Zimbabwe's ruling party sacks Robert Mugabe as leader
UPDATE NOTE: the comments section has turned into a pretty detailed and interesting (to me, at least) geopolitical discussion, considering that it's on my little blog of nudies and snark. Damn, it basically shows that I am easily sidetracked by bright and shiny things, and even some things with a low albedo. (Does Viagra help for a low albedo?)
ADDITIONAL UPDATE: The worm turns? Mugabe refuses to quit.
Mugabe has been running the country for 30 years, and was a power figure for many years before that. I did a study there for Mobil in 1995, and it was not a bad place to visit, but the advice to Mobil was to tread cautiously.
The economy had some serious problems - wages were not sufficient to maintain a decent standard of living and were not keeping pace with inflation, and only 10% of the population was employed. (Because of children, retirees and stay-home parents, developed countries usually max out around 65% - maybe 40% if you measure only permanent, full-time workers.) So you can do the math and figure that most of the people willing and able to work were unable to find jobs and essentially had nothing to do. My clearest memory of Zimbabwe was that there were so many people walking the streets day and night. Every day the pedestrian traffic was comparable to Christmas season on 5th Avenue. With no jobs and no money for transportation or entertainment, the entire urban population was peripatetic. They were not menacing, or anything like that, but just socializing and passing the time. In a way it was nice to see an outdoor scene where people were laughing and greeting one another and children were playing happily. I wish America was like that. But it's hard to take any joy in that interaction when you realize the underlying sadness beneath it.
Why so few jobs? The economy desperately needed to diversify because it was almost entirely based on agriculture, despite the fact that only 7% of the land was arable. To make matters worse, the agricultural sector was heavily reliant on tobacco, which is not exactly a burgeoning growth industry. Unfortunately, diversification was difficult because of the lack of skilled labor, which prevented foreign investment. The government was inimical to foreign investment as well. Multiple layers of red tape stood in the way of new businesses, the currency was not convertible, and transparency was lacking. Moreover Mugabe doled out favors, businesses and franchises to his relatives, cohorts and sycophants as if he were commanding a personal fiefdom, which he essentially was.
In short, the country was not developing as rapidly as a poor nation should be and was not doing the right things to speed up development.
And then there were those human rights violations.
Unfortunately, things have steadily gotten worse, not better. The Mobil brand is gone now, having gotten out when the getting was good. (Well, as good as could be expected.) The country has experienced frequent bouts of hyper-inflation.
It's high time they gave somebody not named Mugabe a chance.