I have a blog about the problems in Zimbabwe.

SokwaneleBlog has a link to an ITV report saying that the reporters think that things may be coming to a head.

This is a country whose vibrant agricultural economy was destroyed by Mugabe in the name of “land reform”. Well, we had land reform in the Philippines, and what Mugabe did was not land reform. Essentially he grabbed the land and “gave” it to his cronies. Some farm workers were actually thrown off. Others “grabbed” the farm but lacked the expertise to run generators/tractors/irrigation. As a result, there has been famine. Dry spells come every couple years, but usually the surplus from the large farms with irrigation and the money from selling exports like tobacco and tea enabled the government to import grain. Now this is missing.

The lack of food enabled the government, who controlled food supplies, to win the last election, since it was understood no vote no food. And suburbs that tended to be against Mugabe were then “cleanedup” in Operation take out the trash, where shops, homes, and buildings that lacked “official papers” were simply destroyed– and this included an HIV clinic run by a friend of mine.

The economy continued to fall, with inflation now over 1000%, partly due to the government printing money when they needed it. Doctors who could not afford to live on their salary went on strike, (they now have returned) and although the opposition is divided, there is an increase in unrest by Union activists.

The unusual report from the ITV that is on the above link is unusual because reporters are often prevented from visiting activists and are forbidden from visiting rural areas. Even NGO’s are under suspicion in this matter, and forced to cooperate with the government.

Having lived under the Smith regieme, this sounds like fascism has returned, with the difference is that no one was starving under the white racist government.

In today’s Zimbabwe, famine stalks the land, much of the healthy who can work have fled to other countries, especially South Africa, and those left behind have a high rate of HIV.

On April 18th those of us who still have friends there will be having a Pray for Zimbabwe day. It is hoped to raise awareness in the churches of the world and lead to public recognition of the problems there, in a similar way that Christian groups were the first to raise awareness about the genocide in Dafur.

Given the experience of Dafur, I have little hope that the UN or even the African Union will intervene, but if you have nothing to do that day, say a little prayer for the people in Zimbabwe.

Athiests and agnostics can just address their prayer “To whom it may concern”. And if you are a woman, you might want to check out the Dignity Period campaign. Yes, it is what it sounds like…and when HIV is a common problem, it is no laughing matter.

Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines, Her website is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket and she blogs about Zimbabwe at Makaipa Blog.