The situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate.

That country has gone from being a breadbasket and exporter of food with a vibrant economy and well educated population to a collapsed economy with 1000 percent inflation, ten percent of the population fleeing to find work, and an 80 percent umemployment rate.

The opposition has not been successful in uniting to oppose the government due to feuding, but one has to realize that those opposing Mugabe do so at some risk. Since food aid is funneled thru the government, they can withhold food aid to areas that oppose him. Indeed, “Operation cleanup” was essentially political retribution against the middle class suburbs and businesses who had voted against Mugabe’s political party. “Operation cleanup” was touted as slum clearance, but left 700 000 people homeless. This essentially dispersed many who would join in demonstrations, since many fled to rural areas and others fear for furthur repression. Also, in rural areas where there is famine, it is understood that food aid from NGO’s is funneled through the government.

Yet the real danger is not merely the tyranny of Mugabe, but that non violence will not lead to a peaceful reform of that government.

The BBC now reports that a peaceful prayer rally and demonstration was dispersed by police with tear gas and water cannons, and the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested.

The failure of Mugabe to allow any opposition of his policies by opposing political parties makes many worry that when change comes, Zimbabwe might deteriorate into chaos and anarchy.

There is also a power vacuum in Mugabe’s political party. Last December, opposition members of Mugabe’s own party were not allowed to chose their own selection of candidates for election. Instead, they were required to submit and agree to Mugabe’s personal selection.

Indeed, there is worry that if something should happen to the elderly Mugabe that a power vacuum will occur, and that country will deterioate into anarchy.

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Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket. She writes about Zimbabwe on Makaipa blogspot.

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