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August 13, 2005

As Zimbabwe Crisis Unfolds, Bureaucracy Delays Food Aid

Topics: Africa, Zimbabwe

zimbabwe_2.gifA senior U.S. official said today that government policies were worsening Zimbabwe's food crisis and red tape was preventing food getting to the needy.

"All of us are very, very worried about the very near future ... We are going into a period where we don't think there's going to be enough food here in this country," Tony Hall, the U.S. ambassador to United Nations food agencies in Rome, told a news conference.

And this is not the only recent report of government interference with foreign aid. Only one of its three humanitarian relief supply trucks from the South African Council of Churches will leave for Zimbabwe today. SACC deputy secretary general Eddie Makue said the Zimbabwean government has failed to issue the council with a duty-free certificate for two of the trucks.

"We have intervention from the highest authority but there's a Zimbabwean official who is delaying the process," said Makue. "Otherwise, the trucks are sealed and ready to leave."

It is obvious that the crisis in Zimbabwe is brought on by one factor: the tyranny of the Mugabe Government.

Not long ago the country of Zimbabwe exported food to its neighbors and enjoyed a season of prosperity. Those days are gone and the nation, ruled by President Robert Mugabe, faces the grim reality of widespread famine amid a dying economy. With the country's exceptional natural resources there is absolutely no reason for famine except government intervention.

Zimblogger posted an anonymous letter from the ground which I republish with permission:

Things have quietened down quite a lot here, but the suffering is still out there - just not concentrated in central locations. The displaced who stayed with us are gradually making their way back to us - just to say hello and tell us where they are staying now (mostly in the rural areas, or with friends) and to get a bit of food from us.

Economically, we are in dire straits (which is great news - the suffering is intensifying, but there is no other remedy) - power cuts are more frequent (making it impossible for industry to function), fuel is non existent (unless you import it yourself at black market prices) and the forex rate is soaring. Best of all is the fact that "he" has come back empty-handed from the chinese....!

The whole world is a bystander while state criminality and human rights violations in Zimbabwe unfolds.

Posted by tim at August 13, 2005 2:35 PM

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