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Zimbabwe Nightware

125px-Flag_of_Zimbabwe.svg.pngWhat a mess there is in Africa. Something has to be done. From an article by Isaac Phiri in Christianity Today:

It still feels like last night to Newton Mudzingwa. Seven months ago, Mudzingwa, a security guard in an affluent suburb of Harare, Zimbabwe's capital, had a much-appreciated night off-duty. He spent the evening in one of the city's burgeoning slums, in the one-room shack he had rented-with him, his wife, and his two young children crammed into a single bed. It was to be their last night at home together. Around midnight, the blare of loudspeakers jolted them out of sleep. Police and military officers cheered by President Robert Mugabe's political activists swooped down on the slum to demolish "illegal" structures. Operation Murambastvina (meaning "Drive Out Trash") had begun. Mudzingwa quickly threw together whatever goods he could save. His wife bundled blankets around their children. As temperatures plummeted to biting levels, they rushed outside. The family then watched as bulldozers reduced to rubble the only home the children had ever known... The government says that only 700,000 people were relocated and that urban renewal was long overdue. Other reliable estimates put the figure at 1.7 million displaced people. Either way, the Mudzingwas were among tens of thousands of locals suddenly without shelter, proper food, and clean water... On the ground, away from the media, churches located in the slums felt the first brunt of the government's action. Thousands sought help... Churches responded by delivering food, water, and blankets, as well as by housing many of the displaced-at least until they, too, were forcibly moved. The government put many families into holding camps in remote areas... The government eventually succumbed to local and international pressure and halted the destruction. But by February, the beginning of the rainy season in Zimbabwe, thousands were still living out in the open or under plastic sheets. The government had promised earlier to build 200,000 new homes by the year's end. But the deadline came and went without much being done. Some media reports say the few houses that were constructed crumbled under the first heavy rains... Everything about Zimbabwe nowadays is bleak. Harare is gloomy. Potholes cripple the already rickety public transportation system. Water shortages occur daily. Power outages are frequent and will get worse. The utility company says it needs u.s.$9 million per month to pay its bills for imported power. People line up for basic necessities-food, gas, medicine-if they can be found, that is. Even cash is scarce. Banks run out. If you can get cash, you need a wheelbarrow to carry it home. Gideon Gono, the country's reserve bank boss, said inflation would be at 800 percent by March. "We are all millionaires," laughs a trader of foreign currency outside a Harare bus stop. He offers 1 million Zimbabwean dollars for u.s. $10. Pessimism reigns. In Mbare, a high-density slum township near Harare, the poverty is glaring. Garbage gathers. Burst sewage pipes gape and spill. Street children roam. Residents struggle to make ends meet by peddling anything and everything.


Thanks for posting this. I have many family members still trying to live in Zimbabwe, and it is not easy. While I can't advocate military intervention, I can only hope the plight of Zimbabwe will capture the world's attention like Rwanda or Sudan or Afghanistan. You're right, something needs to be done!

What discourages me is that the situations in Rwanda, Sudan, and Afghanistan are relatively well-known yet it's hard to believe that an end to the misery in those places is in sight.

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