This Zimbabwean politics lecture couldn’t have come at better time, well for me anyways. The lecture began with the history of Zimbabwe, which set the stage to ensure that everyone was clued up with the process of how Rhodesia became Zimbabwe and how the British left Mugabe in power. The question we were asked this week was “Land reform ‘Mugabe style’ is it pro-poor politics?”

Mugabe came into power with the intention to serve the native people of Zimbabwe; I think his objective was more pro black than pro poor. There is nothing wrong with a man wanting to support the people of Zimbabwe, but there is definitely something wrong with (a) how the white farmers were pushed out and (b) the way he prioritised the people he knew. A man that gives unskilled people a piece of land to cultivate over a man, who knows how to cultivate it, is a man who did not look into the future. A Zimbabwean student highlighted the point that Zimbabwe was once the bread basket of Africa. If Mugabe style was pro-poor then he would have considered the needs of his people rather than of his elite.

When thinking about what Mugabe’s party ZANU-PF have done to Zimbabwe I cannot help but be bias. I would consider myself to be reasonable and fair, but how can I be this person when I hear what suffering he has caused the people of Zimbabwe. I cannot justify oppression, suffering and self centeredness from such a figure, an 87 year old man living in a country with a life expectancy of 37 reeks of all these characteristics.

Onto the reading, before I continue with my rant about the man I have been speaking about all week. Brain Raftopoulos “The Zimbabwe Crisis and the Challenges of the Left” caught my attention straight away when addressing the ZANU-PF as the Left, however stressing the point “in the Zimbabwe context” and can be referred to loosely. Raftopoulos mentions the party’s commitment to ‘Marxism-Leninism’ theory; however he concluded that this was an unimaginative rhetorical mechanism. I believe the dictatorship of Mugabe was not to allow the proletariat to rise above the ruling class, but actually to make them so powerless to enable him (the ruling class) to prosper beyond his means.  The paper concludes that the nationalism is channelled against the citizens and is often a shield suffocating embrace of murderous regimes. I think this is a great way to describe what ZANU-PF are doing in Zimbabwe and hopefully it is just a terrible mistake to have allow such a man to rule a country and this mistake, will overtime, be rectified.

At the beginning of this post I said that this lecture couldn’t have come at a better time, well this is because it gave me a case study for my presentation on resource curse in my ‘Transforming Developing into Sustainability’ module. The resource curse I looked at was Conflict Diamonds which has been widely research over the past decade, I was very pleased that I could combine my Zimbabwean politics lecture and reading with my presentation on conflict diamonds. A question I asked myself was, how can a country like Zimbabwe fund the ZANU-PF regime and how can Mugabe be so wealthy? Conflict Diamonds is a possible answer. A report from the head of the  Kimberley Process, Evan-Zohar stated this week that “Zimbabwe diamonds are not conflict diamonds; however apparently are in the hands of the wrong political system.” The Kimberley Process are responsible to ensuring that the rough diamond trade industry remains conflict free, however they have been criticised over the last year to have failed in this duty, due to the case of Mugabe’s Diamond trade. If a political regime continues to extract millions of dollars each month from the Marange field, which is the wealthiest diamond mine in the world, then there is no hope for such a regime to crumble especially when a UN supported institution isn’t able to shine light on its failures.

A final point which unfortunately does not end this post in a positive twist, is the idea of the Zimbabwean people rising up against Mugabe, like those in North Africa and the Middle East. This question was asked in class but with an answer that brought yet another Development Politics tear to my eye, “The ingredients for a mass uprising in Zimbabwe were there from 2003-2008, so if a revolution was to happen, it would have happened then.”

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