Perceptions

18 09 2007

A BBC World Service radio report this morning said that Zimbabwe was closer than ever to total collapse. That is undoubtedly true, but it did not say how far away the total collapse is; tomorrow, next year? You would not have thought so driving around today. There was still substantial traffic on the roads and nothing to suggest that collapse is imminent which is rather what the newsreader said. I am not at all sure that Zimbabwe will “collapse” whatever that means. Diamonds and platinum are still pouring out of the ground and more people are leaving the country to send back more money. I am still very aware of new building going on and there are still new luxury cars appearing on the road. Of course we are all still making a plan to get food and other essentials. It’s all by word of mouth and casual conversation. You know somebody who can give you the phone number of someone else who has eggs for sale. Etc.

Also in the same report was Mark Malloch-Brown (member of the British cabinet) who seemed to think that if the world got behind Thabo Mbeki’s peace initiative significant pressure could be brought to bear on Robert Mugabe. For those not aware, Mbeki has for some time now been behind talks in Pretoria between the two major political parties in Zimbabwe. The main opposition, the MDC, is hopelessly divided and to show their contempt, the governing ZANU-PF did not even bother showing up for the opening of the discussions. They hold all the cards so what is there to negotiate? I would guess that these talks about talks have been ongoing for at least two months with no noticeable results. I would have expected more from Mr Malloch-Brown who is an old UNDP hand with a lot of African experience.


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