too optimistic, however, when our government refuses to accept the scale of the crisis and the implications it has for South Africa.

The sooner African governments acknowledge that democracy does not exist in Zimbabwe (and that the economy soon won’t either), the better. But the acceptance of reality will not happen any time soon. The SADC refuses to take action. At its recent summit, the club exposed its scant regard for democracy and the basic rights of ordinary people. Mugabe’s standing ovation was for a despot who has brought a once prosperous nation to its knees. It was applause for every unjust arrest, every beating, every murder – oppression veiled by Southern Africa leaders’ complicit denial and wilful indifference.

All the summits and talks in the world cannot change Zimbabwe’s status quo. The obfuscations and the whitewash will continue, but the damage has already been done. While the world watches, a country collapses – an unnecessary, avoidable tragedy.

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1 Comment

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One response to “While the world watches, a country collapses

  1. Ivo Vegter

    It is arguable that anarchy is a desirable outcome. Sometimes, governments can deliver useful services to citizens, such as enforcing contracts or protecting private property. If a government cannot do that, it may be better for people to run their own alternatives. I’d wager that most of Zimbabwe’s real economy is already informal. This black market may be the last best hope for ordinary Zimbabweans to recover their lost prosperity and their lost dignity.

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