Tuesday, August 20, 2002

As You Sow, So Shall You Reap

The question would warrant a wager if the results weren’t so grotesque: How many Zimbabweans are going to die unnecessarily of famine in the next year? Despite the warnings of international aid agencies and impartial observers, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is proceeding with his plan to force white farmers off of their lands, allocating the land to black citizens instead. This comes at the same time as a severe drought, which would have required that the nation’s farms be as efficient and productive as possible just to keep yields stable. With the current owners of the farms being harassed, attacked and imprisoned and the new “owners” lacking the necessary experience and equipment, that is clearly not a goal that is going to be attained. Thus, the very landless peasants that Mugabe is purporting to help are the ones most likely to die in fly-covered droves over the next several months. And perhaps not surprisingly, diplomatic observers have noticed the flood of appropriated land flowing not in the direction of the average poor Zimbabwean, but into the already bulging pockets of Mugabe’s cronies and ruling party apparatchiks. Just when you though things in Africa couldn’t get any worse.


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