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April 30, 2004

The Paranoid Dictator

Dictators tend toward the paranoid (which is both understandable and a bit of an understatement), and Robert Mugabe is no exception. His growing fear of opposition media within Zimbabwe and his long-standing animosity toward media outside the country are well documented.

Because, you know, cricket is a highly guarded state secret.

President Robert Mugabe's government said a British television crew ignored media law requirements and illegally entered Zimbabwe this week to cover cricket matches.

A statement quoted by state media Friday said a Sky television news crew had flown into Zimbabwe without following accreditation procedures.

Robert Mugabe: Keeping third world dictatorships fun for the whole family.

Read the story.

Posted by zombyboy at 10:31 AM | Comments (2)

April 21, 2004

Mail Bag

This came in the mail this morning:

I don't know if you've heard about the attempted genocide of the Anuak people in Ethiopia, as hardly any of the major media outlets have picked it up. But a classmate of mine at Bethel College has family among the missing, and several of us here are working to bring attention to what has happened there, and specifically to convince a US senator to take notice of the situation and move towards an independent investigation of what has occured there. I've created a blog as part of this attempt--right now it's at You can read more about the situation there, and we would appreciate it if you could spread the word about the Anuak at AfricaBlog. Thanks very much.

Timothy Goddard

Please take a moment and visit the site. What you will find is terrifying.

Posted by zombyboy at 09:02 AM | Comments (2)

April 18, 2004

Finding Blame for Mugabe

A while back, there was a comment left here that had kind words for Robert Mugabe and his land redistribution efforts. The truth about Robert Mugabe, though, is that he is a typical tyrant who uses land redistribution for political gain and hunger as a tool of oppression.

The two sisters, aged 32 and 34, should have been the first generation of black Zimbabweans to benefit from Robert Mugabe's rule as the first democratically elected leader of the nation. When the liberation hero turned dictator and engineered a famine, however, Agnes and thousands of others joined a long list of the regime's victims. Sipho is one of thousands more who hover on the brink.

Food shortages have pushed Zimbabwean prices to unaffordable levels. A loaf of bread in Bulawayo costs 2,500 Zimbabwe dollars, the equivalent of 30p, but also the same as the average monthly pension. As a result, an estimated 5.5 million Zimbabweans depend on food aid.

Even for a person who agrees completely with the land redistribution efforts has to admit to the complete and utter corruption and mismanagement in Mugabe's government. The effect that his policies have had on the nation are to totally ruin an economy and create a nation of starving paupers.


Read the story.

Posted by zombyboy at 07:40 PM | Comments (4)

April 13, 2004

Will the ANC Win?

In South Africa's upcoming elections, will the ANC win? Probably. That's a good thing, but it's hardly the whole story.

The whole story is that progressive, stable governments that are respectful of human rights are built on a mutual trust that is displayed between the government and the governed. The government displays trust by allowing freedom of speech and assembly, for instance. The governed display trust by not staging insurrections and by taking part in the mechanisms of the government. Voting, for instance, is an act of faith.

The only way for this situation to work is to have free and fair elections. The regular interval of political change, accepting the ebb and flow of political favor, and trusting the government to reflect the will of the voters is the very basis of stability. Without that, the power to change and to improve the system simply doesn't exist.

The real story in South Africa is that a representative government is being allowed the opportunity to continue to slowly change a country (hopefully) for the better, and that its citizens have faith enough to allow that to happen.

Read a little more about the upcoming elections.

Posted by zombyboy at 11:08 AM | Comments (4)

April 06, 2004

Odd Statistic of the Day

This is a surprising statistic, and one that I would like to see explored more fully.

"In South Africa, road accidents cause the most deaths among children between 4 and 15 years. Nearly every day two children die on our roads. Half of these children are younger than 8 years.

"About 800 children, all victims of road accidents, are treated at the Red Cross Children's Hospital. About 15% of these children are orthopedic patients."

What is most surprising is that road accidents are relatively easy to avoid, at least in contrast to things like malnutrition and disease. What is it about developing countries that makes the road so deadly ("200 times more lethal" according to the article)?

Read the story.

Posted by zombyboy at 10:47 AM | Comments (1)
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