2008 November 24 Monday
Zimbabwe Still Going Down

One wonders just how much worse Zimbabwe can get. Will it keep going down until the government collapses or a civil war starts? Will it just go down further and stay there? What's the end game? A cholera outbreak adds to the mounting woes of the formerly well-governed Rhodesia.

The situation in Zimbabwe may soon "implode" as a cholera outbreak spreads and basic services collapse, South African leaders and a group of international statesmen warned yesterday.

On the eve of talks in South Africa between Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and opposition rivals, South African leaders sharply upgraded their crisis assessment and warned of Zimbabwe's imminent collapse if urgent action was not taken.

These leaders see urgent action as coming in the form of Western economic aid.

Of those who managed to get admitted to hospitals 300 died of cholera. The real number dead is suspected of being 4 times more.

There is sewage flowing in the streets, endless mounds of rubbish, a broken water supply – and a cholera epidemic that has Zimbabwe’s Health Minister admitting that he is scared.

This is the grim picture that a team of international statesmen would have seen in this suburb of the capital, had they not been barred from Zimbabwe. It is a picture common all over the country, with the World Health Organisation saying that by late last week about 300 people had died from cholera and 6,000 had been infected. Médecins Sans Frontières, the international health charity, estimates that 1.4 million people are at risk.

I do not see how thousands of people dying from cholera are enough to cause the collapse of Zimbabwe.

Kofi Annan says hundreds of millions of dollar are needed to buy food and other basics. I say spend a fraction of that money on mercenaries who get a huge cash reward for wiping out the rulers of Zimbabwe.

Fellow Elder and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan added that there was a $140m shortfall between the aid provided by the international community and what was required.

The international aid community would need to find $550m next year, he said.

If the people who claim to care a great deal about the suffering in Zimbabwe wanted to drastically reduce that suffering they'd advocate for a quick violent jab at the top of the Zimbabwe government. Cut off the head. Replace it with something better. Mind you, better won't be great. Better won't even be good. Better will just be less bad.

The pirates off of Somalia remind me of Zimbabwe. But the pirates seem worse. One can say that Zimbabwe isn't our problem. It is the problem of the Zimbabweans. But the high seas are needed for commerce. Therefore lawlessness on the high seas simply shouldn't be tolerated at all. The tolerance shown toward Robert Mugabe shouldn't be shown toward ship hijackers.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2008 November 24 08:03 PM  Civilizations Decay

dchamil said at November 25, 2008 6:12 AM:

How long is it going to take the supertanker owners to get the bright idea of putting soldiers and machine guns on their ships to repel the pirates?

Anon said at November 25, 2008 6:31 AM:

"These leaders see urgent action as coming in the form of Western economic aid."

What a surprise. I guess racist whites are supposed to ride to the rescue again. Let them die, let Zimbabwe collapse. Maybe SA solve can it, those horrible Boers aren't in power anymore. Let's see what that nation can do! In any event, I think nations like SA like to have an "always in danger of imminent collapse" sewer like Zimbabwe around. It takes the attention off their own spiral into horror.

Worried Dude said at November 25, 2008 7:51 AM:

I think there are two problems that countries like Zimbabwe and South Africa face over the coming years:

1. The climate seems to be getting colder.

2. The economy has taken a turn for the worse, so a lot less money will be available for people who can't look after themselves.

Bob said at November 25, 2008 5:59 PM:

How long is it going to take the supertanker
owners to get the bright idea of putting soldiers
and machine guns on their ships to repel the pirates?

Interestingly, this is quite complicated. While a great idea on the open seas, these ships stop at ports all over the world. At many of these ports, possession of weapons is forbidden. I think the legal complications resulting for issues like that are the main reasons we don't see more armed security on big ships.

I'm no expert myself, but passing on the result of a conversation I had with someone who seemed like he knew.

Big Bill said at November 25, 2008 8:10 PM:

Big piracy in the South China Sea and around Indonesia and Malaysia. Depending upon the company and the cargo when we would go through the Straits in that part of the world, we would get an armed crew that would travel with us. They were a private security outfit that was ready to fight off pirates.

Closer to home, in ports like Cristobal and Balboa, we would rig the ship for anti-piracy as we waited at anchor overnight. Keep the turbines warm, flood lights rigged, fire pumps hot, hoses on deck, and a deck crew collecting overtime all night long. Listening for the quiet pocketa-pocketa of a launch full of hispanic banditos approaching. \

Piracy is more common than you would realize. Slave ships in the South China Sea. Muslim speedboat pirates. Lots of fun for a young man.

No guns, though -- at least no guns other than the captain's guns.

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