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Development Matters

Robert Mugabe, the Press, and the Future of Zimbabwe

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 - 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Andrew Meldrum, freelance journalist for the Guardian and the Economist, Winner, 2004 Columbia University Schork Award for courageous international journalism, discussed his new book, "Where We Have Hope: A Memoir of Zimbabwe" (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2005). Ray Choto, Voice of America, Studio 7 and formerly head writer for The Standard (Harare) gave commentary. CGD Research Fellow Todd Moss served as moderator.

About the Book: When American-born journalist Andrew Meldrum arrived in Harare in 1980, he planned to stay for only a short time.But he quickly fell in love with the country and its people and stayed. Yet over time Meldrum watched as President Robert Mugabe gradually consolidated power and the government slowly evolved into violent despotism. The last foreign journalist in Zimbabwe, Meldrum was seized and finally expelled in May 2003, forced to leave for writing "bad things" about the regime. In the book, Meldrum describes what it meant to live through this period of hope and tragedy: how hundreds of people lined up to tell him of horrific massacres; how he once hid from Mugabe's thugs in a cupboard; how he was harassed, arrested, imprisoned, and tried.