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Tuesday 29 April 2008

Eggs, potholes and Robert Mugabe's last days - we hope

The Zimbabwean underground Civil Action Group Sokwanele is proving the best source for online news about what's going on.

They are:
A civic action support group driven towards the use of non-violent actions to bring democracy, justice and freedom to Zimbabweans.
Sokwanele means 'enough is enough' in Ndebele. The non-violence is very important with comments regularly deleted or edited. They are not affiliated with the MDC.

Yesterday they posted a telling story about the Zimbabwean International Trade Fair - yes, such a thing exists and went ahead at the weekend. The sole news about the event was that local hotel managers ended up arrested because inflation is so unbelievable that they had to put up prices, which in the Alice in Wonderland economy is illegal.

Prices of eggs double in one day, from Z$100mil to Z$210mil. For a shop owner, just keeping two out-of-date yogurts on the shelves can drive them out of business. Once ended, businesses are taken over by the state and handed to Zanu-PF's allies.

Roads outside the shiny Bulawayo hotels don't have potholes, around the corner there's potholes and traffic lights which don't work. The potholes themselves are one way for starving Zimbabweans to make some money. Kids fill them in with sand and then clamor for tips when drivers slow down.

Sokwanele's blog was the first to report on the Chinese arms-carrying ship - which they now say is being shadowed by a British nuclear submarine.

And they have also set up - as happened in Kenya - a whole series of online tools.

A Google Map is marking locations of the terror campaign currently going on.

As well as a contacts database for taking action in support - currently aimed at the UN and South Africa. And a terror photo album on Flickr. And a cartoon gallery.

These last three I don't recall seeing in Kenya, although Joseph Karoki was posting lots of photos there.

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