(This article also appears on Political Cortex, The Smirking Chimp and My Left Wing.)
There was a day when Zimbabwe was known as the food basket for Africa, a land rich in the needs to sustain a great nation.
All it takes for a land rich in natural resources to be demolished is ruthless and authoritative leadership. This has regrettably occurred in the nation that gained independence in 1980 -- Zimbabwe.
Its current strong man Robert Mugabe achieved power after a struggle with political rival Joshua Nkomo. To say that the current situation in Zimbabwe is a calamity would be an understatement. Virtually any words in the human language to describe the current state of disaster would be an understatement.
While the fortunate ones have been able to escape to neighboring South Africa, those that remain have experienced horrendous plights. Some political rivals have not survived while others who dared oppose Mugabe’s brutal regime had their legs hacked off by his brutal thugs, loyal party functionaries enforcing control at the expense of the masses.
Hunger is acute. Just last week an international survey revealed that the average citizen of Zimbabwe is now eating one meal per day with many going beyond 24 hours for any replenishment.
There are others worse off. They are suffering from cholera.
In an excellent BBC report available online about Zimbabwe, in addition to other informative materials there appears a diary from a woman known by the pseudonym of Esther, for her own protection. This 28-year-old woman who is a professional living and working in Zimbabwe’s capital of Harare has painted an unforgettable portrait of current life in a tragedy riddled nation.
Esther reveals the following:
“We deserve a better life. We are not a country at war but look at the kind of life we are living. What on earth is going on?
“People are dying in great numbers and there is no treatment because … Harare’s two main hospitals are closed.
“In some parts of town there is raw sewage running down streets.
“But you should know that some people in the poor, poor parts of the high density areas have had to live with this every day for five years now. It is just that now pictures are circulating because of the cholera crisis.
“Where I stay, we had water problems even before the complete city shut-down. It was becoming the order of the day -- sometimes water would run from the tap, but normally, not a drop.”
Esther noted that “absolutely everyone is boiling all their water.” There is no power so people need to “make a fire” to boil water.
While the cholera epidemic sweeps across the nation activists disappear. According to Zimbabwean human rights activist Annah Moyo “They (Mugabe government operatives) are trying to come up with confessions from these activists.”