Zimbabwe has just about reached the end of its tether, according to Western officials contacted by The Telegraph, and in four months will be reduced to anarchy. Britain has plans to evacuate its 20,000 citizens on an emergency basis as the former agricultural power will send its starving people into the street in a paroxysm of anger, tribal conflicts, and utter collapse:
Speaking anonymously because of the sensitivity of the subject, one Western official said: “It is hard to be definitive, but probably within months, by the end of the year, we will see the formal economy cease to work.”
He added: “One of the great dangers in all this, if Mugabe hangs on for much longer, is that the country will slip from authoritarianism to anarchy, the government will lose control of the provinces, it will lose control of the towns and you will have a situation where the central authority’s writ no longer holds.” ….
There are also fears that a breakdown in law and order could lead to an outbreak of ethnic conflict between Zimbabwe’s two main tribes, Mugabe’s own Shona and the Ndebele in the southwest.
Some political groups are already talking about regime change as an opportunity to press for independence, while more extreme elements have voiced agendas that could amount to “ethnic cleansing”.
The dictatorship of Robert Mugabe could not have made more bad moves had it planned on destroying the nation. It took its productive farms from their owners — whites from the British era of Rhodesia — and assigned them to political cronies, who turned Zimbabwe from a net exporter of agriculture to a beggar nation. Mugabe then tried to drive the poor out of the cities, and the black market that fed most of them collapsed. Faced with rising shortages and the predictable inflation that followed, Mugabe capped prices — and now no one can find anything on store shelves. Riots break out whenever anything arrives.
Their capital has little electricity and less potable water. Four out of five people live in abject poverty. Even if Mugabe left at this point, people will start dying in droves very soon — those who stay, anyway. Millions have fled Zimbabwe, and millions more have packed their bags. There may be no one left to challenge Mugabe for power.
What have the African nations done about this disaster? Typically, nothing. They just held a conference where the leaders of Zimbabwe’s neighbors applauded and feted Mugabe, even while talking sotto voce about the need for change. The Southern African Development Community has shown themselves to be cowards in confronting one of the most incompetent dictators on that or any other continent, apparently content to see Zimbabwe’s people starve as opposed to confronting Mugabe.
If nothing changes in the immediate future, the once self-sufficient Zimbabwe will descend into the madness of tribal warfare and genocide, much like the Democratic Republic of the Congo did as Zaire. We will then hear plenty from activists, demanding interventions and UN peacekeeping missions, likely from the same neighbors who refused to lift a finger to stop Mugabe over the last several years, and even applauded him at the SADC. Famines will roll across the productive land, and Western television will be filled with advertisements begging for relief for the afflicted population.
Africa, unfortunately, is a constant re-run. At some point, we’re going to have to insist that Africans deal with Africa.