Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bitter Harvest

It seems the chickens are beginning to roost.

For further reference, see You Reap What you Sow and Plowing Zimbabwe Under.

Fancy that. The Marxist dream is failing, yet again.

From Reuters:
HARARE, April 12 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's rapid economic decline has triggered desperation among city dwellers that could turn planned opposition protests against President Robert Mugabe's government into a potent force.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai dramatically raised the stakes last month when he proposed mass protests at a time when the country is battling its worst economic downturn since independence and has the world's highest inflation rate.

"We are on the brink ... and anyone who thinks the political situation is manageable at this rate of economic deterioration is going to be shocked," John Makumbe, a political scientist at Harare's University of Zimbabwe, told Reuters.

"For many people, especially in the urban areas, life has become unaffordable and unbearable and these people are waiting to vent their anger through mass demonstrations," said Makumbe, a critic of the government.

The government, while acknowledging the economic crisis, says it remains optimistic but in private officials say rising prices and unemployment above 70 percent are stoking anger, especially in cities.

Last week Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate, measured through the consumer price index (CPI), jumped to 913.6 percent for the year to March from 782 percent in February.

Experts expect the rate to soar way over 1,000 percent by mid-year and Zimbabwe also faces shortages of fuel, food and foreign currency and breaking sewerage systems, power and water cuts, uncollected domestic garbage and deteriorating roads.

It amounts to the worst economic situation since Mugabe led the country to independence from Britain in 1980 and the time when Zimbabwe was one of Africa's most prosperous states is a distant memory, political and economic analysts say.
Mugabe's plan to take over the white-owned farms and return his people to the land - and only his people - has destroyed his nation's economy and created a nation of refugees waiting for their next handout.

What is truly sad about that is that it never had to happen. Before Mugabe, Zimbabwe was a net exporter of food. No more.

Socialism is a failure. Socialism coupled to naked ambition and totalitarian impulses, plus a desire to keep one step ahead of the mob, leads to disaster and dissolution.

Hopefully South Africa can avoid these mistakes. But who knows. Zimbabwe had a lot of potential, too.

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