[From the diaries by susanhbu.]

The USAID Famine Early Warning System Network has put an “Emergency” red famine warning on Zimbabwe.

The report on their site is very neutral and does not lay the blame where it firmly belongs, at the feet of President Mugabe. Political repression involving the use of farm takeovers and their handover to his cronies and control of the distribution of the main staple foods by the Army was emboldened by the failure of the Western nationst to make an adequate response to his stealing the last elections earlier this year.

The country is producing one third of its annual consumption of maize. It used to export this grain and was the “breadbasket” of southern Africa. Initial examination of the crop predictions show that the crop failure has been most sever in the provinces in the south. This area abutts South Africa where hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans have fled to survive as illegals. The total Zimbabwean diaspora is put ion the millins.

I need to do some more research into the details on this but it looks like there is a causal effect between emigration and crop failures in the south. The other map show the black market price of maize in different areas. At first sight, it looks like the highest prices are in areas where the anti-Mugabe MDC got the most votes. Presumably this means that there are greater amounts slipping out of the government warehouses in the cheaper areas. If the political-geographic supply link is borne out, it would confirm the threats made at the elections to force people to vote for Mugabe.

The best way wof illustrating this would be to have a map of the outcome of the 2005 election results. So far I have not found one so if anoyone does know of any, please let me know. The only areas that look like they have lower prices but support for the MDC are around the capital but I seem to remember the results were mixed anyway. Mugabe would anyway ensure a good supply for his hangers-on in Harare.

As you can infer this is a bit of a work in progress so any useful links would be gratefully received.

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