Day By Day

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Zimbabwe Update -- the UN finally condemns Mugabe

Well, they finally made a decision -- the UN thinks that Mugabe's assault on Zimbabwe's poor is a bad thing.

AP reports:
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Zimbabwe's destruction of urban slums is a "disastrous venture" that has left 700,000 people without homes or jobs, violated international law and created a grave humanitarian crisis, according to excerpts of a harshly worded U.N. report.

The report details the devastating extent of Operation Murambatsvina, or Drive Out Trash, for the first time. It says a further 2.4 million people have been affected by the countrywide campaign that began with little warning on May 19 and has seen thousands of shantytowns, ramshackle markets and makeshift homes demolished.

"While purporting to target illegal dwellings and structures and to clamp down on alleged illicit activities, (the operation) was carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering," says the executive summary, obtained late Thursday by The Associated Press.

The report, using unusually harsh language for the United Nations, says the operation clearly violates international law and demands the government stop the destruction immediately.

Read it here.

Oh boy, that'll really get the old monster's attention -- a "harshly worded" report. What comes next -- a strongly worded critique in the London Review of Books?

And how has Mad Bobby's government responded?

The Telegraph reports:

Zimbabwe's regime received the report on Wednesday. So far, its only response has been to blame Britain and the West for its economic woes and insist that they provide the money to rebuild the townships it has demolished.

"Were it not for their sanctions, our economy wouldn't be where it is today," said Boniface Chidyausiku, Zimbabwe's ambassador to the UN.

He told the Herald, Zimbabwe's official daily newspaper, that the international community should "have a role to play in terms of pulling resources together to build a better Zimbabwe".

Read it here.

That's right -- blame it on the West, then demand that the West pour aid in to avert the massive famine Mugabe has engineered. If hundreds of thousands die -- it's Blair and Bush's fault. This is the reasoning of evil tyrants around the world who think nothing of holding their populations hostage in order to implement brutal and disastrous policies.

Does it sound familiar? Of course it does! This is the same set of arguments Saddam was using during the decade prior to the Iraq war. What is utterly disgusting is that many, perhaps most, in the West will acquiesce to this kind of evil rather than confront it head-on.



Reuters reports:

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition welcomed on Saturday a damning U.N. report on government demolitions of urban slums, and urged the global body to act against President Robert Mugabe's government.

The report released in New York on Friday told the government to halt its indiscriminate bulldozing of shanty buildings, calling the operation a "disastrous venture" that had cost 700,000 people their homes or jobs and affected 2.4 million others.

"The report confirms what every Zimbabwean has always known, the vindictive, callous sceptical disregard of human rights, dignity and good governance on the part of the Harare regime," the opposition Movement for Democratic Change said on Saturday.

"It now remains to be seen whether the report will be shelved (and) gather dust or it will be the catalyst for the decisive action and reprimand that so many Zimbabweans have been asking the United Nations to take against the regime," an opposition statement said.

"We also wait to see the response of the regional countries such as South Africa and others," it added.

Read it here.

Yeah, that's right. Don't hold your breath. The assumption here is that other African states were just waiting for the UN's sayso to condemn Mugabe.

It ain't gonna happen anytime soon.

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