Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Zimbabwe: My God

First, a little scene-setting: Go read this Newsweek article on the state of the Zimbabwean economy. It is the most shocking thing you will read today. Guaranteed.

Now, we switch over to election news. Zimbabwe went to the polls this past Saturday. While it appears the opposition has won a majority in the Assembly, no one knows who won the presidency yet. That sound shady to you? It should.

Robert Mugabe, president since Zimbabwe was formed from unilaterally-independent Rhodesia (actually, there was a British colonial step in-between, called Zimbabwe-Rhodesia) in 1980, has rigged elections in the past. And that was before he went completely nuts. In recent years, his paranoia and isolation from the rest of his countrymen has grown at an exponential rate. Think he's not capable of stealing an election? Then I have some Zimbabwean currency I'd like to sell you.

How do you bankrupt a country which is blessed with fertile soil and abundant natural resources? Well, the Burmese have managed to do it, but even they can't hold a candle to Zimbabwe. This nation has been screwed for over a hundred years - read a bit about how it was treated by Cecil Rhodes and his British South Africa Company to get a sense of just how bad the screwing was - but, even with that, it has been a relatively prosperous and stable country until recently. Now? It's the most f**ked up country on Earth.

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