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The last days of robert mugabe

10 March 2017 264 views No Comment

Interesting article by Martin Fletcher, yet another about the “coming cataclysm” that will happen when mugabe’s “portrait falls off the wall” — a rather amusing euphemism I’ve just learnt that Zimbabweans use to refer to mugabe’s oft-predicted “imminent” death.

I’m in no position these days to agree or disagree with much of what he predicts, although it’s certainly interesting. As he points out, muggers is only 93, while his mother lived “beyond 100” so we could be in for another decade of his misrule, murder and mayhem, not to mention ongoing predictions of his death. If only there was someone in Zimbabwe with a complete set of testicles.

Anyway, being the picky bastard that I am I feel it’s my job to point out contradictions. Evoking images of Dresden, Fletcher inaccurately states that by 1980 Rhodesia “had been destroyed by 15 years of war and sanctions”, and then later in the same article states, “[m]ugabe inherited a country that, for all its faults, was blessed with fine infrastructure [and] functioning institutions …. Today it is a failed state in all but name”. When I boarded a plane leaving Salisbury on 6 June 1979, the country (Zimbabwe Rhodesia) I left behind was in no way “destroyed”. Yes, the West and the Communist World had banded together to destroy any hope of Rhodesia managing its own affairs and an orderly transition to majority rule, but my airliner did not overfly the barren, bombed out, smoking wasteland evoked by Fletcher’s first statement.

He also states that in 1980 mugabe “built schools and hospitals for black Zimbabweans and encouraged agriculture.” I have to laugh at that last part, as if people interested in self-preservation need to be “encouraged” by a dictator to grow food to feed themselves. But it is ironic that Rhodesia’s detractors in one breath accuse us of apartheid and building separate educational and medical facilities for blacks and whites, are then accuse us in the next breath of not building schools and hospitals for black people at all! Such is the nature of hyperbole.

After pointing out what fine infrastructure and institutions mugabe inherited, Fletcher goes on to give a decent — but of course woefully incomplete — summary of how mugabe has fucked Zimbabwe:

“Today it is a failed state in all but name: a nation of hawkers, foragers and scavengers. A quarter of the population has left; in other words, more Zimbabweans now work overseas than at home. The average monthly household income is $62. Life expectancy is 55 years, one of the lowest in the world. Four million of Zimbabwe’s 14 million people [30%] survive on food aid, and a quarter of its children are stunted by malnutrition.

“The country’s hospitals can no longer afford painkillers for major operations. Its embassies cannot pay their rent and utility bills. Its national airline can no longer fly to Heathrow, because of outstanding debts. It sells its elephants, giraffes and other wildlife to China. Beyond its urban centres, the country has reverted from tractors to ox-drawn ploughs, light bulbs to candles, the wheel to foot, cash to barter.

“It is also corrupt from top to bottom, ranking 150th out of 168 in Transparency International’s global corruption index. By [m]ugabe’s own admission, its leaders have siphoned $15bn from the Marange diamond fields in the east since 2008 — four times Zimbabwe’s annual budget. Several times I was stopped at police checkpoints whose purpose was not to enforce law and order but to fleece motorists. I was fined once for not having honeycomb reflectors on the front of my rental car, and a second time for not coming to a complete stop at a junction. ‘The whole system is infested with leeches sucking the remaining blood from the rotten corpse of Zimbabwe,’ a white businessman told me.”

And the West wonders why it is being inundated by refugees from Africa! I’d want to leave too. But Zimbabweans got what they wanted when they voted mugabe into power in 1980 … thirty-seven years ago! Any arriving these days on the coasts of Italy and Greece should be sent back to fix the mess that they got themselves into, not take up residence in a country ruled by the people they kicked out of theirs! And if you think it’s a mess now, wait until mugabe finally kicks off. It won’t just be a “cataclysm”; it will be a bloodbath.

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