Thursday, December 08, 2005

The UN in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean officials should be prosecuted for crimes committed in the government's mass housing demolition earlier this year, the United Nations' head of humanitarian aid said yesterday. "Crimes were committed," said Jan Egeland at the end of a four-day visit to the country. He said he had open disagreements with Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, particularly over obstacles to international aid.

So why doesn't the UN stop pretending it is dealing with a sane person and prosecute him?

Mr Egeland launched an appeal for $276m (£159m) to help the homeless, hungry and Aids sufferers in Zimbabwe. It was a question of life and death for thousands, he said.

This appeal, by UN's own admission, serves only the interests of the UN. They have acknowledged that they can only operate within the government framework and that, unfortunately, amounts to helping, supporting and sometimes enforcing government policies. Once again, the UN and its agencies prop up a dictatorship in order not to lose "business".

Egeland told IRIN that the UN had begun constructing temporary and permanent shelters for those left homeless by the campaign, but admitted that donors had been "reluctant" to fund construction, citing government's insistence that it would draw up its own list of beneficiaries as one of the problems. The Zimbabwean government initially rejected the UN offer to build temporary shelters, saying there was "no humanitarian crisis", only to make an about-turn last month. In its acceptance letter the government insisted on drawing up the list of beneficiaries, and laid down specifications for the construction of permanent brick and concrete one-room shelters.

Zimbabwe is in "meltdown" says United Nations humanitarian chief Jan Egeland following a visit to the country. He also said President Robert Mugabe's rejection of tents for hundreds of thousands of people evicted and made homeless this year is "puzzling".

If Egeland read blogs, he would know why.

There is NO WAY that Mugabe will allow humanitarian aid to reach the intended beneficiaries:

Villagers in Tsholotsho district in northern Matabeleland have told SW Radio Africa that during the senate election campaign they were asked by ruling Zanu PF councillors and officials to choose between life and death. They were told that choosing life meant voting for the ruling party. Voting for the opposition MDC was like choosing starvation and death. The villagers said they were left with no choice but to choose life by voting for the ruling party candidate, Josephine Moyo despite the fact that the area is an opposition stronghold. ‘We had run out of food and we were threatened that if we continued voting for the MDC, aid organisations would be stopped from distributing relief food,’ said one villager, Mluleki Nyathi of Siphepha village. According to the villagers, a few days before the election, aid workers from the Organisation of Rural Associations for Progress, ORAP, arrived in their villages accompanied by Zanu PF officials. Zanu PF officials addressed the villagers before ORAP workers handed over relief food.

This is Zimbabwe puts it very well:

But then who really cares? Mugabe hasn’t dropped any atom bombs, has he? He is just slowly starving the opposition in Zim to death behind his disinformation screen, even a fool knows that. But it’s so much easier on the world’s consciences, isn’t it?

The other African heads of state are as culpable as Mugabe for not stopping this Darfur-like massacre, and I would recommend that aid be stopped to those countries who not only do nothing about it, but even openly support the beast.

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