The crumbling state

From the Daily Telegraph via zwnews (my emphasis)

The Zimbabwean government has put the country's army on alert to deal with potential civil unrest, it was revealed yesterday.

Soldiers have been told to prepare to quell any outbreaks of disorder amid a worsening cholera outbreak. But troops are not being issued with firearms as senior officers are no longer sure who they can trust.

Low-ranking soldiers have rioted in the streets of Harare on several recent occasions after being unable to obtain cash.
Officially the Zimbabwe National Army is 40,000-strong, but informed estimates put its real numbers at a maximum of 30,000, with its ranks thinning dramatically due to desertion by soldiers and officers up to the level of captain.
Desertions from the army began two years ago, but are now accelerating as one of the main incentives for staying in uniform - a gratuity paid after 10 years service - has been rendered irrelevant by the country's hyperinflation. "That is now worth nothing, so they are just not going back," said a source. "We don't know how many as the numbers are being replaced with new recruits with hardly any training, youngsters who have never even fired a gun."
All here
And the models for a crumbling state: Somalia, Yugoslavia, Soviet Union, Chechenya?
Perhaps naively I don't think any of these are a good example. I think Zimbabwe has still the remnants of civil society (courts and lawyers, trades unions, local government) which will be a basis on which to rebuild. But when there is no police and no authority there will almost certainly be revenge and violent anger. Perhaps the model is India at partition - an outburst of violence followed by a stable government?
Or, perhaps, a transitional government will be brought in from outside, like the ANC's return from exile, with sufficient international help to provide stability. Of course, Zimbabwe will then be in hock to the West (who will have to fund it) for decades to come - oligarchic capitalism, and land-ownership, will be restored. And the rhetoric and facts of land-redistribution will also have left a legacy of resentment against the West.
We'll see.

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