May 20, 2005

YOU CAN DELAY THE GLORIOSA REVOLUTION, NOT AVOID IT:

Election over, Zimbabwe is back to bad old days (Michael Wines, MAY 20, 2005, The New York Times)

In the weeks before parliamentary elections last March, the leaders of this threadbare nation threw open the national larder, wooing voters with stocks of normally scarce gasoline and maize and a flood of freshly printed money.

It must have worked: The ruling ZANU-PF party was installed for another five years. But Zimbabwe's Potemkin prosperity has evaporated since the vote, swiftly replaced by penury and mounting signs of economic collapse.

Here in Zimbabwe's second largest city, lines of cars stretch half a kilometer at fuel-parched service stations, and drivers spend the night in their back seats lest they lose their place. Milk, cooking oil and most of all maize, the nation's corn staple, are a distant memory. At one city-center grocery, much-prized Colgate toothpaste is kept in a locked case.

Zimbabwe's currency, which traded on the black market at 120 to the dollar in April 2002, went for 6,200 to the dollar last December, 12,000 last April 1 and 17,000 in early May. By mid-May, a single American dollar brought as much as 25,000 Zimbabwean dollars - and the rate continues to climb. [...]

"It's running out of control," one Bulawayo manufacturer said.

"When you're going down a path of destruction, you can keep putting patches on the tires - patch, patch, patch - but eventually, the tire is going to burst," he said. "We're going down that path."

It's a well trod path and always ends at the same place sooner or later.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 20, 2005 8:52 AM
Comments

A one-bullet problem, which I have been told rests in British hands (otherwise, the pressure might build for us to do it).

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 21, 2005 12:12 AM
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