|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
President Mugabe’s Slum Clean-Up Campaign Causes Humanitarian Crisis in Zimbabwe
08 July 2005
The issue of African poverty relief, a central goal of the G8 Summit this week in Gleneagles, Scotland, shared the limelight with another African issue, the growing humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.
|Several analysts say President Mugabe has ruined any chances of ending his international isolation with his urban clean-up operation that has left hundreds of thousands of people homeless, without food and some dead|
|Children at Caledonia Farm, a transit camp for thousands of people displaced by the clean-up campaign in Zimbabwe|
Freelance Zimbabwean journalist Tendai Maphosa said the crackdown would only worsen an already dismal economic situation. Zimbabwe has 80-percent unemployment and over 100-percent inflation. With the eradication of the businesses of the so-called “black market” economy in the shadows of the urban slums, poverty will only increase, and the very uprising the crackdown was supposed to prevent may be ignited, Mr. Maphosa said.
While the U.S. and British governments have condemned the uprooting as a violation of human rights, not a single African nation has broken its silence about the crisis, including South African President Thabo Mbeki, according to Delia Robertson, a VOA reporter in Johannesburg. Ms. Robertson said the government’s silence is part of South Africa’s official policy of “quiet diplomacy.”
|Leaders from the powerful Group of Eight (G8) rich nations have fiercely denounced President Robert Mugabe over the political repression that has reduced Zimbabwe to an international outcast|
But Richard Cockett said there are two reasons why African leaders, especially Mr. Mbeke, support Mr. Mugabe. By pitching the West’s criticism of his actions as a part of an ongoing colonial struggle against the British imperialists, Mr. Mugabi turns it into a racial issue and reinforces his popular image as a hero of the black liberation struggle, Mr. Cockett said. It would be political suicide to break from the anti-colonial rhetoric for Mr. Mbeke, who is also keen to keep Zimbabwe’s unrest from spilling over into South Africa, according to Mr. Cockett.
Thus far the African Union has rejected Western calls to put pressure on Zimbabwe to stop the demolition campaign. International journalists say leading industrial powers will probably need support from African leaders if the situation in Zimbabwe is to improve. And British Prime Minister Tony Blair has warned that the Africa-wide silence on the Zimbabwean crisis may make the case for increasing African aid harder to sell to the G8 nations.
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