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Zimbabwe's language of hope

As political stalemate deepens, a school for the hearing-impaired in an impoverished township shows what's possible.

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My car bumps across a stony track in Sakubva suburb. Like many roads in Zimbabwe, this one is so badly potholed that it looks as if it’s been shelled. Piles of garbage rot in the sun on either side.

Despite the excited chatter of the four preschoolers in the back seat, my thoughts are glum. Lately, I’ve been wondering if my hope in a bright future for Zimbabwe is misplaced.

There was so much hope last February when former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai joined a power-sharing government with longtime President Robert Mugabe. Many Zimbabweans believed that nine years of political and economic turmoil were finally over.

Ten months on, cracks in the coalition are widening. Mr. Tsvangirai alleges that his supporters are being persecuted. He claims that Mr. Mugabe refuses to share control of the central bank and other government institutions. Mugabe maintains he’s done nothing wrong. In fact, he says Tsvangirai has failed to abide by the unity deal: He hasn’t persuaded the United States and the European Union to lift sanctions on Mugabe and his associates.

I’m indignant and despondent by turns. I long for a fair (and speedy) solution to what looks like a dangerous stalemate. But I’m aware that my Western way of thinking is not shared by everyone. Friends from the ethnic Shona majority urge patience. Like many educated urbanites, most are supporters of Tsvangirai.


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