Friday, December 5, 2008

Western powers blast Zimbabwe

It seems like the West is finally waking up to the awful situation in Zimbabwe.

David Miliband, Great Britain’s foreign secretary, ripped into the government of Robert Mugabe calling it a "rogue regime" over its mismanagement of the country's economy and health care sectors. Not only does Zimbabwe have an utterly ridiculous inflation rate (estimated in the range of hundreds of millions or even billions of percent), but the country is also now suffering from an outbreak of cholera that has killed hundreds so far.

"The economy is in free-fall. Education and health systems have failed. Public infrastructure is in terminal decline and the government is unwilling and unable to look after its own people," Miliband said. "This is a direct result of the abuse, neglect and corruption of a Mugabe regime which long ago lost respect and in March's elections lost its legitimacy."

Meanwhile US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was even more blunt.

"It's well past time for Robert Mugabe to leave, that's now obvious," Rice said. "There has been a sham election, there was a sham power-sharing. We are now seeing the humanitarian toll."

Speaking of that supposed power-sharing...after three months of negotiations Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai still have not come to an agreement on how to jointly run the country, mostly because Mugabe's idea of power-sharing has been to keep all the power for himself and shove Tsvangirai off to the side. Tsvangirai has refused to sign onto a deal that would leave the military and national police forces under Mugabe's control. For the past few years, Mugabe has used the military to crush political opposition to his rule, so you can understand why Tsvangirai would be reluctant to agree to a setup where Mugabe keeps control over the state security forces. Mugabe is now threatening to call for a new round of elections if Tsvangirai doesn't sign onto the deal, though what good another election will do since the last was largely considered a sham is a good question.

Miliband and Rice said it is up to the other nations in Southern Africa to put pressure on Mugabe to either share power or step down.
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