Zimbabwe is truly a land of contradictions. The economy is booming although the May food and cash crop harvests are only 35-55% of normal requirements. The countryside is growing mainly grass and weeds (with almost no cattle to eat the gr
ass which is flourishing).
Anyone who travels anywhere in the country will attest to the extremely low level of crop production.
The IMF and the international community seem to have struck a secret deal which has brought food back into the shops and foreign exchange back into the economy.
The government, Zanu PF, President Mugabe and even the infamous Information minister are largely keeping quiet, minimising political hysteria.
So why is the government not allowing the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation delegation to inspect food production and food storage? Why do they insist that Zimbabwe has almost enough food to feed herself without any assistance from the World Food Programme?
The answer, as usual, may lie in politics. A general election is looming early 2005 (which rumours say may be brought forward even to mid-2004).
Although Zanu PF are experts at electoral fraud, they also intimidate and coerce prospective voters.
This makes them feel powerful. The non-availability of commercial and/or free food supplies is an extremely powerful weapon of mass destruction.
The big question is – what will the international community and the IMF do about it? Probably nothing.