Zimbabwe goes nuclear
Zimbabwe has recently discovered uranium deposits and plans to process the mineral in order to resolve its chronic power shortages, state radio quoted President Robert Mugabe as saying yesterday. "The discovery of uranium will go a long way in further enhancing the government's rural electrification programme," he was quoted as saying, according to Associated Press. It has been known for many years that uranium deposits lie in the Zambezi river valley in northern Zimbabwe. But mining experts in Harare say these were not thought to be large enough to support a viable mine.
Not the first time he has played with this:
President Robert Mugabe said Zimbabwe will turn to nuclear power by processing recently discovered uranium deposits to resolve its chronic electricity shortage, state radio said yesterday. Mr. Mugabe, who has close ties with two countries with controversial nuclear programs -- Iran and North Korea -- spoke of his intention Saturday, the radio station reported. It was not clear how Mugabe intended to use any uranium deposits since the country does not have a nuclear power plant. The president announced plans in the 1990s to acquire a reactor from Argentina, but nothing else was ever heard about the proposal.
This could be an attempt by Mugabe to be considered a strategic international player and - knowing the treachery of the man - a shady proposal to two of his remaining friends: Iran and North Korea.
But consider also this:
IT IS said that the uranium used to build the atomic bombs which destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki was dug from mines in the Congo. Half a century on, as the war in central Africa's "heart of darkness" sucks in more nations, Congo still possesses an awesome potential to cause widespread destruction.
International observers have watched in disbelief recently as African nations plunge into the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The willingness of Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia and Chad to send their men in to die, propping up Laurent Kabila's year-old regime, and of Uganda and Rwanda (and now, possibly, Burundi) to support the Tutsi-led rebels against Mr Kabila, has surprised many. But this is not an ordinary war. All surround themselves with a family clique. Accusations of corruption and nepotism have been levelled at all these regimes, with the gold, diamond and mineral mines of Congo - worth an estimated $ 58bn (pounds 35bn) - and war-related business deals invariably mentioned in the same breath.
Zimbabwe is the staunchest ally. Mr Mugabe has promised to take the war to the rebels in the east of Congo and last week sent more troops and tanks into the country. Sources say the number of Zimbabwean troops has been doubled to around 6,000. (The Independent 31/10/1998)
Africa accounts for 20 per cent of global production of uranium. Namibia, Niger, South Africa and Gabon are the main producers. How ever, Democratic Republic of Congo, which has been destabilised by a four-year civil war, is a more likely source of smuggled uranium. Congo's largest uranium mine is Shinkolobwe in the southern province of Katanga, an area under the control of Zimbabwean forces. But the mine is flooded and in a state of disrepair, according to mining sources. (Financial Times 25/09/2002)
Libya's efforts to seek international rehabilitation appeared to be on track as it negotiated a settlement with relatives of the 270 people killed by the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. But the British prime minister wanted to raise two other aspects of Libyan policy that continued to concern him: Tripoli's economic backing for President Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe and its continuing programmes to acquire weapons of mass destruction. (Financial Times 27/01/2004)
Draw your own conclusions.
Mugabe is getting so desperate that he could do anything, anything at all. This is becoming dangerous for the whole region and the world and cannot be allowed to continue: Mbeki should intervene immediately; he should remember his own words:
Only six months ago United States President Bill Clinton toured Africa and spoke of an "African renaissance". A few weeks ago South Africa's Deputy President, Thabo Mbeki, spoke of his fears for the future of that renaissance and called for a revolt against the "petty gangsters" who aspire to rule in Africa. "It is out of this pungent mixture of greed, dehumanising poverty, obscene wealth and endemic public and private corrupt practice that many of Africa's coups d'etats and civil wars are born," he said. (The Independent 31/10/1998)