Reporters SEVENTY-SEVEN medical specialists from the Democratic Republic of
Congo arrived in Harare yesterday on a three-year working programme which
is expected to ease pressure on the staff strapped Ministry of Health and
The delegation headed by Mr Lukali El Fataki comprises
54 doctors, 11 pharmacists and three radiographers. They will be deployed to
the country's provincial and district hospitals.
Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, Mrs Elizabeth Xaba,
who received the delegation, said the deployment would be done soon to
hospitals most in need throughout the country.
Mrs Xaba said the gesture
symbolised the friendship between the two countries.
"We are happy
that our protocol is the first to reap from the long standing relationship
with the DRC", she said.
In response Mr El Fataki said: "We have a
feeling of joy because we have the blessing of our two presidents. A few
months ago we had the Zimbabwean soldiers in the DRC, today we have the DRC
doctors in Zimbabwe. This shows the maturity of our relationship."
DRC doctors come at a time when the country's junior and middle-level doctors
have gone on strike, which has been declared illegal by the Public Service
In February the country also received a delegation of 74
doctors and other medical practitioners from Cuba.
The move then was
described by the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa,
as a brave show of patriotism by the Cuban doctors.
Dr Parirenyatwa was
voicing his concern over the huge exodus of Zimbabwean doctors mainly to the
Western countries citing poor remuneration and working conditions.
Xaba dismissed the issue of language barrier as trivial, citing the example
of the Cuban doctors who have not reported any major communication problems
since their arrival in February.
At a Press conference late yesterday,
the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa said the
arrival of doctors from DRC was a historic event for Zimbabwe as it showed
that relations between the two countries were solid.
"I wish to make
it clear that the doctors from DRC did not come in Zimbabwe to relieve the
striking doctors," said Dr Parirenyatwa.
MERYL Harrison said it was the worst day
she has experienced in her three-year struggle to save or mercifully kill
some of the millions of domestic animals in Zimbabwe that are starving, being
tortured and dying as anarchy increases under President Robert Mugabe’s
For the sake of some distressed milking cows, she
narrowly escaped being axed to death two days ago. Ms Harrison, recipient of
several international awards for courage, had also just learned that if she
does not have a heart operation within a month she could die
On Thursday Ms Harrison went to a former commercial farm 20 miles
outside Harare, now occupied by so-called war veterans, in an attempt to
rescue 260 starving pedigree dairy cows.
"It was a crazy situation,"
she told The Scotsman. "Baines Hope was once one of the best dairy farms in
Zimbabwe, but five months ago the government drove the owner, William Hughes,
from his land. War vets were settled there and they confined the cows to just
four hectares of land. They have eaten every single blade of grass, they
haven’t been milked and they’re in shocking condition, just skin and
When Ms Harrison, chief inspector of the Zimbabwe National Society
for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ZSPCA), arrived to negotiate with
the "veterans" - so young that they could not have fought in
Zimbabwe’s liberation war - she met intense hostility.
"They told Mark
[Manhuwa, the ZSPCA senior inspector] to leave immediately. Then one of the
youngsters came at me with an axe and insisted that I dance and sing
Pamberina ZANU-PF with them."
Pamberina ZANU-PF, or "Advance with
ZANU-PF", is one of the anthems of Mr Mugabe’s party. She had previously
always successfully refused such demands, but on Thursday she
"The axe man was too threatening and insistent. I didn’t
want to be a dead heroine, so I did it," said Ms Harrison, who has survived
time and again because she has a sense of the ridiculous.
persuaded police to give her an armed escort to rescue 12 tortoises from a
farm, while nearby police refused to escort an ambulance to help a couple,
both 90, who had been under siege for 40 days; the husband had broken his
Ms Harrison realised Thursday’s work had got out of hand and after
the singing she signalled to Addmore Chinhembe, a colleague, to move slowly
back to their vehicle. "Another youth came at me with an axe. He prodded
its handle in my face and told me that if I ever returned something would
happen to me and the story would be very big on News Letter [a television
It was just another day in Ms Harrison’s work, which
has put such strain on her heart that she could die unless she has a heart
operation within a month. The operation is unavailable in Zimbabwe and the
ZSPCA is trying to raise funds for her to be operated on in Johannesburg.
New York Times
To the delight of its liberal critics, the Bush administration has taken a
constructive interest in the problems of Africa. Mr. Bush's trip to South
Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Niger and Senegal early next month symbolizes that
concern. So does the administration's promises of increased aid, its global
H.I.V./AIDS initiative and its outspokenness for African democracy.
Africans now suffer more from war and H.I.V./AIDS than the inhabitants of
any other continent. And they remain among the world's poorest people, even
in resource-rich countries like Angola, Nigeria and Congo. The main reason
is misgovernment and official corruption. Shamefully, though, American farm
subsidies block the exits from poverty for some African countries by making
it impossible for their crops to compete with ours. In contrast, Mr. Bush's
commitment to spend $15 billion fighting AIDS worldwide over the next five
years is welcome. Compared with the costs of war or farm subsidies, this
investment, which can save hundreds of thousands of lives, is remarkably
Africa's three main conflicts cry out for more effective intervention. More
than three million people have been killed in nearly five years of fighting
in Congo and some two million in two decades of civil war in Sudan.
Liberia's dictator, Charles Taylor, is responsible for wars that have killed
hundreds of thousands. Mr. Bush is sending his special envoy to Sudan and
has told Mr. Taylor to step down now. He also needs to work for a stronger
United Nations peacekeeping force in Congo.
Another destructive African leader is Robert Mugabe, whose resort to fraud
and thuggery undermined the legitimacy of his latest re-election as
Zimbabwe's president. Washington rightly demands a return to democracy
there. That needs help from South Africa, whose president, Thabo Mbeki,
claims to champion democracy and better governance in Africa. But he has so
far refused to press for those values where he has the most influence, in
neighboring Zimbabwe. Africa's problems may still seem remote to some
Americans. Mr. Bush recognizes that they are not.
New York Times Zimbabwean Urges U.S. to Act Cautiously Against Mugabe By
JOHANNESBURG, June 27 — Seizing on President Bush's
call for a change in leadership in Zimbabwe, the opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai said today that his Movement for Democratic Change was developing
a plan it hoped would lead to a peaceful transition of power in a country
rocked by political and economic strife.
But Mr. Tsvangirai also said
the United States should not overreach in southern Africa as it pressures
President Robert Mugabe to step down. Rather, he said, "there must be a
balance in how outside pressure can be applied in order to bring results," an
apparent acknowledgment that Mr. Tsvangirai's party remains vulnerable to Mr.
Mugabe's charge that it is simply a puppet of Britain and the United
"These are very delicate issues," Mr. Tsvangirai said in a
telephone interview from his home in the suburbs of Harare, Zimbabwe's
capital. "We have specific suggestions on how outside pressure can help." He
said the opposition's leadership planned to meet over the weekend to come up
with a plan to end the crisis, one that will include a call for new
elections, something Mr. Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party has
Mr. Tsvangirai's cautious embrace of Mr. Bush's call for change
in Zimbabwe underscores just how difficult it will be to resolve the crisis
there. It demonstrates why leaders in the region, including South Africa's
president, Thabo Mbeki, have been reluctant to press Mr. Mugabe to step down
despite general agreement that his departure from office after 23 years would
be best for Zimbabwe and its neighbors.
"The real situation is far
more intricate and complicated than people realize," said Chris Landsberg, a
political analyst and lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand here.
"I don't think it is as easy for South Africa to move on Zimbabwe as people
make it out to be."
Mr. Mugabe has cast his struggle to retain power as a
battle between African liberation and neo-colonial power, a strategy that has
made it difficult for other African leaders to urge him publicly to step
In an Op-Ed article in The New York Times on Tuesday, Secretary of
State Colin L. Powell urged Zimbabwe's neighbors — South Africa in particular
— to take a more active role in defusing the crisis.
But experts here
say Mr. Mbeki is reluctant to push Mr. Mugabe because bowing to Western
pressure to shun him would cost Mr. Mbeki politically at home and diminish
his standing among African leaders. Still, political analysts here expect
that Mr. Bush will press Mr. Mbeki to act in Zimbabwe when the two meet in
Pretoria next month.
Once an economic powerhouse in southern Africa,
Zimbabwe has descended into political and economic turmoil since last year's
presidential election, won by Mr. Mugabe. Marked by widespread fraud, the
election was not recognized by the United States and Europe.
popularity waning, Mr. Mugabe has carried out an often violent program of
land reform in which black squatters have taken land by force from white
farmers. The country's agricultural output, once among the highest in Africa,
has plummeted by 50 percent. Inflation is rampant at supermarkets in Harare,
where cashiers weigh fat bundles of Zimbabwean dollars rather than count them
because the currency's value has fallen so low.
Mr. Tsvangirai, who
won more than a million votes in the election last year, has twice been
charged with treason and was jailed for two weeks after a recent series of
mass protests in Harare and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest
Mr. Tsvangirai said that his party was ready for unconditional
talks with the ruling Zanu-PF but that a new election was the only way out of
the current morass.
"The question is really the restoration of
legitimacy of the government," he said. "It can only be restored by the free
mandate of the people of Zimbabwe."
Starvation in Africa: The Real Issues Amir
Taheri • Arab News Staff
Are you looking for an inexpensive way to
get publicity? Well, look no further: All you need to do is to make some
noise about how the world is ignoring black Africa.
This is what
pop singers Bono and Bob Geldof have been doing for years.
African famine became a globally fashionable subject in 1984. Remember those
TV images of starving children and dying mothers? They made Ethiopia the most
famous African country throughout the world. According to estimates by the
Organization of African Unity, now renamed African Union, in the decade that
followed, Ethiopia received something like $1.5 billion in foreign aid or the
equivalent of a 10 percent annual growth rate.
And, yet, we are
back where we were in 1984. But why?
Before we tackle that question
let us straighten out a few points.
First, it is the height of
arrogance to ask, “Have we done enough for Africa?” Such an approach puts the
entire African continent in the position of a mere object of history. That
kind of Africa is worse than a beggar because a classical beggar at least
does some begging.
The question is not only insulting but also
unfair. Most estimates show that each year twice as much money flows out of
Africa, into Western banks and businesses, than the other way round. The
truth is that many African political and business leaders are plundering
their nations and putting the proceeds into the safe havens of the
The second issue that needs to be sorted out is what we mean
During the past three decades 18 of the 53 African
nations have experienced what the World Food Program describes as an
Of these, eight suffered famine because of civil war
or other forms of armed conflict. Three others were stricken by famine at the
end of long wars that destroyed part of their agriculture. A further five
were pushed into food “emergency” because of the arrival of large numbers of
refugees from neighboring countries. (Africa, with just 15 percent of the
world’s population, produces some 60 percent of all refugees.)
The remaining two famine-stricken nations were victims of
poor decision-making by their respective governments.
Now let us
return to the crucial question of why a nation suffers famine. The Nobel
prize-winning economist Amaryta Sen insists that there is famine because
people are too poor to buy food.
So what should one
If one provides cash to buy food with, the affected Africans
will simply turn to Western producers who are capable of offering the type
of food needed at the time desired. This would leave no opportunity for
African agriculture to raise its head, even in the best years. If, on the
other hand, one provides free imported food, again there will be no incentive
for local producers.
Over the past two decades the 18 countries
concerned have received something like $12 billion of aid in various
It is quite possible that the aid in question has been, at
least in part, responsible for the persistence of famine in most of those
countries. Such a claim might sound outlandish but let us examine it
The aid in question has enabled the governments concerned
to divert their resources from providing food for their citizens either to
war or to corruption. The completely senseless war that Ethiopia and Eritrea
fought a couple of years ago cost them a staggering $4 billion. Before that
Ethiopia had been involved in wars in Ogaden and Tigre, not to mention the
Eritrean war of liberation that lasted 20 years.
The case of
Angola, No. 4 on the African list of famine-stricken nations, is equally
instructive. During the past three decades Angola has earned almost $80
billion from oil and diamond exports, enough to make it one of the
continent’s richest nations. And yet half of is population is now on the edge
of famine. The reason? A long civil war that ended only a year ago, and a
government that is universally regarded as a kleptocracy.
corruption are also at the root of starvation and famine in other concerned
countries, from Mauritania to the Sudan and passing by Liberia and
According to the Food and Agricultural Organization
(FAO), Africa is now more prone to famine than it was a generation ago when
it was still largely under colonial rule. Since the 1960s Asia has cut the
famine probability rate from 43 percent to less than 13 percent. In the
African countries concerned, however, that rate has risen from 18 percent to
Famine is not a natural phenomenon; it is the
inevitable result of the policies of despotic regimes that cannot survive
without war and internal repression. More than food, Africa needs freedom.
For where there is freedom there is no famine.
management has left Zimbabwe's once vibrant economy in shambles, and some of
its millions of people are forced to sell their furniture to survive -- if
they have any.
But agencies selling limousines and even luxury
cosmetics have reported record sales and the few rich in the country enjoy
"The people who could fix the situation are the ones
who are making a fortune out of it," said Harare economist John
The chaotic government seizures of thousands of
white-owned farms have been blamed for three years of political violence and
disruptions in the agriculture-based economy that have led to acute shortages
of food, fuel, power and medicines.
President Robert Mugabe's
ruling party elite and their business associates control much of the hugely
profitable black market in goods and hard currency. Meanwhile, nearly half of
the population will need food aid this year to avoid starvation, according to
the U.N. World Food Program. About 80 percent of the population lives in
In regular stores the shelves are bare, but advertisements
in the main state newspaper offer foodstuffs, cooking oil and even bank note
counting machines to help traders in the hyperinflationary economy do their
The black market gasoline sells for four times the
government's fixed price. It keeps the traffic moving in
Other ads regularly offer "fuel available" and give the
mobile phone numbers of merchants for price quotations.
stations in the capital have not received fuel deliveries for a month because
of hard currency shortages for fuel imports by the state oil procurement
Zimbabwe's Central Statistical Office said last month
that annual inflation reached a record 269 percent and unemployment exceeded
70 percent, driving many unemployed to scavenge for goods to sell furniture
and other assets.
Ordinary Zimbabweans "get up in the morning
and try to find something to survive on," Robertson said.
6,000 Zimbabwe dollars now buy what 100 Zimbabwe dollars bought in 1995. The
official exchange rate rose from about 8 Zimbabwe dollars to the U.S. dollar
in 1995, to 824-1 this year, alongside a current black market exchange rate
of up to 2,700-1.
Mugabe, 79, who has been in power for 23 years,
traveled to Libya this week to discuss resuming gasoline supplies that were
cut off after Zimbabwe didn't pay $62 million in arrears for previous
Anti-government strikes called by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change shut down much of the economy June 2-6 but
street protests demanding democratic reform were thwarted by a massive show
of force by police, soldiers and ruling party militiamen.
protests appeared to be of little concern to one pro-Mugabe businessman who
threw his 50th birthday party soon afterward. He hired a replica of a
Mississippi paddle steamer on Zimbabwe's northern Lake Kariba.
calligraphy for the handwritten dinner place name cards alone cost five times
Zimbabwe's average annual per capita income.