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Monday, 08 December 2008

Democracy won't solve Zimbabwe's ills

The end for Robert Mugabe seems to be in sight. There are increasing signs that Zimbabwe is on the brink of collapse. Let's assume the process happens peacefully, and the MDC becomes the official government in Zimbabwe. Democracy has been restored.
Will this in and of itself mean that Zimbabwe's problems have been solved?
I doubt that very much. Let us rewind back to the 1960's and 1970's. Black Rhodesians did not have the vote. However, they weren't starving either. Quite the contrary. Their country was known as the bread basket of Africa. Then came the 1980's and the heady days of Zimbabwe's uhuru. And the 1990's, and the 2000's. The wheels came off. Badly. People are dying of hunger. Millions have fled the country. During all this time, black Zimbabweans had the vote and a black government. Democracy was in place, in other words.
Zimbabweans are starving today, a generation after liberation. They have the vote, but you can't eat democracy. They were "liberated" to experience hunger, a collapsing economy and cholera. Why are they hungry? Because most white expertise, especially in agriculture, was chased out of the country in an orgy of ethnic cleansing. Farms were invaded by so-called "war veterans", many of them far too young to have ever been in the war.
The problem in Zimbabwe is not a lack of democracy or the inability to vote. The problem is the absence of whites.
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