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March 31, 2004

Spreading the Disease

I've been asked why I believe that Zimbabwe's problems are also the problems of her neighbors--or, specifically, why should the neighbors try to help solve the problems when they already have problems of their own.

I think this answers that question.

Zimbabwe's crisis is affecting all of southern Africa, and neighbouring Botswana is on the frontline.

Botswana has a small population- less than 2 million - and it is a tightly-knit, conservative society.

Now it is feeling overwhelmed by the influx of Zimbabweans.

"There are now more Zimbabweans in Botswana than there are Botswanans", one government official told me.

She is wrong, of course, but the sentiment that Botswana is being swamped is a common one.

The problem will only grow as the government in Zimbabwe edges closer to economic and political collapse. The flood of people looking for food, work, and shelter will be overwhelming to the countries around Zimbabwe. If the situation does grow into an open civil war (not, by any means, an impossibility), then the fighting will accelerate the exodus, and the war will likely spill over borders.

Zimbabwe's collapse won't happen in isolation. It will have an effect on all of Southern Africa.

Read the story.

Posted by zombyboy at March 31, 2004 01:44 PM
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