Mugabe says that both Blair and Brown are “blooming fools” and “devilish liars”… (Reuters, Africa).  Anticipating opposition protests when he declares himself winner of the presidential elections on March 29, Mugabe told supporters in the context of the riots that took place in Kenya that, “If Tsvangirai and his (MDC) group have such plans, they must stand warned,”… “That will never happen here, never, never. We will never allow it. We have enough security forces to handle that.”  The fact that no opposition leaders have made any such threat seems of no concern to Mugabe.

Meanwhile, a Zimbabwean member of parliament estimates that conditions in Zimbabwe are worse than in Darfur (CATO Institute).  Despite this, the person most responsible for this, Robert Mugabe is likely to retain power as the country’s executive president after the elections.  “Few people believe that the elections will be free and fair…”

What the economic collapse since the birth of Zimbabwe in 1980 means to ordinary people is summarised by Cathy Buckle in her latest weekly newsletter.  She reminds us that when Mugabe and ZanuPF first assumed power, inflation inherited from the Rhodesian government was 7%.  (It’s worth remembering that despite Rhodesia having fought a 15 year war against Mugabe’s terrorists, and suffering probably the most aggressive sanctions ever imposed by the United Nations and the British Government against any country, Rhodesia’s inflation was lower than in the USA at the time, which had then just peaked at around 26%)

By 2002, inflation in Zimbabwe had reached 113% (compared with US inflation, which in 2002 had come down to 4%).  Even then in Zimbabwe, maize meal (the staple diet), sugar, cooking oil and margarine were not available in shops, and a dozen eggs cost a hundred and fifty dollars.

Now in 2008, inflation is estimated at well over 100,000% (some say 150,000%) and a dozen eggs (if you can find them) cost the equivalent of 36 BILLION dollars.  …Yet Mugabe is confident of winning another term as President…

The only thing that surprised me about these statistics is just how long it has taken Mugabe and his cohorts to utterly destroy what was once a vibrant economy – today, Rhodesia is often described as having been the most successful economy in Africa.  No wonder African leaders described Rhodesia as the “Jewel of Africa” when Mugabe came to power in 1980.

Sunday Times (March 23) correspondent Christina Lamb wrote that everyone she spoke to during a recent tour across Zimbabwe “from the townships of Bulawayo to the rural areas in Mugabe’s home province of Mashonaland West” is demanding change (from Mugabe’s rule).  So how will Mugabe “win” this election?  By rigging the voting system with boundary changes, ghost voters, and placing policemen in voting boxes “…to help disabled people vote…”  These are just a few of Mugabe’s tricks.

It will be very interesting to see what happens at the end of this week.  For the sake of this once beautiful country and its people, I hope they are able to make the changes they long for.  It must be hell on earth living in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe…

END

Author, Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists.  His novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesia’s war on terror, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.  http://www.peterdaviesbooks.com

Readers who would like to make a contribution to help innocent pensioners, who are unable to buy food and other basic necessities in Zimbabwe, should please contact Patricia Williams by email patashnix@btinternet.com.

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