Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mbeki must change course to save Zimbabwe


The Canberra Times, April 17, 2007


It's enough to make you weep.

Zimbabwe's once thriving economy is on the brink of collapse. Robert Mugabe's post-independence paradise, the erstwhile breadbasket of Southern Africa, is now so dependent on international aid millions would go hungry without it. And still many do.

Even with significant aid, Zimbabwe's life expectancy, about 34 years, is among the lowest in the world. Recent elections have been a farce and people are being brutalised every day by a regime led by an ageing despot determined to cling to power.

It has been that way for years but it took the senseless bashing of opposition members by ZANU-PF thugs to make us really sit up and wrestle with the question: "What can and must be done?"

Australia's John Howard attacked Zimbabwe's leader, calling him a disaster presiding over a "heap of misery".

But Howard, like Tony Blair and George W. Bush, insists South Africa can do more and should pressure Mugabe to go.

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