Wednesday, March 16

Fences: For Cows or People?

Zimbabwe holds general elections on March 31. There is some concern that illegal Zimbabwean immigrants, fleeing the economic ruin of their homeland, will try to cross into Botswana at that time.

However, Botswana -- with the assistance of the EU -- has constructed a 500 kilometer-long, 220-volt fence "to prevent cattle infected with foot-and-mouth disease in Zimbabwe from crossing into Botswana." The government has denied that the fence also aims to keep out Zimbabweans. Currently, the fence is switched off; it'll be tough to argue that the fence doesn't serve this dual purpose if it's switched on at the end of the month.

Of course, illegal Zimbabweans might also try to sneak into Zambia, but Zambia doesn't provide as many economic opportunities as Botswana, which is an economic powerhouse in the region.