Friday, June 10, 2005

Ticks and other destructive parasites in Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe is a scumbag.

I don't usually resort to ad hominem. And I know some readers get offended when I call a spade a spade. But this is as diplomatic as I can be with regard to the destructive megalomaniac who's ruined Zimbabwe.

While there are many African figures I dislike, there are very few I passionately detest. Former Liberian dictator and indicted war criminal Charles Taylor is a despicable, loathesome human being. So is Uganda's mad rebel leader Joseph Kony. While perhaps not quite yet at Taylor's or Kony's level yet, Robert Mugabe is another that gets my utmost contempt.

Sure, he blames western imperialism and Tony Blair for all his country's ills, even the self-inflicted ones. While his bellicose speeches are the main thing that gets him both scorn (from the west) and approval (from many Africans), rhetoric is the least of his crimes. He gets much attention in the western media for his land seizures from white farmers; this is done under the pretext of 'redistribution' to poor blacks but most of the land goes to his cronies. Again, this gets the headlines in London but by far the worst victims of Mugabe's madness are not whites, but ordinary poor blacks (and most are now poor because of the destruction of economy by Mugabe's regime); the latter don't have money to flee to South Africa or Britain.

(For a more comprehensive case against Mugabe, click here)

Now, Mugabe's ZANU-PF regime has decided to engage in a mass razing of townships in the capital Harare. What the dictatorship describes as a "vigorous clean-up campaign to restore sanity [sic]" has reportedly left at least 200,000 people homeless.

"The current chaotic state of affairs where [small businesses] operated ... in unregulated and crime-ridden areas could not have been tolerated for much longer," the dictator said at the state opening of Parliament without the slightest hint of irony.

The repression in Harare couldn't possibly have been related to the fact that residents of the capital overwhelmingly supported the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in recent elections.

Mugabe came to power via a Marxist-theme liberation war against the previous apartheid regime. Marxist liberation movements are usually founded on the principle of fighting for people who are poor and oppessed... not making people poor and oppressed. How rendering 200,000 poor black people homeless for purely capricious reasons squares with ZANU-PF's alleged 'liberation' struggle is beyond me. The answer is that this is that the only ideology the ZANU-PF criminals now have is staying in power at all costs.

But Mugabe better watch out. The so-called War Veterans are a group of militia-style gangs that have long terrorized ZANU-PF's opponents. It appears that the "War Veterans" actually believe in the Liberation ideology that Mugabe and his ilk cast aside long ago in exchange for absolute power. A former "War Veterans" leader recently lambasted the government over its violent clean-up campaign, warning that it faced the wrath of "people power" as tension mounted ahead of today's planned mass action, according to one of the country's few independent papers, the Financial Gazette. The former leader had previously criticized the regime for giving certain individuals multiple seized farms. He warned that the regime had "ignited a bonfire, which is going to backfire."

The state-run rag The Herald claims that farmers have welcomed the creation of 200,000 homeless people. The paper interestingly admitted that the surge in 'illegal traders' in the cities was a result of the regime's land policy.

At the peak of the fast-track resettlement programme, significant numbers of former farm workers had migrated to urban areas where they were earning a living as vendors or through other unconventional means.

As a result, A number of farmers have not been producing to their capacity as a result of inadequate labour, notes the state daily.

In other words, the 'land reform' created large swathes of rural unemployed who then moved to urban areas for work. So the cities are overpopulated with laborers with skills unsuited to urban work while rural areas have too few people to work the farms.

Sorry Bob, but those policies were yours, not those Tony Blair or your scapegoat of the day.

Another article in the state paper was entitled: War Against Ticks Persists. Apparently the climate in Zimbabwe is quite hospitable to destructive parasites.

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