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<nettime> Zimbabwe's Tipping Point?
Patrice Riemens on Sat, 24 Mar 2007 20:49:33 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Zimbabwe's Tipping Point?

Zimbabwe's Tipping Point.

According to Trevor Ncube in yesterday's Financial Times, Zimbabwe is now 
"very close to - if not actualy at - the tipping point". Going by recent 
dispatches I would believe so, even if tempered by the Dutch saying to the 
effect that "the wish is (often) the mother of the tought": Robert Gabriel 
Mugabe's Zoo has up to now defied the momentum of  'ca-va-petisme' (it's 
gonna explode-ism - Hubert Beuve-Mery) to an almost supernatural extent.

Surrealism is indeed the name of the game in contemporary Zimbabwe. Never 
mind inflation running at 5700% according to the latest World Bank 
forcasts, check out police hyper-brutality against prominent opposition 
members resisting arrest ... in the police station and the president's 
rather undiplomatic language ("Go Hang") passed on _verbatim_ to foreign 
envoys by Zimbabwe's ministry of external affairs  - to name only recent 
developments, and leaving 'pro memoriam' the years-long descent into the 
economic and 'naked life' abyss by the population at large ...

Two more recent, extreme 'features' (or are these 'bugs'? ) of today's 
Zimbabwe freak show: an out-of-the blues stock market 'upsurge' seeing 
weeks to weeks advances of several hundred percentage points (despite 
inflation this still represent upper two if not lower three digit figures 
in real terms!), as the bourse turns out to be the only avenue where 
rational investment behaviour makes fully sense (forex trading is liquid 
but illegal, real estate speculation is legal but illiquid). Regardless 
the fact that someone should explain me where this type of money comes 
from (or goes to), methink that this somewhat exotic phenomenon should be 
food for thought for market fundamentalists as pertains to our own 
financialised future...

But then, amateurs of Cyberpunk politics might feel even more 'engaged' by 
the mutual assistance and security agreements just signed between Zimbabwe 
and Angola (admire the A - Z combo, TEOTWAWKI should'n lagg much behind 
...), which, as the rumor has it, will see several thousand Angolan 
para-militaries pouring into the Harare and Bulawayo scene, no doubt in a 
putative remake of what happened in Matabeleland in the early eighties 
(that time the foreign assistance was N.Korean), leaving deads in the ten 
thousands - mostly unaccounted for and censorshiped.

A ray of hope, and cause for the tipping point scenario - and esperance - 
is that the ruling party itself is coming apart at the seems. The 
succession of the 'old man' (RGM now runs 83+) is becoming increasingly 
complicated as the uncertainity about the status (or even actual 
existence) of the spoils of supreme power is mounting, suggesting that the 
legacy might at bit too much weighted on the liabilities side for any 
incumbent to stomach. This could be the real horror scenario of the 
post-Mugabe era, how much we might hope for its speedy occurence. 

African precedents are not promising. Zimbabwe could fare far worser than 
Cuba and little better than Eastern Congo. And what can 'we' do? Plain 
nothing. Just watch the ultimate burn down of a country that was not that 
different from South Africa and had the potential of a New Zealand. But 
who knows, there might be a system in the madness and it is already 
possible to pinpoint those, mostly 'natural resources',  interests that 
already profit nicely, and stand to gain even more vastly, from this 
wasteful chaos. You'd only wish they were not so close to your bed - or in 
it, together with your very own 'above board' pension fund.

Patrice Riemens was resident of Zimbabwe in 1987 - 1988.


BBC news maintains a fairly comprehensive file on Zimbabwe in its regular 
and frequent news report. More clued in Zim-watchers will appreciate the 
(Harare) Financial Gazette website http://www.fingaz.co.zw (the server is 
in Berkeley though ;-) , which besides the last gossip from  the corridors 
of ZANU-PF power, also still manages to feature enthusiastic local 
restaurant reviews...

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