Global Politics

Zimbabwe talks

(There's been such extreme violence and now we're hearing that these foes are sitting down to talk. Could this amount to something?) It's great news, but we shouldn't get ahead of ourselves. This understanding that the two have signed agrees in principal to talks, but there are still huge rifts between the two leaders over who actually won the presidential elections. (There was a news conference today with South African President Mbeki sitting in between Mugabe and Tsvangerai. Mugabe talked about having to act and think as Zimbabweans. What's your reaction to that?) That fits into his rhetoric which is that Zimbabweans can solve their own problems. This is also a message against Tsvangerai because he's always maintained that Tsvangerai is a puppet of the international community. (Tsvangerai talked at the conference about this being an auspicious occasion. Do you also hold that view?) Yes, I do. Tsvangerai talked about how Mugabe's party is ruling, but his party is the party that won. (What's the inflation rate in Zimbabwe and the unemployment rate right now?) Over 2 million percent and above 80%, respectively. One US dollar would equal ten billion Zimbabwean dollars. (What is the life span there?) Ten years ago it was above 60 years of age, now it's 34 years for a woman, which is the lowest in the world. (What possibly could be done by Tsvangerai with Mugabe to turn around any of those figures?) It can be turned around, but the coalition government needs to create the conditions for free and fair elections.

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