Tip on Avoiding Being the Party Pooper in Zimbabwe

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Zimbabwe political party Movement for Democratic Change headed by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC-T) held an annual conference this past weekend. The party, which turns 10 this year, split in late 2005 over divisions with Arthur Mutambara over the direction of the party. The newer splinter group, MDC-M, together with the MDC-T, holds a majority of seats in Parliament but the Presidency remains with ZANU-PF, the ruling party in Zimbabwe since liberation.

At the MDC-T conference, Tsvangirai wasn’t exactly uplifting regarding life in Zimbabwe since a unity government was sworn in this February following severe violence and discord after disputed elections in March 2008.

“We have not yet succeeded in restoring the rule of law … our people do not live free from fear, hunger and poverty,” he said.

Wow, way to kill a party, Debbie Downer. Oh, wait. It’s true. Lawyers, journalists, political activists and civil society are all routinely oppressed and harassed in Zimbabwe for speaking out against the government or defending those who do. Unemployment is approximately 94% and Zimbabwe is now per capita the most food aid dependent country in the world. But maybe if Tsvangirai had served at the convention some of the delicacies offered at President Mugabe’s 85th birthday party this year, this bitter pill might have been a little easier to swallow.