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Old 03-07-2007   #1
Jedburgh
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Default Zimbabwe (catch all)

ICG, 5 Mar 07: Zimbabwe: An End to the Stalemate?
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...The long political stalemate in Zimbabwe appears to be breaking at last. ZANU-PF moderates are jockeying to nominate a Mugabe successor to take office in 2008. Sanctions and general economic problems are building the domestic constituency for change. The MDC and civil society are rallying around economic and governance issues to unite opposition activists and plan larger non-violent resistance activities aimed at producing free and fair elections under a new constitution. Western pressure, particularly targeted sanctions and diplomatic isolation, is making a contribution. SADC leaders have an opportunity to talk to Mugabe now about a retirement package to be implemented not later than when his term expires in 2008 – and at last get him to listen....
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Old 03-23-2007   #2
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Default Mugabe: 'Little fellows' like Bush, Blair don't scare me

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Mugabe: 'Little fellows' like Bush, Blair don't scare me
HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe vowed on Friday to survive any Western attempt to dislodge him from power.

Mugabe said Britain and the United States would never overcome the support he enjoys in his ruling ZANU-PF party, which led the former Rhodesia to black majority rule in 1980.

"Nothing frightens me, not even little fellows like Bush and Blair. I have seen it all, I don't fear any suffering or a struggle of any kind," Mugabe, 83, said to cheers from ZANU-PF supporters at a meeting in Harare.

"I make a stand and stand on principle here where I was born, here where I grew up, here where I fought and here where I shall die," Mugabe said, accusing the West of sponsoring the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to overthrow his government.
Theater of the absurd in Zimbabwe is apparently in high gear...
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Old 03-23-2007   #3
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Interesting that Mugabe is calling in Angolans to do his dirty work. Perhaps some real fractures are appearing in ZANU-PF and, most importantly, the Zimbabwean security services?
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Old 03-24-2007   #4
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Default Plotters about!

This morning the BBC Radio Four news reported conversations between the opposition (MDC) and former security force commanders once loyal to the government (ZANU-PF) on managing the succession.

I suspect this is wishful thinking, or a ploy by the CIO (Zimbabwe's state security). President Mugabe is ruthless.

No-one is likely to intervene, let alone with military force; once again Zimbabwe is being left to resolve it's own problems. Zimbabwe's neighbours are too committed to Mugabe, for historical reasons, comradeship notably in the struggle, to realise their national interest is NOT to see Zimbabwe in ruins.
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Old 03-24-2007   #5
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Originally Posted by tequila View Post
Interesting that Mugabe is calling in Angolans to do his dirty work. Perhaps some real fractures are appearing in ZANU-PF and, most importantly, the Zimbabwean security services?
Good Call, and in my opinion, spot on.

He hasn't paid the security forces enough to keep up with the burlesque levels of inflation that the country has recently witnessed, I believe that the loyalties of the police and militray are switching to 'new' ZANU-PF contenders.

The use of the Angolans has echoes of the use of the Korean trained (backed) 5th brigade in the brutal supression of Matabeleland after independence. It worked once....

Last edited by Mark O'Neill; 03-24-2007 at 11:30 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 03-24-2007   #6
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Default No Ninja to Zimbabwe

This week there have reports, including the BBC, that Angola was sending 2500 para-military police, known as the Ninjas, to Zimbabwe as fraternal assistance.

Now the Angolans have issued a denial:

The Angolan government has issued a categorical denial of this story.
It's being suggested that the source of the story was a recent arrangement
for Angola to train Zimbabwe police. Itself an interesting story. Both Reuters and the BBC carried stories about the denial:
http://africa.reuters.com/top/news/usnBAN324378.html and
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/6479371.stm

There is also a report of the Zimbabwean Vice-President having a secret meeting in Johannesburg with her South African opposite number; the Vice President's husband is a former Zimbabwe Defence Force commander.

Murky business.
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Old 06-14-2007   #7
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BBC, 14 Jun 07: Zimbabwe 'collapse in six months'
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Zimbabwe will collapse within six months, possibly leading to a state of emergency, says a leaked briefing report for aid workers in the country.
Rampant inflation will mean shops and services can no longer function and people would resort to barter, it said.

"The memorandum is talking about a situation where there is no functioning government or a total breakdown," an unnamed aid worker told the UK Times.

Zimbabwe's inflation is already 3,714% - the highest rate in the world....
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Old 06-14-2007   #8
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Originally Posted by Jedburgh View Post

I don't know if you have to be a subscriber to access it, but I'm at this very minute reading a good article on Zimbabwe in the Weekly Standard.

That place breaks my heart. Sweetest people I've ever met. And one psychopath is crushing it.
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Old 06-15-2007   #9
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Thumbs up Nicely Spotted!

It's open access, Steve. And a fine article as well. Good link!
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Old 06-15-2007   #10
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Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
I don't know if you have to be a subscriber to access it, but I'm at this very minute reading a good article on Zimbabwe in the Weekly Standard.

That place breaks my heart. Sweetest people I've ever met. And one psychopath is crushing it.
Yep and truly a garden of plenty driven to starvation through mind-numbing stupidity.

Tom
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Old 08-24-2007   #11
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The Economist, 23 Aug 07: Zimbabwe: An Imploding State
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Over 3m people are thought to have left the Zimbabwe in recent years, and the UN refugee agency says it is working on contingency plans in case the exodus worsens. There seems every chance that it will, given 80% unemployment, inflation that was said officially this week to be above 7,600% and severe shortages of the most basic goods. Zimbabwe’s situation is growing ever more miserable.

Another UN agency, the World Food Programme, reckons that 4m Zimbabweans—about one-third of the remaining population—will need food aid by next year. This year’s harvest of maize, the local staple, was meagre. Rains have been poor, and the government’s disastrous land-reform programme has turned once flourishing commercial farming into subsistence agriculture....
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Old 02-13-2008   #12
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Default Zimbabwe Limbo: How Low Can U Go?

Just some tidbits on Zimbabwe, once a breathtakingly beautiful country, and now another on the long list of African failed or failing states:

Quote:
Zimbabwe's ruling party ousts Mugabe challenger

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (CNN) -- Zimbabwe's ruling party on Tuesday expelled former Finance Minister Simba Makoni because of his bid to unseat President Robert Mugabe, whom he blames for the country's economic collapse.

Don't Miss
Mugabe's ex-finance minister to run against him
Zimbabwe's inflation tops 24,000 percent
Grasping what 24,000 percent inflation rate means is difficult:

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Zimbabwe's disposable currency
Once one of the most prosperous countries in Africa, Zimbabwe seems to be nearing economic collapse.
By Sheridan Prasso, Fortune contributing editor
August 6 2007: 11:56 AM EDT

(Fortune Magazine) -- What does it feel like to hold a few million dollars in your hands? If you're in Zimbabwe, like this worker, and your wages are in Zimbabwean dollars, not very good. With hyperinflation running at 4,500 percent on an annual basis, all his cash is worth less than $100.

Once one of the most prosperous countries in Africa, Zimbabwe seems to be nearing economic collapse. Unemployment is estimated at 80 percent. Electricity has been rationed to just four hours a day. A loaf of bread costs 44,000 Zimbabwean dollars, about 18 cents at black-market exchange rates - or $176 at the official rate.
Stan and I witnessed this sort of thing in Zaire/Congo. Stan had the greater exposure to the decline of Zaire from 1984 to 1994. But for the average Westerner it is difficult to understand just how unhinged everything becomes. Money is for all rationale purposes worthless--yet folks are out there scrambling to make enough for that loaf of bread. Meanwhile the real economy goes under ground using goods, services, and often foreign currency to get by. Diamonds and gold were the hidden currency in Zaire in the mid-90s; I doubt that has changed much. I do not know what serves as the hidden currency in Zimbabwe.

Tom

Last edited by Tom Odom; 02-13-2008 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 02-13-2008   #13
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Great post, Tom !
My singular visit to Zimbabwe via Lubumbashi was a food run for the Consulate. Great steaks, cheap prices and wonderful Aussie accents! Even then in 86, rough cut stones (purportedly from Zaire’s southern province) and lots of malachite could be had in the markets, but only in exchange for hard currencies.

Rates of Exchange (ROE) (DIA adopted that acronym from Rules of Engagement, which actually means the same thing): When I arrived in Zaire, the official ROE was 50 Makutas (one half of a Zaire, or 50 cents if you will) to one USD, and the black market rate (directly in front of the US Embassy and known as Wall Street) was 25 to 28 Zaires to one USD.

When I departed in late 94 the rates were more than 5 million Zaires to one USD

In order to eat in any restaurant, one would need a briefcase. Most of us paid in USD or held a credit account til the end of the month.

Grocery stores did not post prices on the shelves. The value of your purchase was calculated during the arduous process of ringing up your total.

I think Zimbabwe is in for a rough ride, but could they handle the depth and finesse of professional corruption that Zairians invented/perfected
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Old 02-13-2008   #14
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Default Zimbabwe

I visited Zimbabwe in 1985, on a research holiday and was impressed at it's natural and human resources. Sadly it has slipped away, largely due to a regime that is interested in clinging to power and having all the "cake". For many years I've been a member of a friendship group, which originally was dominated by ZANU PF sympathisers - who now are very quiet or gone. Their email circulars are often too sad to read, notably the on the ground reports by a long time resident Jesuit priest.

No wonder so many have left the country in the last decade, with an alleged 300k in the UK alone and far more in South Africa.

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Old 02-14-2008   #15
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No wonder so many have left the country in the last decade, with an alleged 300k in the UK alone and far more in South Africa.
I can personally attest to this. My family is from Zimbabwe. Every one of my family members has fled Zim, the last being my grandmother who fled to England a year or two ago.

Just to give you some perspective: For a few years calling her was hit or miss because people were stealing the copper telephone wires.
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Old 02-14-2008   #16
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Default Inflation

Every once in a while, when I contemplate the price of cars these days, I flash back to watching the Price is Right and wondering whether the price (4 digit) of the car would start with a 3 or a 4. Wow.

Then I think of Zaire and it puts it back in perspective. I wandered through in 92 or 93, just when the 5 million Z note was coming out, which was an issue in its own right. The Marine Det fronted me $50 in local sheckles. I was there for 3 days, spent nothing. Gave them back the same amount of sheckles, plus a check for about $19 I think to make up for the depreciation of the cash during the short time I held it.

One of the local semi-American guys, late 20s / early 30s maybe, told me he could remember as a kid his mom giving him 1 Z, then worth $2, and he could live large and go get a full-on burger, fries, etc. It was something for him to look at a 5 million Z note and not be able to even get a burger with it.
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Old 02-14-2008   #17
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Default The Price of Burgers these days ?

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Every once in a while, when I contemplate the price of cars these days...

Then I think of Zaire and it puts it back in perspective...
Bill, I had no idea you visited our tiny community. I'd assume you were not a DIA visitor, or, I was once again out of town.

With your nostalgic post, here's some pics to reminisce
Attached Images
File Type: jpg 50 Makuta.JPG (96.3 KB, 1342 views)
File Type: jpg 5 million.JPG (67.4 KB, 1324 views)
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Old 02-14-2008   #18
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Man those must be mint 50 Makuta's

Let's see 100 Makuta to a Zaire and 5 Million Zaires to a dollar, that means they were worth 1/500 Million of a dollar....

Anybody got change for a 50 Makuta?
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Old 02-14-2008   #19
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Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
Man those must be mint 50 Makuta's
Remember how they wrapped 25 notes together using the 25th like a taco around the other 24 ? I had a stack of those and never once handled, intent on creating a new Monopoly game called Zaire in Maryland . That idea never really took hold, but my sister, a MD banker showed her friends my 84 funny money. Later some of those people fired up a website and posted all that Sierra there. I must have sent them everything I ever found in Zaire.

Good stuff, aye !
EDIT: Best thing about this Mo Money is the serial number is only on one side. The scans are actually two bills
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Last edited by Stan; 02-14-2008 at 07:59 PM.
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Old 02-15-2008   #20
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They still use the 25th bill to wrap the other 24. The franc seems quite stable now. The two years I was there it stayed around 500 to $1 and now (i just checked) it is 437 to $1.

I talked to pilot once who used to haul money for Mobutu. They would leave Kin empty and go to Brazil non-stop. On the return they had to make a fuel stop because the DC-8 was so heavily loaded with paper money. The next stop was Gbadolite to give the old man his cut, then on to Kin with the rest.
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