Inside a Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe: The Economy’s Still a Mess | Dispatches
if you’re in Zimbabwe and need cash but I graduated US dollars in South African rand for Zimbabwe’s Phelan currency cach people line up at ATMs for hours just to get 20 bucks there are virtually no jobs so Vincent’s generation college educated and ambitious is stuck walking shoes phone chargers bras can you give up and leave money he makes goes to a broker is promised to get him work papers in South Africa bungee is fences trying to get out to Zimbabwe travel from us 40 years mugabe’s oppressive rule isolated the country crippled its economy military-backed government that overthrew him they even called in election violence six people were killed and the same ruling party was clear the winner so is this Sure Fit everywhere we look like here in 2005 the ruling party Force nearly 700,000 go into squatter camps the goal to create a voting Bloc dependent on the state and break up opposition stronghold the result of broken Community we made Colin he was brought after the government burned his home he’s lived here for 15 years and the police still lacks basic infrastructure what is vocal criticism has made him a target for intimidation so he’s moved family into hiding desperate many women he returned to prostitution Tracy’s client send payments to her phone if they pay it all despair in these neglected field agriculture is critical to Zimbabwe’s economy this is Steve I know triple we would BBQ of the weekend the dining room Lounge everyday and we were sitting here having lunch when David said he had a problem and then from there I just went downhill in 2000 Steven three friends were kidnapped beaten and left for dead one friend was killed it was part of Robert mugabe’s plan to right the wrongs of colonialism by seizing land owned by white farmers and giving it to blacks and Bob wins by force if necessary Steve was driven off his farm never compensated my daughter’s rooms at the property didn’t go to local black farmers and went to a military family loyal to the party my son’s room with no farming experience in the house burned a brush fire it was a common story seizing the land and handing it out to a ruling Elite that led the country to Total ruin and the same Elite governs but then there’s Richard he’s a veteran 15 years ago he was granted this land formerly owned by white cattle rancher oh yeah she learned how to farm in transformed the property Jasmine isn’t guaranteed the state owns all of the redistributed lands Richard can’t use his property as collateral for loans it’s hard to acquire new plots for expansion and the risk remains but the government could see from him at anytime city is on lockdown we see only riot police and filter the opposition challenges the results it’s a far cry from the peace and prosperity that were promisedZimbabwe’s recent elections were meant to usher in a new era after decades of oppressive rule. But has anything truly changed? We met Vincent, an ambitious college graduate who is desperate to leave. “Things are not working here.”
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