Please note: this book with this title has been published ten years ago. This question is still relevant. President Robert (uncle Bob) Mugabe is still on his throne. People have been running around his throne, hoping to dethrone him, but he still sits and he continues to sit.

The books starts with the elections in the year 2005 in Zimbabwe. According to Mugabe the United Kingdom and the United States of America try to take over his beloved Zimbabwe and Tsangirai is their puppet. At that time one third of the population lived in exile, there was a very high rate of unemployment. His former cronies when he killed thousands of people had turned into his enemies. One year before the elections Geoff Hill visited Rwanda, a country with a very violent recent history. But Rwanda on on its way back, already in 2004 the signs were visible.

Hill gives a short history of the area that is now called Zimbabwe. He writes about migrating people (nothing new!), about the Shona and the Ndebele and the San and the white tribes (with many minor tribes). He writes about elections, the militia that are weapons in the hands of Mugabe, the war-veterans. He writes about the decline of education, healthcare, the police-force, pressfreedom, agricultural produce, judicial system. He writes about the increase in the number of exiles, many of whom moved to South Africa, and others continued their journey to the United Kingdom (is it ironic? the enemy of Mugabe).

At several points in his discourse he refers to the situation of Kenya during the reign of Daniel Toroitich arap Moi, the dictator, during whose reign the country went into a downward spiral. 

Geoff Hill shows that what is needed is not just a change in regime, but also the need for a long term vision, to change the country. Seeing the enormous decline in so many fields, this is an uphill battle in Zimbabwe. Many African countries that have chased away a dictator show that this does not automatically imply the rise of democracy, the rise of press-freedom, the rise in decency. It is a difficult process, a long term process and Geoff Hill is not very optimistic about the future of Zimbabwe. 

Geoff Hill – What happens after Mugabe? Can Zimbabwe rise from the ashes? – 2005



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I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

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