Archive for the ‘Mugabe’ Category

Surge in Zimbabwe cholera deaths

December 15, 2008

Just last week, the government of Zimbabwe said at one point that its cholera epidemic was caused by the West and then said there was no more cholera in Zimbabwe.  Now we learn that the epidemic is growing….


The United Nations says 978 people have now been killed by the cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe, an increase of 25% from the last figure given three days ago.

The UN’s office for humanitarian affairs says 18,413 suspected cases have been reported across the country since the outbreak began in August.

The disease has spread quickly as the health care and water systems have collapsed amid a long political crisis.

Cholera patient being treated in Harare - 10/12/2008

South Africa’s Red Cross is rushing much-needed medicine to Zimbabwe

Last week, President Robert Mugabe said the spread of cholera had been halted.

The UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the worst-hit area was the capital, Harare, with 208 confirmed deaths and 8,454 suspected cases.

The South African Red Cross has sent much-needed medical supplies to Zimbabwe, and has issued an appeal for funds to treat a total of 30,000 people.

The UN has said it estimates up to 60,000 people may eventually be affected.

From the BBC

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Zimbabwe’s Mugabe: Cool, Calculated Killer

December 14, 2008
For decades, the Zimbabwe leader has carefully calibrated his actions to a level of ‘acceptable’ violence that escapes condemnation while destroying opposition.
By Robyn Dixon
The Los Angeles Times
December 14, 2008
Reporting from Harare, Zimbabwe — For a very literal example of Robert Mugabe’s staying power, look no further than a recent crisis summit of southern African leaders designed to settle the political impasse that has seen the longtime Zimbabwean leader stubbornly cling to the presidency.

The leaders wanted him to leave the room so they could deliberate in private. He refused.

Between their misguided politeness and his famous capacity to intimidate, the presidents meekly backed down. Mugabe stayed.

Be it with his fellow African leaders, the West or the Zimbabwean opposition, the 84-year-old Mugabe has outmaneuvered — and outlasted — his critics for more than a quarter of a century, through a careful calibration of the international reaction to and domestic effect of his actions. As close as the end sometimes seems, Mugabe has managed to survive.

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To help understand his staying power, one need only rewind to the 1980s and the massacres of his early years in power, when he was a conquering hero who had thrown out the white minority regime of Ian Smith.

The name of the murderous operation, Gukurahundi, was as lyrical as a haiku: the wind that blows away the chaff before the spring rains.

Mugabe’s political opponents were the chaff. The spring rains were supposed to signify the golden era of a one-party state (or rather, a one-man state).

Western leaders and news media ignored the massacres of the “dissidents” by the army’s crack Five Brigade in Matabeleland province in southern Zimbabwe. Some estimates put the dead at 20,000.

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Above: Robert ugabe.  Photo:  Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi / Associated Press

Zimbabwe: Cholera introduced by West

December 13, 2008

The Zimbabwean government on Saturday accused the West of deliberately starting the country’s cholera epidemic, stepping up a war of words with the regime’s critics as the humanitarian crisis deepened.

The state-run Herald newspaper said comments by the U.S. ambassador that the U.S. had been preparing for the outbreak raised suspicions the West had waged “serious biological chemical war.”

Zimbabwean officials often blame their country’s troubles on the West. Their stranglehold on most sources of news to which ordinary Zimbabweans have access makes such rhetoric an important tool for a regime struggling to hold onto power.

Associated Press

A young boy prepares to drink clean water from a borehole in ... 
A young boy prepares to drink clean water from a borehole in Harare, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008. President Robert Mugabe declared that Zimbabwe’s cholera crisis was over Thursday, even as the United Nations raised the death toll from the epidemic to 783. Cholera has spread rapidly in the southern African nation because of the country’s crumbling health care system and the lack of clean water. The U.N. said 16,403 cases have been reported.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

After the first cholera cases, U.S. and other aid workers braced for the waterborne disease to spread quickly in an economically ravaged country where the sewage system and medical care have collapsed. Zimbabwe also faces a hunger crisis, the world’s highest inflation and shortages of both the most basic necessities and the cash to buy them.

President Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe has said the West was plotting to use cholera to invade

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Health clinics overwhelmed by cholera cases in Zimbabwe

December 10, 2008

In Zimbabwe, a cholera epidemic is claiming hundreds of lives.  The medical system has totally broken down.  Western aid agencies have arrived in force after the Mugabe regime reluctantly appealed for international help last week. They are flying in medics, medicines and equipment.


The room suddenly fell silent. The local health official momentarily stopped his briefing of aid workers visiting the cholera treatment centre in Chitungwiza, a township 20 miles from Harare.

Right outside the open window four labourers in latex gloves were loading a rigid corpse, trussed up in black plastic sheeting, on to a pick-up truck that had come to take it away for burial.

It was a sight that reinforced the message of the official dramatically. Here in Chitungwiza, as in many other communities across Zimbabwe, the cholera epidemic is overwhelming the skeletal remains of social services.

The corpses of two other victims lay wrapped in blankets in the makeshift mortuary of the centre, which is in the former maternity unit of the clinic. Their deaths raised the total in this wretched, densely populated township to more than 80.

By Martin Fletcher
The Times (UK)

A baby drinks water from her mother's hand in Harare, Zimbabwe ... 
A baby drinks water from her mother’s hand in Harare, Zimbabwe Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. European Union nations moved to tighten sanctions against Zimbabwe’s government on Monday and stood united in calling for the country’s authoritarian leader Robert Mugabe to ‘step down.’ The move was to protest the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, where a cholera outbreak is claiming thousands of live due to poor state of health care there. .(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

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Amid Cholera Epidemic, EU Says Time to Push Out Zimbabwe’s Mugabe

December 8, 2008

The European Union joined calls on Monday for Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe to step down from the leadership of his crisis-hit country.

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe raises his fist during a ...

“I think the moment has arrived to put all the pressure for Mugabe to step down,” EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana told reporters ahead of a meeting of European foreign ministers in Brussels.

Solana said it was possible that the 27-nation bloc could decide at the meeting to add up to 11 names to an already long list of Zimbabwean officials banned from traveling in Europe, but argued against any further sanctions on a country whose once-thriving economy is now devastated.

“Everything that can be done has been done…The important thing is the political pressure now,” he said.

The United States said on Friday that Mugabe’s departure from office was long overdue and that a food crisis and cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe meant it was now vital for the international community to act.

Britain has told Zimbabwe’s neighbors they could expect firm international support for any effort to bring a “real change” to Zimbabwe.

(Reporting by Ingrid Melander; writing by Mark John at Reuters)

UN forced to cut food aid to Zimbabwe’s starving people

December 7, 2008

Half a million will go without emergency handouts this month, and more will be hungry in January. Meanwhile, Gordon Brown says it’s time to tell Mugabe ‘enough is enough’

From The Independent on Sunday (UK)

Zimbabwean women and children fetch water from an unprotected ... 
Zimbabwean women and children fetch water from an unprotected well in Harare. Zimbabwe has accused Britain of using a cholera outbreak which has killed nearly 600 people to seek foreign support for an invasion of the African nation, the state-run Sunday Mail has reported.(AFP/File/Desmond Kwande)

Half a million people in Zimbabwe will go without food handouts this month, the UN agency responsible for feeding more than two-fifths of the country’s population warned yesterday, as shortages of funds force further cuts in rations.


“We are still four months away from the [maize] harvest. We haven’t seen the worst yet,” Richard Lee, a spokesman for the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Johannesburg, told The Independent on Sunday. “The situation has worsened more quickly than expected. We have reduced rations in December, and will have to do so again in January.”

The food crisis has contributed to the rapid spread of the cholera epidemic now ravaging the country. So far nearly 600 people have died and more than 12,000 have been infected, according to the authorities, but the real figures are believed to be much higher as the disease takes its toll among people weakened by hunger.

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