Sunday, October 15, 2006

Zimbabwe baffles me...

...or should I say the white farmers who wish to return there baffle me. Not too many years ago, about 5 or 6 as I recall, Zimbabwe - under the rule of Robert Mugabe - started to redistribute land owned by whites by giving that land to black Africans. This was supposed to have the effect of reversing, and compensating, black Zimbabweans who had lost land to white colonialists throughout the history of Zimbabwe and Rhodesia (the former name of the country). Many of the white farmers who were forced off of their lands did not obtain their land through any actual direct effect of European colonialism. Instead, they got their land by purchasing the land legally after Zimbabwe had gained its independence, and after the government officials of Zimbabwe were primarily black Zimbabweans. I am not saying they did not have an advantage in acquiring land over black Zimbabweans, they did. After all, they had been in power, and the center of wealth in Zimbabwe for many, many years; but they did buy and own it legally. Then the redistribution project was started by Bugbane’s government.

The first step of the redistribution of the land essentially was accomplished by the government of Zimbabwe forcefully evicting whites from their farms. This was often accompanied by violence and death of white settlers. Not many white farmers were allowed to keep their land, but some did. According to an article at CNN: Zimbabwe may let whites farm again, found at, it appears there had been about 4,500 white farmers in Zimbabwe. Out of those about 400 of them had been allowed to keep their farms. Not many whites percentage-wise, yet maybe a fair number remaining history/ethnicity-wise, but also apparently very foolish economy-wise, and even more foolish production-wise. It evidently has become apparent that white farmers were a great boon to both the economy and agricultural production of Zimbabwe, and removing them was a mistake that has cost Zimbabwe marked decreased agricultural production.

You may wonder why it is that production decreased when white farmers were thrown out. Well, let's face cold hard facts folks, the white farmers knew what they were doing as far as commercial farming went, they had the desire to farm the land, they had the desire to make money legitimately by doing so, and therefore they had the desire to feed the population of Zimbabwe and surrounding countries in order to have profitable farms. I guess though, that only partly gives you an answer as to what was and still is going on in Zimbabwe. You see, now that there are many fewer white farmers, and the land it has been given over to black Zimbabweans, there has been more of a negative effect than just that of losing white farmers. The other negative effects are these: people who now own much of the land do not know how to farm it commercially, even if they did know how to do so they probably would not want to be as successful as had been the white farmers, many blacks who actually own land are high ranking government officials or in the military see

You see, in the 1980's, England forked out millions of pounds to allow black Zimbabweans to purchase land. Despite that, only those who were apparently in with Mug Abe’s government got any of it. That kept tensions high among the black have nots. So what did Mugabe do? Instead of giving less land to government officials, instead of taking it away from them (remember they are all black and in his favor) he decided to take the land away from white farmers, by force if necessary, and then redistribute this land to blacks of less means. Remember also that Zimbabwe had once been referred to as the breadbasket of Africa, and this was when white farmers were farming it.

Maybe now you are getting the picture. Out of 4,500 white farmers, 600 remain. If all the land of the 3,900 white farmers who lost land was redistributed to black Zimbabweans to farm maybe that would be great. Some of it went to those in politics and the military who have no desire to farm it and to allow the population of Zimbabwe to grow to its former size. Heck, a lot of those folks could become the opposition to Mugabe's government, one which has coerced at least some voters to vote for him in every election he has ever won (see the same Wikipedia article). In addition to having a starving population, it is estimated that at least 10 percent of Zimbabwe's reported population will require food assistance next year, the population of Zimbabwe has one of the highest, if not the highest HIV infection rates in the world. Other diseases run rampant. It sort of makes me wonder, was the current food shortage from which the people of Zimbabwe are suffering, a preplanned thing to help reduce the population even further, to make it more manageable for a guy like Mugabe?

There are, or were, media claims that the food shortages in Zimbabwe were getting close to cataclysmic as in starvation and famine. So what did Mugabe first do to counter that. He threw the news media out of Zimbabwe, or at least most of the western media. I guess though, the starvation and famine thing may be getting g to a point where those remaining alive are beginning to realize that something radical is needed to feed the people, and to keep them fed. How radical a plan do you think they could come up with in Mugabe's government? Let me tell you it is pretty far out in light of past things that same government has done. Mugabe is now trying to get white farmers to return to Zimbabwe to farm the land again, to feed the people. maybe he figures that feeding the starving masses will help to prevent a revolution in which his head is lost much as was that of Marie Antoinette, who knows! At least, unlike Marie A., he has not told his people to eat cake when they ran out of bread.

Okay, I am finally back at the original point of this rant, the fact that white farmers who wish to return to Zimbabwe baffle me. I'll tell you why, I know you have been waiting a long time by reading through the above. They baffle me simply because of their stupidity (as I see it) or their outright greed (again as I see it). Two hundred (200) white farmers have expressed interest in returning to Zimbabwe to farm the land, to feed the people of Zimbabwe, and quite possibly to attempt to return Zimbabwe to being the breadbasket of Africa. Why would they do this. Maybe because they have been offered some great deals on land, as in free, if they agree to return; and maybe those land deals consist of them getting more land than they had before. Remember 3,900 lost land, only 600 remained, and only 200 asked to return. If those 200 are given the land that has belonged to, let's say for the sake of argument and these figures are just chosen at random by me, land that had belonged to 1,000 white farmers, they would likely have pretty big land holdings and pretty big farms. This could leave the land of 2,900 for the black Zimbabweans. It would in effect probably increase farm production greatly, because the whites knew what they were doing, they were professional commercial farmers. The black Zimbabweans would probably be okay with this, because now blacks would still own the majority of the farms, and the whites would be producing enough to at least just satisfactorily feed the nation.

It does not sound to bad a plan; but I think there is a tsetse fly in the ointment. You see the government of Zimbabwe is still taking land away from white farmers. They are not training anyone, that is any black Zimbabweans to commercially farm the land, as far as I am aware even though they have a good literacy rate. Even if they are training them to be farmers, the plan has not succeeded in getting folks to be successful commercial farmers, therefore the hypothesized famine and starvation, and the reported food shortages requiring return of white farmers. So where would the continued seizures of white farmer’s land leave the economy and agriculture? What kind of a plan is it when they invite whites back to farm the land on the one hand, yet take more farms away from other whites while doing so?

Do you see it? Can you imagine as I do what kind of plan it is. As I imagine it, it will be one full of corruption, with only a goal of keeping Mugabe in power. This is how I guess it will work: 200 white farmers return. They are given a lot of land, maybe even a lot of land on which current white farmers are still farming; that is those 600 who were able to keep their land at least until now. Mugabe only gives land to whites in the future when it goes to those who agree to be loyal to him, and to his plan to remain in power. He gets a big percentage of the rake-off of the profits. The farmers, the white ones who actually are allowed to farm, also get a sizable amount of the profits, and they get a large amount of land - enough to make it so that the people of Zimbabwe have enough food to keep them happy enough not to revolt. So who gets the remaining land? My guess would be those blacks in government who support Mugabe without question. This, in my opinion, has been how Mugabe has stayed in power all along - though corruption, coercion, and diabolical planning that benefits him over all others.

There is one other tsetse fly in the ointment, this one for the returning farmers. I have to wonder, how is it that they are so stupid as to believe anything this guy Mugabe tells them, or to believe they will be allowed to profit or keep any incentive offered to them to return to Zimbabwe? Are they that shortsighted, that stupid, that they just don't realize that once Mugabe no longer feels a need for them he quite possibly will seize their land and oust them again?

I just don't understand how they think! These white farmers who would return to Zimbabwe under Mugabe who took their land in the first place, they just baffle me, and that stands even if they are just do gooders who want to actually make things better for the poor folks of Zimbabwe (which I do not believe for a minute). I admire people who want to help others, but am baffled by those who bite the hook, line and sinker of a fisherman like Mugabe when it is rotten bait he uses to attract them in the first place. But so too do most exceptionally greedy and otherwise crazed people baffle me, and that would in my opinion, be any others than actual do gooders who would return to Zimbabwe under Mugabe.

As for the people of Zimbabwe, you know the ones I mean, the regular people, the working man and woman, what do they get? They continue to get an education, but no means of implementing it in order to produce for themselves. They remain dependent upon the government for food. They wind up with a bit more food, enough to satisfy them to the point they think things are going well under Mugabe; or in other words enough to make them believe, in my opinion, that a revolution to kill of this scumbag Mugabe is not in order.

I hope they do not fall for it. I think it is far overdue for him to leave the scene, and for Zimbabwe to become a true republic ruled by its own people, with duly elected officials. It is, I think, about time the black Zimbabweans get over their own form of racism, and realize not all blacks are their friends, not all whites their enemies, and it currently is time they do something to help themselves; the number one thing being the ouster of Mugabe, and his kind, to be replaced by legitimate leaders under a true republic.

All the best,

Glenn B

It Is Nice... be home again. Saturday afternoon Don drove me to Denver Airport; and from there I flew to LaGuardia in NYC. My daughter and her new beau picked me up. Nice guy, she seems to have picked well; first time I met him since they started dating last week. He actually called me 'sir' a few times! They drove me home where I was met by my wife who had my favorite dish waiting for me. My son came in later. It was a happy homecoming all around, they seemed happy to have me home aned all of them liked the little gifts I brought them.

I do admit I will miss Don and his place inWyoming, but he knows he is welcome here anytime, he is a good friend.

More from me later on, late on Sunday probably; I have catching up to do.

All the best,
Glenn B