Life is a Rabbit Pellet

Ramblings of a Zimbrindian's travels, life, and research.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Well, it's back

Well... the aftermath of the breakup ... I'm not dating anyone again for a while. Just going to work - for myself - keep my head down, sort my stuff out, play more racketball, and write some papers and articles. And I'm not putting any further details on a public blog, so wipe that expectant drool of your grubby little chin ...

So... the power sharing deal in Zimbabwe... the Guardian reports that while it allows Bob (as Robert Mugabe is called in Zimbabwe) to get away with murder, it does potentially place some nails in the coffin of his political life.

To quote from the article by Chris McGreal

Crucially, the MDC is likely to get the finance portfolio because foreign donors will not want to hand money over to a Zanu-PF minister. It is the prospect of that money that unlocked the prospect of agreement. Without power for Tsvangirai there will be no foreign aid, and without hard currency Mugabe had no means of turning around an imploding economy.

The numbers are staggering. Inflation is running above 20 million per cent a year. Unemployment is 80 per cent. A quarter of the population has left to look for work in South Africa and Britain.

The central bank knocked ten zeros off the Zimbabwe dollar at the beginning of last month because shops and banks could not cope with calculations in the trillions. When it was launched on 1 August, the new dollar was Z$4 to the pound, but the black market immediately offered Z$25. Since then, the currency has crashed so fast that the black market rate is Z$13,000 to the pound. The new banknotes are worthless and the government does not have the means to print new money. Last week, it announced that it would legalise the use of US dollars and South African rand, although these are already the de facto currencies....

Meanwhile, a coalition government is likely to change the political equation for good. Power sharing worked well in smoothing the transition from white rule in post-apartheid South Africa, where a sunset clause meant there would not be an immediate wholesale purge of the former administration and those who served it.

That may be all the more important in Zimbabwe, where the deep loathing and suspicion between the two sides is personal, and Zanu-PF chiefs regard Tsvangirai with contempt for his lack of liberation struggle credentials.

Yet there are many in Zanu-PF who realise that if their party is to have a future it is without Mugabe as leader, and that crippling the coalition administration will do nothing to rebuild the party's fortunes. Throughout all of this, Tsvangirai will have to stay focused on getting to another election swiftly and with his credibility intact.

Other things... Hurricane Ike is really hitting Texas hard. This has affected work a tiny bit, since we needed permission from someone at NASA's Johnson Space Center to release some imagery, but obviously they have far more important matters to worry about. I hope they're alright. Admittedly, I also hope their data is backed up at remote locations.

I really, really, hate road bikes. Mountain bikes are comfortable. And boy do I like comfort.

Stuck at work on a Saturday night. At least I'm not the only one. There must be half a dozen other people in this building at the moment. I've seen a few since I'm sitting out in the middle of the atrium in a vain attempt to work in a civilized cafe-like location.


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