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Zimbabwe – What Happened? December 19, 2006

Posted by Dan in Middle East, Must Read, News, Politics.
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Administrative divisions of Zimbabwe.
“A rat infested nation of beggars…” says CNN.  Its true, the population is starving to death, with hundreds of thousands homeless and jobless, in what was once considered the bread basket of Southern Africa.  So how does a country go from prosperity to poverty?

Believe it or not, since the country’s independence in 1980, the legally elected President Robert Mugabe (who at 82 years old, still leads the country) and his Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) party have lead the country into the ground, and won every election doing it.

Politics, however, can’t be blamed for everything.  In 1992, a massive drought forced the nation to declare a state of emergency, costing them much of their previous food supply.

Most recently, following elections in 2005, Mugabe initiated “Operation Murambatsvina,” roughly translated as “Operation Drive Out Rubbish.”  Specifically targeting those who had opposed the ZANU government in its most recent elections, the program literally bulldozed their homes and places of work to the ground.

The UN says more than 700,000 people were left homeless by this action.  Many are forced to live in what shelter they can find, built of old car parts and bits of wood, eating what food they manage to scavenge from their rubbled surroundings.

A clear example of failed government, and an oppressed population that could actually use our help.  Recreating that government from the ground up is maybe the worst thing we could do.  As seen in Iraq, this just tends to make things worse.  However, Zimbabwe needs food, medical supplies, cheap housing, basic infrastructure that American companies should be able to provide.  Lets learn from the disaster of Iraq and apply the lessons to those in dire need of help.  This is the way to honor the memory of the soldiers who died there… not by sending more to their deaths.

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