I've been following the news out of Zimbabwe since they held their national elections in March. It's not good.
The International Herald Tribune reported Monday on the flood of people escaping Zimbabwe into neighboring countries.
Sarah Ngewerume was driven to the river by despair.
She said she had seen gangs loyal to Zimbabwe's longtime president, Robert Mugabe, beating people — some to death — in the dusty roads of her village. She said Mugabe loyalists were sweeping the countryside with chunks of wood in their hands, demanding to see party identification cards and methodically hunting down opposition supporters.
"It was terrifying," said Ngewerume, a 49-year-old former shopkeeper.
Last week she waded across the Limpopo River, bribed a man fixing a border fence on the other side and slipped into a nearby South African farm.
She was among the latest desperate arrivals in what South Africa's biggest daily newspaper is calling "Mugabe's Tsunami," a wave of more than 1,000 people every day who are fleeing Zimbabwe across the Limpopo to escape into South Africa.
The elections were held March 29, and the preliminary results showed Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party defeated. This was good news and bad news at the same time. The good news was that Mugabe and his party were repudiated by an oppressed populace. The bad news was that there was no way Mugabe would accept the results.
The top US envoy to Africa has called for Mugabe to step down, but that hasn't happened. Instead, Zimbabwe ordered arms from China.
Zimbabwean blogger Izzy Mutanhaurwa, who fled to the UK, has this to say about the China arms deal:
The people of Zimbabwe would like to thank to the workers of the world who through their affiliated trade unions united in preventing guns earmarked for Mugabe's violent retribution against the people of Zimbabwe that voted him and his party out of power to be offloaded at an bay in Southern Africa. The ill-fated ship that has not been seen and is being forced to return to China and diplomatic offensive is on rise to extend Europe's arms embargo on Zimbabwe to the United Nations which would make China's arms trade with Zimbabwe illegal. What is puzzling about this whole situation is the deal to buy arms was done on the 1st of April, 2 days after the polls closed in Zimbabwe. It reveals the sinister motives of Mugabe who is killing innocent people to sustain his grip on Zimbabwe and continue to drag Zimbabwe into oblivion. What was so urgent that we needed arms weighing 77 tons and worth US$1.245 million just two days after the harmonized elections that Mugabe realized had lost? (emphasis added)
Here is the AP report about the inability of China to deliver the weapons to Zimbabwe.
Izzy has a couple good questions about Mugabe's--and China's--priorities.
Why is China not sending food that Zimbabweans need with 6.5 million facing famine, it would have been a good gesture from the Chinese to feed the hungry? Also what needs to be ascertained is where did Mugabe, Zimbabwe being broke as it find US$1.245 million to buy guns with?
The AP reported April 18, 2008, on a speech Mugabe gave commemorating Zimbabwe's Independence Day.
President Robert Mugabe belittled his political opponents as puppets of Britain, saying during independence celebrations Friday that the former colonial ruler wants Zimbabwe back.
Mugabe accused the opposition of wanting Zimbabwe to "go back to white people, to the British, the country we died for. It will never happen."
Izzy Mutanhaurwa has a slightly different take on Zimbabwe's independence:
Yesterday marked our independence from colonial rule which we achieved 28 years ago, but we are neither free nor are we independent having escaped the frying pan of from minority white rule for us to fall into the fire of the Mugabe's black on black brutality. What is happening in Zimbabwe today is a shameful betrayal of the reason why the real gallant heroes of Zimbabwe such as Tongogara took up arms to fight white minority rule that denied the majority black population the right to vote, they fought for one man one vote, they fought for self determination, they fought for the ability of every Zimbabwean to vote for a government of his choice.
But today 28 years later their sole objective for taking up arms is an illusion for the people of Zimbabwe, the economy of Zimbabwe has collapsed unable to bear the weight of the world's highest inflation which experts put at 300000% and will reach half a million percent before July, the health sector has collapsed people of Zimbabwe are dying of curable diseases, the education system has collapsed, just about 1 million people in Zimbabwe are in formal employment, 4 million have fled the dictator's regime to seek political and economic refuge mostly in South Africa and the UK including this writer. 6.5 million people face starvation, 3000 people die in Zimbabwe every week of HIV and AIDS the life expectancy has been reduced to 35 for men and 34 for women.
It's been nearly a month since the election, and no results have been officially released. The ruling party called for recounts.
Agence France-Presse reported yesterday that the first of the 23 hand-picked constituency recounts has been completed, and (Surprise!) ZANU-PF won.
And in a display of chutzpah, or maybe serious delusion, Mulindwa Muwange, a ZANU-PF supporter, places the blame for Zimbabwe's woes on anybody but Mugabe:
Today we are witnessing another... whom the 'white man' is trying to force to commit suicide.
This is Robert Mugabe, the President of Zimbabwe. Mugabe has been judged as a person who has messed up Zimbabwe's political and economic affairs.
Today's political chaos in Africa can be fairly blamed on the infiltration of neo-colonialists. Any African leader who falls out of favour with the West is undermined and his people are influenced to turn against him. Some of the opposition politicians are also agents of Western powers.
And some African governments are stooges; they blindly implement neo-colonialist policies in order to appease the West so that they retain their presidency.
The neo-colonialists have been organising a coup d'etat through the flawed elections! Unfortunately, Mugabe's advisers were not sharp enough to detect these tricks. Mugabe is accused of grabbing land from white farmers and re-distributing it to blacks.
Western media have made several attempts to portray Mugabe as the loser in the recent elections in which the winner is yet to be known.
As Mugabe demanded a re-count, Morgan Tsvirangai, the opposition leaders who is backed by the West, was appealing to Western powers, mainly Britain and the United States, to mount pressure.
Yes, Zimbabwe has become a living hell, but it has nothing to do with Robert Mugabe. It's the white man's fault, naturally.
And sometime soon, when Mugabe has finished "recounting" the votes, the official results will show that the country's people want Mugabe to stay in power. Of course he'll oblige them and shove Zimbabwe into deeper and deeper levels of hell.