About Areas That Could Break Out Into War
8, 2007: Zimbabwe enters 2007 with increasing turmoil and spreading poverty. On
December 29, 2006 the Zimbabwean government said its police had arrested 16,000
people for smuggling "precious minerals" and the crime of "illegal mining." The
"police sweep" began in November 2006. Yes, a lot of illegal jewel and gold
smuggling goes on, but the arrests of 16,000 people suggests Mugabe's regime
seized an opportunity to make a statement to the opposition. A government-run
press source said that three (yes, three) kilograms of gold had turned up.
That's really not a lot of gold from a shakedown of this size. The government
claimed it netted 5000 "pieces" of diamonds. A lot depends on what constitutes
a piece, or fragment. So why question the operation? Because other sources have
reported that impoverished Zimbabweans had turned to "panning for gold" as a
means of supporting themselves. This crackdown also followed the crack down
against people accused of "hoarding" cash when Zimbabwe revalued its currency.
Another reason to believe the general "crack down" theory: On December 20,
2006, Mugabe said that his government will "crush" it opponents and dissenters.
The Zimbabwe military is also hassling private (non-state controlled) mobile
phone companies. The Zimbabwean government essentially wants to monitor all
28, 2006: In a strange twist to the saga of the farm seizure, it appears many
of Mugabe's "war veterans" (the militia used to intimidate the opponents of his
regime) are being evicted from farms they occupied. Belated justice? The facts
on this aren't clear, but several of the farms are now "owned" by government
officials. The government has also indicated it will also prosecute "commercial
farmers" (white and black) it says have occupied the land illegally.