Nobody likes to be called a dummy by a dummy.

Have we discussed Southern Rhodesia yet?

aka Zimbabwe. I've been reading about Zimbabwe for several years now. That used to be a real nice country.

Latest idiocy:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/zimbabwe/article/0,,2127297,00.html

The president has guns and is paranoid and mentally retarded. That's it. That's the problem.

Why can't the people over throw him? They seem to be following him enthusiastically into deeper and deeper hell instead.

What a fuck up that is.

So many countries go that way. So easy to have a fuckup in charge who just guts the economy because he is stupid.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 16th, 2007 3:37am
One problem I think is the international media, and the other countries in the world who all act like there are two sides to the story and maybe Mugabwe's plans are a good idea. They try to show a 'balanced' view. Well, some positions are so stupid that there is no point trying to fairly present them.

The international media really does a bad job with things in general.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 16th, 2007 3:40am
It's such an extreme example of a country that was much much much better when the white minority ran things that no liberal media can really say much about it and no conservative media gets much mileage out of it.  No one wants to report "I told you so," over and over. 

I remember when the whites handed over power - Ian Smith was the last white PM and after the first election, Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo shared power.  Nkomo dropped dead and saved Mugabe the trouble of having him assassinated.
Permalink Send private email Ward 
July 16th, 2007 4:33am
If you'd spent any time in Africa, you'd understand that underneath, it's the same problem as most other sub-Saharan countries.

Tribalism and cronyism.

Mugabe has sufficient support from (some) of his own tribe, and by paying off potential enemies in the power structure.  No doubt the fact that he's been in power for a quarter of a century, and ruthlessly wiped out most of the opposition in the 80s, helped: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gukurahundi

The idea of the people rising up is laughable unless one of the neighbouring countries supports some kind of guerilla movement, and even that would probably more likely lead to civil war between tribes than a sudden regime change.  In any case, by far the most important neighbouring country, South Africa, supports the government.

Also Zimbabwe is rather too big, and ZANU PF is too well established, not to mention the world political climate has changed, for the other common solution in Africa: a private outside force to come in and help change the government.
Permalink s 
July 16th, 2007 4:41am
OMFG! You've used the "M" word! You have incurred the Nine Inch wrath of the Purple Fish. Suffer, Moron! Suffer!
Permalink Send private email (100+85)/2 
July 16th, 2007 5:00am
"The president has guns and is paranoid and mentally retarded. That's it. That's the problem."

Sounds familiar...
Permalink Full name 
July 16th, 2007 6:39am
I used to date this half german, half zim girl, for three years. She (and her 4 sisters and 1 brother) grew up in Harare. Her dad was this bizarre, rich, old black man with a face like a dropped pie, that wore 3 piece tweed suits (even in the height of summer), had a thick Oxford accent, and was never without a *large* scotch in his hand (I think he died of the drink). The old sod was rich as hell, what with his involvements in the oil business and all, but his kids never saw any. Her mum had been an East German refugee after WW2.

Anyhow, according to all the stories I heard, 's' is pretty much on the money.
Permalink $-- 
July 16th, 2007 6:45am
Black Africans oppressing Black Africans usually isn't sexy enough for the poseurs to care (exception: Darfur).

How much have we heard in the media about the war in Africa's Great Lakes region? 3 million people or so have died, we've heard almost nothing.
Permalink LeftWingPharisee 
July 16th, 2007 7:24am
For outsiders who don't take the trouble of actively informing themselves, the whole of Africa is perpetually at war and to them the Darfur tragedy is hardly distinguishable from the Zimbabwe situation, it's all black folk being corrupt and killing eachother in Farawayland. 
The post-colonial upper layer of african society appears to hide 80% of the true religeous, cultural and ethnic layout that really explains most of the underlying problems but stays mosty hidden from most of the non-african world. Most westerners have no idea whatsoever about tribes and religions in africa, worse, they probably have a hard time locating a country like Zimbabwe on the map. So for 'others' to care about africa a lot more PR needs top be done about what is really going on and why.
Permalink Send private email Locutus of Borg 
July 16th, 2007 7:39am
>The president has guns and is paranoid and mentally retarded.
>They seem to be following him enthusiastically into deeper and deeper hell instead.
>So easy to have a fuckup in charge who just guts the economy because he is stupid.
Mugabe is just a black george bush.
Permalink Peter 
July 16th, 2007 9:04am
The best realistic (and most likely) solution is for some segment of the pro-government forces to switch sides when it sees the writing on the wall, and the regime to collapse from within as more and more internal support flows away. Kind of like Marcos in the Philippines, but without the people power.

The downside is that many ex-government thugs will retain positions of power and immunity.

But this may not happen until Mugabe's dead or his death bed.
Permalink s 
July 16th, 2007 9:15am
Well, as someone who is white and lives in South Africa, all I can say is black rule is a mixed blessing. On the one hand we have to put up with idiots in power, nepotism, cronyism etc. On the other hand we're no longer the unmentionable apartheid pariahs of the world and we get to blame the current crazy governmental fuck-ups squarely on black shoulders :D (*waits for the wrath of sharkfish*)
Permalink Bluebeard 
July 16th, 2007 9:30am
Wow.  The government is ordering shops to sell below wholesale?

What a bunch of retards.

I'm sure anyone with intelligence has already fled the country.  This will just cause anyone of even moderate intelligence to leave.  If for no other reason than their businesses are now bankrupt.
Permalink xampl 
July 16th, 2007 9:44am
It's entirely rational from Mugabe's point of view.

A lot of people who oppose the government flee the country, meanwhile his supporters get rewarded for their loyalty with hand-outs, so they stay loyal. If it wrecks the economy in the process, he doesn't care.

This is the key:

"Mr Mugabe is pressing a law through parliament in the coming weeks that will require all businesses to be at least 51% Zimbabwean owned and managed.

Zanu-PF has dressed up the move as an affirmative action measure to help previously disadvantaged black people. But firms will not be able to choose their new partners. They will be selected by the government. The measure will be paid for by taxing the same businesses forced to hand over control."

Who do you think is going to get the free handouts?
Permalink s 
July 16th, 2007 9:56am
> A lot of people who oppose the government flee the country, meanwhile his supporters get rewarded for their loyalty with hand-outs,

This is sorta the common myth that there's a fixed amount of economic value in the country. So if some people (first the white farmers, now the middle class black shopkeepers) are persuaded, cajoled and threatened to leave, there will be more stuff to go around for those left behind. All they have to do is raid the vaults.

Nonsense. The farmer's land is worth far less without the knowledge of how to till it, and what/where to sell. The shopkeeper also operates in a network system of mutual boat-lifting.

Sigh. Poor country. The double whammy of a doting dictator and of the resource curse.
Permalink Send private email strawdog sobriquet 
July 16th, 2007 10:14am
> This is sorta the common myth that there's a fixed amount of economic value in the country.

Maybe.

But, I'm pretty sure they know the economy is going down, and don't care.  It's possible for some people (the supporters) to get more, even while the country as a whole becomes poorer.
Permalink s 
July 16th, 2007 10:17am
So it's a case of the looters being in charge.

Get the goods, and get out before the airport closes.
Permalink xampl 
July 16th, 2007 11:35am
He's blaming it on the west. Of course he knows that it's him that is raping and pillaging the economy.
Permalink Send private email Colm 
July 16th, 2007 11:37am
As a black Zimbabwean, I would say that most of the folk commenting here have no idea what is going on in Zimbabwe.
Permalink Send private email Tapiwa 
July 16th, 2007 1:20pm
So educate us, Tapiwa.  Please.
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
July 16th, 2007 1:29pm
Well thanks for straightening it all out.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 16th, 2007 1:34pm
*crickets*

Which is a shame, even a short blurb by someone who's from there and maybe still has contacts there would be interesting.
Permalink Send private email Ward 
July 16th, 2007 1:50pm
Yup.  What IS Mugabe trying to achieve?  Why SHOULD he have kicked out all those profitable (but white) farmers?  How hard would it be for Mugabe to be replaced?
Permalink SaveTheHubble 
July 16th, 2007 1:54pm
Doris Lessing, she's from South Rhodesia, blames it on Mugabe personally (2003):
http://www.insiderzim.com/ap03guest.html

"One man is associated with the calamity, Robert Mugabe. For a while I wondered if the word "tragedy" could be applied here, greatness brought low, but Mugabe, despite his early reputation, was never great; he was always a frightened little man. There is a tragedy, all right, but it is Zimbabwe's."
Permalink ipmal 
July 16th, 2007 2:09pm
I had no idea Lessing was Rhodesian!
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 16th, 2007 2:41pm
"As a black Zimbabwean, I would say that most of the folk commenting here have no idea what is going on in Zimbabwe."

Tapiwa is right. No-one really knows what's going on in Zim because of the blitz on the media in that country, so reliable information is hard to come by.

Zim is the favourite target of the white opposition in South Africa because the South African government is in tacit agreement with Mugabe. He's given a hero's welcome in South Africa, where many black South africans see him as an indigenous leader who knows how to stick it to the West.

My feelings are hey, this is Africa, it's not gonna change so we whites must either fit in or fuck off. The latter is becoming an increasingly appealing prospect for me.
Permalink Bluebeard 
July 16th, 2007 2:46pm
Hey Bluebeard, come to this country, you can be an African American! (:=)
Permalink LeftWingPharisee 
July 16th, 2007 4:40pm
> Tapiwa is right. No-one really knows what's going on in Zim

No one knows? Him and yourself too?

We know because we've seen it before. The non-zero sum system unravels into each person grabbing as much they can.
Permalink Send private email  
July 16th, 2007 4:53pm
PE has evidently not been following the situation that closely or he wouldn't have made the idiotic comments about the international media presenting two sides to the matter, or about the people being behind Zimbabwe.

Mugabe remains in power because he has a brutal collection of thugs backing him up and those who oppose him get shunted off to the middle of nowhere and refused food aid. In practise much of the population has left for South Africa, and these emigrants are supporting their family members that temain.

As far as any kind of intervention goes, the ball is in Mbeki's court, it's his corner of the world, and Mbeki doesn't feel like doing anything.
Permalink Send private email Stephen Jones 
July 17th, 2007 1:07am
Why would it be Mbeki's responsiblity to fix Zimbabwe? Where would he find the time when he's not fucking up South Africa anyway.

The best we could hope for with him is to stop actively supporting Mugabwe.

Jones, please don't pretend you know jack shit about the situation because you don't. You are a complete fake.
Permalink Practical Economist 
July 17th, 2007 2:03am

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