|A Nation In the Throes of Death|
Developments in Zimbabwe had at last reached the Western media, when they were almost completely swamped by news of the financial collapse brought about by the greed of many Western bankers and financiers. At the time of writing the financial panic overshadows all other news. Yet disaster has befallen Zimbabwe.
In the March 29th Zimbabwe elections, presidential and parliamentary, Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party were defeated. Encouraged by his generals in his Joint Operation Command, Mugabe refused to step down and in view of the narrowness of the majority insisted on a run-off election finally to settle the presidency. This he won by his time-honored tactics of terror, intimidation and violence. His ministers, though voted out, stayed put. Some are still driving their ministerial cars and occupying their ministerial offices! They are acting as if nothing had happened. They care nothing for the fate of the ordinary people. They realise that this state of things cannot go on forever, but are organising a monumental filibuster to enable them to loot the store while they can. And this is what they are doing, while the country spirals down into misery, starvation and sheer gangsterism.
Zimbabwe now has the highest inflation rate in the world, the highest unemployment and the lowest life expectation - about 30 years.
Mugabe has reluctantly accepted the unity government for which his friend Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa, worked so long. Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, Leader of the Opposition and the rightfully elected President of the country, has become Prime Minister. He had little choice. In spite of his resistance Mugabe has insisted on retaining all the important ministries. A month after the unity agreement Mugabe has yielded almost nothing. (He went off to the United Nations to denounce Britain). Unless the Movement for Democratic Change (Tsvangirai's party) can control at the very least Home Affairs and the Police, and finance, all hopes of economic development, and foreign aid and investment will remain mere dreams.
For ordinary Zimbabweans nothing has changed, except for the worse. The shops are almost bare. Business and agriculture are almost at a standstill. Desperation is widespread. Mugabe is still the obstacle standing in the way of all progress. The country is sitting on enormous opportunities of material wealth and prosperity, but the lot of the majority of the people remains poverty, misery and starvation. Mr. Tsvangirai has a hard-won majority in Parliament. But he will need little less than genius to dislodge Mugabe and his Pf-PF.
If there is human hope, it lies in the guarantors of the unity agreement. These are the Southern African Development Community and the African Union. Both have long ignored Mr. Tsvangirai's appeal for intervention, and Mugabe kept telling his friend Thabo Mbeki of South Africa that all was well.
Meanwhile, one by one our friends are leaving Zimbabwe in desperation. Some are coming to Britain, where the RCG and the Zimbabwe-Rhodesia Relief Fund offer what help they can. They urgently need our prayers. But they need too the practical financial help which in present circumstances it is becoming more difficult to give. Here we depend on you. Giving is indeed harder now than in the past. Yet we are still infinitely better off than those who are being driven from Zimbabwe, leaving their everything behind. With God's help we have stood by our friends in the past. With His help we will not fail them now.
Rev. Fr. Arthur Lewis
Sent out by: