Read this post from Eddie Cross, who maintains a blog called Zimpundit, detailing the last week or so of political and economic turmoil in Zimbabwe.
I’m often asked, “What’s going to happen next in Zimbabwe? Are things going to get better?” To which I often say, “No, not really: they’re probably going to get worse”. This surprises some people, because they figure it’s already as bad as it can be. What I think they don’t realize is that Zimbabwe is falling from a relatively high point. The Zimbabwean economy in 1988 was actually relatively strong, with a lot of capacity and potential. There’s a lot of things to wreck and destroy, and even a party with the prodigious ability to demolish their own society is going to take a while to thoroughly mess up everything they can put their hands on.
If you read Cross’ entry, you’ll see just how breathtaking the destruction is, however, and how lethal a cocktail of incompetence, malice, and authoritarian sadism is involved. It will not improve magically on the death of Robert Mugabe, assuming that ever actually happens. There are too many other hands with blood on them, too many other petty tyrants. And it’s gone too far at this point for some ZANU-PF member with a secret desire for reform in his heart to emerge smoothly during a transition and pull the country back from the brink. Too much has already been ruined that either cannot be fixed, or can only be repaired through a generation’s labor. It may be that someone with more foresight can come forward in the ruling party someday, or that through some miracle, the now-divided opposition can get its act together and displace ZANU-PF. But whenever it is that the current crop of authorities gets chased from power, any reform-mided leadership is going to have to start from scratch.