Saturday, August 27, 2016

Zimbabwe 2016

President Mugabe has been in power in Zimbabwe  since independence in 1980. Unemployment there is reportedly as high as 95% and affects millions of people. The attention Zimbabwe receives these days from the media is so far as I can see small, if not minimal.

The hideous tactics of ISIS and supporters of their kind of killing and thuggery receive front page news almost daily and of course their inhumanity to man woman and child is so grotesque that the media may feel almost obliged to report the many ISIS evils that occur.

The population of Zimbabwe numbers about 16 million men women and children - far more even than those slaughtered by  ISIS though of course the hideous actions of  ISIS, affect millions of people around the globe.

Largely the people of Zimbabwe are peaceful and in many ways fun loving.

However since independence from the UK in 1980 there has  been no improvement in the  average standard of living in that country - indeed sadly the reverse given the 231 million% inflation rate in 2008 which led to currency of the kind depicted below:

Although the UK as the former colonial power has  a responsibility, many of the former UK colonies are if not thriving at least improving in their post independence years - take India and South Africa for example and South Africa is geographically adjacent to Zimbabwe.

My personal opinion is that rather than engage with the USA in Iraq Syria or Libya (not sure about Afghanistan)  we should have taken firm action in Zimbabwe, given our colonial responsibility.

The Times today reports  that hundreds of riot police using tear gas and water canon stopped a mass demonstration against President Mugabe yesterday in some of the worst violence in Harare for 20 years, Sadly this hardly rates as news in 2016 yet the 92 year old president still hangs on to power there.

I recall a few years ago, being asked to give a brief after dinner speech to some  young children from a Catholic School in Zimbabwe  on their first evening in the UK attending  at a local Catholic School in Wimbledon. There was consternation as the ambassador to Zimbabwe arrived unannounced to attend the supper. A key question then arose at least for me of whether the speech should be altered from one of welcome to the children to one of virtual  political harangue, for the ambassador's benefit.

In the event common sense and the welfare of the children prevailed. However the world in general and the UK in particular, does need to focus more on the welfare of the 95% of the 16 million souls living in Zimbabwe.

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