Potential Hot Spots: April 22, 2004


Zimbabwe opposition and western sources have estimated that the Zimbabwe grain harvest this year will be 600,000 tons short of the minimum required. Another study said the shortfall could reach 900,000 tons. The opposition said that the Zimbabwean government has corn stocks but will not release it, particularly to starving Matabele tribespeople (long hostile to the current government). At one time, in order to receive food aid, tribespeople were required to support the ruling ZANU-PF party (Robert Mugabes party). International donors forced the ZANU-PF to end that policy, but the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said it feared the government would try the tactic again in order to influence the elections scheduled for next March. No pun intended, but the manipulation of food resources is a recipe for violence next spring, and why western diplomats are once again saying another humanitarian crisis is brewing in Zimbabwe. Annual inflation in Zimbabwe is still astronomical, around 580 percent.

The only thing that prevents an armed rebellion is the lack of weapons for the majority of the population that is suffering at the hands of the Mugabe dictatorship. It's been the availability of cheap weapons in other parts of Africa that has led to bloody civil wars. But in Zimbabwe, no one is willing to finance an armed opposition and the gunrunners have stayed away.


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