What does a dictator wish for on his birthday? Well if you are Robert Mugabe it seems you only have one. Get more farms and businesses out of white control and into the hands of the country's blacks. Of course Mugabe dare not close his eyes when he goes to blow out the candles on his 85 kilo birthday cake (one of for every year of his age). And far from taking on the typical repose of the senior citizen that he is, Mugabe seems to be hard at work defending his regime and the causes that sparked his initial political involvement as far back as 1970's. This BBC article reveals that Mugabe intends to strip ownership from more white and foreign land and business owners.
Mr. Mugabe said the new government would continue to push for a majority stake in companies operating in Zimbabwe. "We would want to see a greater participation of our people in them, not less than 51%, in certain companies we would have designated," he said.
Mugabe has mainly been touted as a tyrant and critics point to failing economic policies, staggering unemployment and inflations rates (2007: 2 million yr to yr). His involvement in the return of farm land back to black ownership has been criticized, citing the dramatic reduction in agricultural production and general chaos. But if this course (in Anthropology) has suggested anything it is that nothing is as clear cut as it might seem.
Zimbabwe seems like a desperate situation. Cholera and AIDS ravage the country. Political instability has led to untold violence. Are these the costs of the struggle against colonial repression as recent as the 1950's or is are these struggles the result of an egotistical despot bent on fulfilling his own agenda and personal gain. Although, I am inclined to bend toward the later perspective the former is not easily dismissed. It seems abundantly clear that the difficulties that Zimbabwe faces are the result of oppressive colonial racism. It is a tragedy to see a desperate situation such as this haunted by these colonial ghosts.