At a public ceremony marking the occasion, Marxist dictator Robert Mugabe, responsible for the wholesale slaughter of Matabele tribesmen who opposed his rule and the racist eviction of Whites from their farming homelands, called on his subjects to “foster an environment of tolerance.”
“As Zimbabweans, we need to foster an environment of tolerance and treating each other with dignity and respect irrespective of age, gender, race, ethnicity, tribe, political or religious affiliation,” Mugabe said.
Mugabe then announced he would continue with a new program whose objective is to steal White-owned businesses and hand them over to Black Zimbabweans.
Rhodesia, a first-world country that produced its own television sets and was “the Breadbasket of Africa,” has hit these points since being taken over and renamed Zimbabwe 30 years ago:
- Inflation reached 231 million percent a year in July 2008 before the country stopped announcing figures. The IMF estimated thaion peaked at 500 billion percent in December 2008. Inflation was brought under control with the adoption of the U.S. dollar and other foreign currencies.
- Until 2008, GDP had fallen every year since 2000. The IMF estimated that the economy shrank 14 percent in 2008 and 6.91 percent in 2007. The IMF said per capita GDP fell from $519 in 2000 to $268 in 2008. In 1990, per capita GDP was around $900.
- The majority of the population lives on less than a $1 a day. 85 percent of people live below the poverty line and annual per capita income is less than $400.
- Once the breadbasket of southern Africa, Zimbabwe now needs to import maize. About 7 million people – over half the population – relied on food aid last year.
- Unemployment has been estimated at over 90 percent. Well over 3 million Zimbabweans are thought to have fled, mostly to South Africa, in search of work and food.