World News Desk

Lights Out for Zimbabwe

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Life in Zimbabwe is becoming increasingly bleak as its citizens struggle with famine, economic distress and violent resistance groups. The average citizen struggles to scrape together what he or she needs to survive.

The nation’s inflation rate has surged to 3,731.9%—the worst in the world; compare this to that of the United States, at 2.28%. In Zimbabwe, currency is printed as fast as the presses can churn it out, making the money virtually worthless.

Stores often do not carry staple items, such as bread, sugar, gasoline, etc., and the price of the few items that are available may double by the end of any given day.

The typical Zimbabwean has only four hours of electricity per day; the other 20 hours are shifted to farm fields to run irrigation equipment, intended to help relieve the food shortage.

Due to starvation and a national epidemic of AIDS, life expectancy in Zimbabwe is at 35 years. British and U.S. media sources—which are reported to be biased by Zimbabwe’s government-owned newspapers—have stated that many families resort to eating rats just to survive. Events and conditions there are portrayed differently, depending upon the source and whether the news comes from inside Zimbabwe or elsewhere.

Take, for example, the current drought and famine that has been plaguing the country for years, due to poor crop yield. The government simply blames poor weather conditions. But, due to the fact that most media sources are owned by the government, opinions and countering ideas move to a more free forum—Internet blogs.

One blog painted a different picture, stating, “This ‘drought’ is a misnomer because all the dams in Zimbabwe are full but irrigation equipment is lying idle. The reality is that this ‘drought’ is man-made as a result of experienced farmers being prevented from doing what they do best—farming to feed Southern Africa. It is notable that South African farmers, who have not been subjected to the same treatment, have produced good grain yields under the same climatic conditions.”

This implies that the starvation is a result of the policies of President Mugabe’s ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front.

Mr. Mugabe, age 83, helped lead the country to independence from British rule in the late 1970s. He has been president of Zimbabwe ever since, recently securing his office until he is nearly 90 years of age.

Zimbabwe was once known as Rhodesia, a commonwealth of Britain, and was called the breadbasket of Southern Africa, supporting neighboring countries with food and economic aid. It also had a booming mining industry.

In the early years after Zimbabwe’s establishment it appeared to have weathered the change in government. However, things quickly changed, and the country began to spiral toward the conditions of today.

Most residents seem to have given up on the nation, convinced that elections are fixed. Few seek to align themselves with the resistance groups. Many wish to flee to South Africa or one of the nations of the West. However, it is difficult to get passports and save enough money—which quickly becomes worthless due to exploding inflation rates—to afford the move.

Solutions appear to be far off as the sun sets on Southern Africa’s one-time breadbasket. But the answers to the misery of Zimbabwe lie ahead! To learn about them, read Tomorrow’s Wonderful World – An Inside View!


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