A Few Facts about Zimbabwe

Did you know that:

During Mugabe’s rule the average life span of Zimbabweans has fallen from 65 to 30 years, the lowest in the world? Mugabe himself is 84.

Mugabe was inspired by Gandhi’s passive resistance movement and once vowed to use similar principles to help his own nation gain independence? He has, however, killed tens of thousands of people in ethnic cleansings since taking power.

Zimbabwe, under Mugabe, has the highest inflation rate of any currency in the world? Current estimates put it at 100,000%. Money is virtually useless.

Zimbabwe was once called the “breadbasket of the world”? Since Mugabe began his program of forcefully taking farms from white farmers and redistributing them (primarily to friends and political cronies), 1/3 of the population has had to rely on the World Food Program to avoid starvation.

In 2005, 10,000 of the poorest Zimbabweans were left without a home when Mugabe had the shantytown to which he had has his administration relocate these people destroyed? One of Mugabe’s many palaces was only a mile down the road.

Zimbabwe has the potential to be a wonderful place. The marvelous Victoria Falls lies on its border. Splendid African wildlife roams its plains. The land is arable and has a history of abundant production. The education system was once one of the best in Africa. In the 28 years that Robert Mugabe has ruled, however, Zimbabwe has been brought to its knees, virtually destroyed by a man the world once thought would save it.

Things do not look good, but on April 2, there was a ray of hope, as word leaked out that Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change had garnered over 50% of the votes in the March 29 election. A run-off was supposed to occur within three weeks between Tsvangirai and Mugabe. It looked like regime change might be on the way. However, Mugabe, not surprisingly, has not been cooperating with the process. Official results have yet to be released, and Mugabe has cried foul in regards to the counting of votes. He has also begun to crack down harshly on opponents, arrest journalists, and instigate violence in order to derail a run-off.

The future of Zimbabwe is at a crucial point. We must hope that the pendulum swings in the right direction. We must also do more than hope. I strongly urge each of you to contact your congress person, your president, and the United Nations to ask them to do everything in their power to see to it that this election process can continue and continue peacefully.

U.S. Representative to the United Nations: Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad, usa@un.int, (212) 415-4000
The president: comments@whitehouse.gov, 202-456-1111
Find your representative’s info: https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtml
Find your senator’s info: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

4 Replies to “A Few Facts about Zimbabwe”

  1. I spent 3 weeks in Zimbabwe in October. It is an amazing country with amazing people, but the situation is pretty awful. I hope you will take advantage of traveling there despite all the news. We have a team over there right now doing medical missions in Harare (where I was). I also spent some time near Nyanga which was gorgeous—at a place called the Inn on the Ruparara. Amazing. There were still a decent number of tourists there in October. We stayed at the Meikles Hotel in Harare. I really wish I could have gotten over to Victoria Falls. I’ve been to both Zimbabwe and Zambia on separate trips and still haven’t gotten over there!!

  2. I was just listening to a story about this on NPR this morning. They made it sound pretty hopeless. It doesn’t sound like Mugabe is going to be giving up power any time soon–not without a fight. At least he’s old–hopefully he’s not one of those people who makes it past 100.

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