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Vol 43 No 15

Published 26th July 2002


Zimbabwe

After the phoney war

Economic breakdown is exposing the spin and forcing political change

Armed guards surrounded President Robert Mugabe as he opened parliament on 23 July. Zimbabweans, he explained, face two scourges ­ Britain, the former colonial power, which was trying to overthrow his regime; and the drought, sole cause of food shortages that affect more than half of the country's 13 million people. The chamber was half-empty, since the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, with 58 of the 120 elected seats, boycotted the proceedings. Formal politics in Zimbabwe look surreal.

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