Robert Mugabe is a deeply troubling figure. For a few years now, he was nasty, but predictably nasty. The world knew of his hatred for colonialism, and his country's white population served as an effective proxy for the big C. Policies such as his land redistribution policy, whilst incredibly destructive to both the rule of law and economy, made sense when seen through the prism of reflexive anti-white racism. In more recent times, his nastiness has become more unpredictable. This from CNN:
Police have destroyed tens of thousands of shacks, street stalls and even the vegetable gardens planted by the urban poor at a time of acute food shortages, since launching the program dubbed Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out Trash, on May 19. Estimates of the number affected range between 300,000 and 1.5 million.
Mugabe says the campaign is necessary to fight crime and maintain health standards in Zimbabwe's cities.
The rationale, presumably, is for Mugabe to punish his critics, with areas which recorded a low Mugabe vote in last year's election most heavily targeted. It is a further sign, though that Mugabe has gone troppo and is destroying the lives of his country's black population worse than any colonialist possibly could have.
To see the sadness of a country in ruins, it's worth checking out a few stories from The Standard and The Independent, two sister papers which represent almost the only critical voices in a nation run by an elected depsot. Take your pick out of these depressing stories of life in a failed state:
Clean-up forces 300 000 pupils out of school
By our own staff
EDUCATION, one of the sectors where Zimbabwe won world recognition for post-independence successes, is a major casualty of the government's on-going clean-up operation, The Standard can reveal.
The Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta) estimate that as many as 300 000 children have dropped out of school after their homes were destroyed.
Insult laws a gag on media - analysts
ZIMBABWE'S restrictive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) in combination with insult laws have inhibited public discussion and gagged media probes into shady deals by high-ranking officials.
Experts say democracy and economic prosperity are not possible without public accountability of its leaders and transparency in their transactions, and vigorous public discussion of issues and choices.
Insult laws are statutes that make it a criminal offense to "insult" the honour or dignity of public officials. These statutes are used as vehicles to prevent and punish journalistic scrutiny of public records and official misdemeanours.
Zim lacks way out of fuel crisis
THE International Monetary Fund, currently in the country this week, met with officials from the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) and the Ministry of Energy and learnt that Zimbabwe had no plan in place to save the country from the crippling fuel shortage.
Zimbabwe does not currently have any fuel in reserve as the shortages have continued to bite. This week fuel retailers said the country was experiencing its worst-ever fuel crisis with only a few service stations in Harare getting the commodity. There was virtually no fuel in smaller towns.
The impact of the shortages were also manifest during peak hours as many public transport operators have parked their vehicles due to the stockout.
Zim's domestic debt soars to $10 trillion
ZIMBABWE'S domestic debt has ballooned to $10 trillion from $7 trillion as of April this year as government continues to borrow from local banks to finance its budget deficit.