HARARE - Prospects of sustainable recovery in Zimbabwe appear dimmer than ever before as a bewildering array of self-inflicted and natural disasters steadily throttle the once prosperous the southern African nation.
Analysts believe that after more than five years of an unprecedented economic meltdown, Zimbabwe is headed for more troubled waters - at least in the short-to-medium term.
"It looks like we have now turned into the masters of navigating from one sticky situation to another, and in almost all cases fingers will be pointing at those entrusted with powers to lead this country," said a political analyst from the University of Zimbabwe who did not want to be named.
The bulk of the crises stem from self-created chaos while others, like the outbreak of the crop-eating armyworms during the past few weeks, are really the result of unsympathetic weather elements.
At a time fellow southern African countries are excited about prospects of better harvests because of good rains this farming season, Zimbabwe has been hit hard by an armyworm outbreak which effectively reduces chances of achieving a respectable harvest from the 2005/06 season.
The analysts said Harare's much-vaunted Operation Maguta faces the real risk of failure after the caterpillars have devoured large amounts of crops and pasture in the Midlands, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central and Mashonaland East provinces - Zimbabwe's prime agricultural regions.
Operation Maguta is an ambitious government programme to resuscitate the mainstay agricultural sector, in a state of near total collapse after President Robert Mugabe's chaotic and often violent land redistribution programme which destabilised the sector and saw food production tumbling down by about 60 percent.