A thought for Zimbabwe

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    Mar 30, 2008 3:29 PM GMT
    As you may be aware, there was yesterday a presidential election in Zimbabwe. Perhaps you know that the incumbent de-facto dictator Robert Mugabe has clung onto power for years, rigging recent elections even as the country has crumbled due to a collapse of farming and hyperinflation.

    It is as inconceivable that Mugabe has in fact won the election as it is that he will relinquish power easily. Unlike in Kenya, there is not a serious political line between the major ethnic groups (there is a fair old bit of anger over Shona killings in Matabeleland after independence, but the present predicament is universal), but there may yet be violence if Mugabe resists a negative result.

    The leading opposition (the Movement for Democratic Change led my Morgan Tsvangarai) have peremptorily declared victory. You may see the official and opposition counts as they come in here. You may also like to read the brilliant, heart-wrenching and yet comical This is Zimbabwe blog.

    I ask you to spare a thought today for our brothers in Zimbabwe, a country that we think too little on in the west. As LGBT people who have had to fight for our freedom, we ought at least stand alongside those people who must fight to secure theirs.
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    Mar 30, 2008 6:09 PM GMT
    Rhodesia had it's act together.
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    Mar 30, 2008 6:12 PM GMT
    John43620 saidRhodesia had it's act together.


    So did the Holy Roman Empire. Colonialism had nothing on feudalism. Do you know how hard it is to get a good vassal nowadays?
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Mar 30, 2008 6:23 PM GMT
    Hah, the Holy Roman Empire and the rest...

    Norway should have maintained Vinland and kept colonizing in-land. Then those damnable vikings could have had a multisided front and invaded the British Isle well and proper.

    A sustained Vinland would have also allowed Norway to recover better from this feller (and we'd all be living in socialist democracies):

    The Black Death

    yersinia_pestis.jpg

    ***
    Imagine it...a "US" founded by a culture whose mythology included divine transvestism and bestiality...far more fun than those crucifix-up-their-a**es Puritans ^_^
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    Mar 30, 2008 9:20 PM GMT
    It's an interesting phenomenon how post colonial African states devolve into a mess after the colonial power leaves.
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    Mar 30, 2008 9:31 PM GMT
    John43620 saidIt's an interesting phenomenon how post colonial African states devolve into a mess after the colonial power leaves.


    It's not really that hard to see why, though. The colonial power has to exercise authority with a fairly firm and often brutal hand or they'd be overrun. When they left, invariably there was a lot of anger in the populace, and a mad scramble for booty. Eventually a strongman arises, like Bokassa or Amin, because the population is tired of tribal warfare and rampant theft. Then the corruption becomes institutionalized, as under Mugabe.

    The only exceptions to this, worldwide, were Hong Kong and India. And Hong Kong simply was handed from one colonizing power to another.
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    Mar 30, 2008 9:39 PM GMT
    Well there isn't much we can do about it. It would be so Politically Incorrect to step in.
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    Mar 31, 2008 1:30 AM GMT
    Botswana is a very successful state. And South Africa is hardly unsuccessful. African states that adopt democratic norms and good governance are successful; there is nothing intrinsically faulty about African states and it is frankly racist to suggest there is.

    Zimbabwe's decline is recent and very specifically due to a specific Zanu-PF land reform policy. Under the terms of the Lancaster House agreement which ended the Rhodesian civil war, the United Kingdom and additionally the US agreed to compensate commercial farmers for their land which was supposed to be redistributed to native Zimbabweans. All well and good and necessary in a country where 90% of the land was owned by 5% of the population (who were all white). It is difficult to see how the Former Colonial Power (the UK) could have behaved better in this case with regard to independence: Rhodesia declared independence unilaterally because the white minority administration would not accept the UK's policy that an independent Rhodesia had to have a representative government (i.e. not a white majority one).

    Anyway, the UK and US made those payments throughout the 80s but eventually stopped them when it became clear that the compensated land was not going to those who needed it but was being given to Mugabe cronies. Mugabe then in the 90s began to encourage "war veterans" to illegally squat on commercial farms. Farms were then illegally repossessed without compensation by the government and redistributed to Mugabe cronies. It is not surprising then, that the agricultural sector of the economy went into a steep decline very quickly. With the recession that came on, the government began printing more money and sent the country into hyperinflation, causing the collapse of the rest of the economy.

    Thus we have the status quo.