Tuesday, April 1, 2008

zimbabwe's recent elections

It's quite a moment for Zimbabwe right now. Their elections were held on March 29, and, surpisingly, it seems there's a chance Robert Mugabe, the country's dictator/president of the past 28 years, is on his way out. I've had a hard time finding Zimbabwe news since I've been back, but the recent elections and the wait for results has the country back in the news. If Mugabe does leave power, who knows if the new regime will be any kinder to Zimbabwe's people and economy, but perhaps there's hope. Please join in praying for the people of Zimbabwe, that things will remain peaceful, that change will come that releases them from the terribleness they've been living in.

I was cautioned by friends and relatives against going to Zimbabwe last fall, mostly because the news reports suggested the place was in chaos. I'm so glad I still went because I found a different situation than I anticipated. Life for me, a visitor, was fine. I had plenty to eat and never, ever felt unsafe. In fact, I generally felt more safe and at ease there than I did in many of the other cities I visited. However, it was clear even in the briefest conversations that life has been terrifically hard for the people of Zimbabwe. When you ask someone how they're doing, it wasn't uncommon for the reply to be: "Half-half. So-so. Things are really bad here. This used to be a good place to live." Someone commented that things were better when the white farmers were still there. With the astronomical inflation rate, students at schools and universities were receiving extra tuition bills part way through the semester because the amount they paid at the beginning of the semester was no longer enough to cover the school's expenses.

What struck me, though, is that somehow people were making it. Somehow they were soldiering on. And that is to the credit of the resilience of Zimbabwe's people. In spite of the heaviness, people still laughed and smiled and welcomed a stranger into their midst.

The part of Zimbabwe I visited is located near the border with Mozambique, so it's possible things were even more dire in the Zimbabwe's interior than what I experienced. The people on the eastern edge of Zimbabwe could go over to Mozambique and down to South Africa to get the supplies and foodstuffs that had stopped being available in Zim. People in the interior would be less likely to be able to do that.

Here are links to some election news:
Zimbabwe bloggers react to delays
Deal 'close' for Mugabe to leave
Zimbabwe opposition leader: no talks

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