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Zimbabwe: Not even a Banana Republic…

Not so long ago the term for a mis-managed, non-performing, shambolic and rather-laughable-if-it-weren’t-so-sad country was to call it a “Banana Republic” because that was often the main export of such countries, their location frequently being between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn where bananas are most easily grown.

Except in Zimbabwe. All the productive farmland has been confiscated and given to Mugabe henchmen with no idea of how to grow anything. Well, no matter how often you stick electrodes into the ground it won’t produce any crops. Beating it with sticks produces no shoots of recovery. Not even bananas.

Surprising, really, since Robert Mugabe the incumbent President and Lord of Chaos in what was once the Jewel of Africa is clearly going bananas. But his cronies are too scared to tell him.

The recent elections in Zimbabwe are a typical example of what is wrong with the country: lack of transparency, a denial of reality, and the inability to take personal responsibility. The delays in publishing results are laughable: they have been posted outside the relevant polling stations since counting ended last weekend! The patience of both the populace and of the real winner of the election, Morgan Tsvangirai are laudable.

With 100,000% a year inflation, 80% unemployment, and average life expectancy for women of 36 years of age, if Mugabe is re-elected the whole world will know that he has fiddled the result. And the longer it takes for the results to be released, the more sure we all are that perfidy has been at work.

Of course there are many quotes of him saying “I could not sleep if I fiddled the result” – but when he said that (and I heard him on film on BBC News), he put emphasis on the “I” in the statement, implying he would sleep fine if such dirty work was (as always) done by his henchmen. There is no blood on his hands, he would say. He is not responsible for any of the torture, murder or inequality in the country.

Mugabe’s hands are white, not dirty. It is just his trail that drips with the blood of his country.

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