|Robert Mugabe airport.|
All photos RJ Peltz-Steele CC BY-SA 4.0.
Zimbabwe imports its oil, but there is no ready explanation, such as a natural disaster or embargo, to explain the latest (nor the prior) bottleneck and long gas lines. My host blames politics as usual, which means control of the country's oil market awarded to cartels in exchange for lucrative kickbacks to politicians. A business owner dependent on vehicles to move assets, my host explained the strategies he employs to keep his fleet in service, including foreign currency purchases, which can bypass gas lines; fuel storage for a rainy day; the occasional financial inducement to a fuel seller; and, when all else fails, waiting in the interminable lines.
|A gas line runs along the road.|
|A Total station is closed except for its 'Bonjour' shop.|
|Customers wait for the grocery store to open in the morning.|
My host lamented: Zimbabwe is a country rich in natural resources and natural beauty to rival regional neighbors such as Tanzania and South Africa. Yet in 55 years since independence from the UK, the country inexcusably has failed to mature domestic productivity or the touristic sector. Sadly, coup d'etat and the long-anticipated exit of Mugabe seem not to have precipitated meaningful change.
Just wait, my host said: if the people don't see improvements, they'll change leadership again; and again, until someone gets it right.
|Zimbabwe Parliament building sits on Africa Unity Square.|