Wednesday, April 02, 2008

In Harare

I am not sure if you have been following developments in Zimbabwe over the past few days.

Once regarded as one of the most prosperous nations on the African continent, Zimbabwe is now a basket case, with widespread poverty, a worthless currency, a half-dead economy and inflation running at more than 100,000 per cent per annum. No, that’s no misprint.

The man responsible for all this misery is Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the place for the past 28 years with an iron fist.

Mugabe is a thug who harasses opposition politicians, rigs elections, uses the army and para-military forces to suppress dissent and leads an extravagant lifestyle while the vast majority of his 12 million subjects go hungry due to his idiotic economic policies.

Needless to say, one of his closet allies for decades has been Fidel Castro.

Mind you, compared to the Castro brothers, the sad truth is that Mugabe could be described as an enlightened democrat. Almost.

Unlike his friends in Havana, the Zimbabwean dictator tolerates opposition groups (between arrests, that is), and holds regular elections where opposition candidates are allowed to run and sometimes, even win seats in the legislature.

But you know how it is … sometimes, even rigged elections can turn out to be, well, real elections.

Which is what has happened in Zimbabwe over the weekend.

Despite widespread fraud, and intimidation and harassment of opposition supporters, it is now clear that most Zimbabweans voted to get rid of Mugabe and his crew, according to the international media.

It seems that the vote was so obviously against Mugabe the regime has had second thoughts about announcing rigged results and declaring the old man re-elected, as they have done in the past.

Instead, there are reports that Mugabe is under pressure from his own side to face the inevitable, give up his throne and take his loot and seek refuge elsewhere as a matter of urgency.

I hope that’s the case.

Meanwhile, in Havana …


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