Elections

Could Zimbabwe's economic crisis unite black and white?

As whites forge post-Mugabe roles, the crisis might just unite ordinary people regardless of race

30 July 2018 - 06:57 By Roland Oliphant and Peta Thornycroft
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised Harare’s tiny and ageing white community that remaining white farmers would be issued with 99-year leases.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised Harare’s tiny and ageing white community that remaining white farmers would be issued with 99-year leases.
Image: AFP/Wilfred Kajese

Rusty Markham gazes over the corrugated tin and wood structures that make up the Harare suburb of Hatcliffe, and recounts everything that it lacks: metalled roads, running water, a fit-for-purpose sewerage system, and political leaders who care.

“In 38 years, Zanu-PF have destroyed Harare,” he says with feeling. “That’s why we are going to win here – in five years, the local MP has done nothing.”

Home to both Zimbabwe’s most exclusive postcode and the visceral neglect of Hatcliffe, few constituencies embody the economic dysfunction engulfing this country like Harare North, the constituency Markham is contesting for the opposition MDC Alliance in Monday’s elections.

But Markham, who says he is certain to unseat the incumbent Zanu-PF MP, is an unusual candidate.

The great-grandson of an Anglican missionary who came on foot into what is now Zimbabwe in the 1890s, he is a living embodiment of a British colonial past. 

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