Monday, February 23, 2009

"Bob you've had your cake. Now beat it!"

While Mugabe celebrated his birthday with a $300,000 (US dollars) party on Saturday, more farmers are being kicked off their farms. More white farmers.

An article from BBC said:
The CFU president blamed the invasions on a minority of figures close to Zanu-PF who were "using their offices to ensure ethnic cleansing can take place before the prime minister is able to stabilise the country."

As Mugabe ate his birthday cake on Saturday, opposition members who have been banished to South Africa, sat on the South African bank of the Limpopo and protested. Roy Bennett was among them.

"We are gathered here after many years of suffering, while across the river, after 28 years, a man who is now 84 years old, is having a birthday party," he said. "A birthday party while everybody around him is starving and dying. There's no electricity, there are no roads, there are no jobs, there's no education, there's no medical, there's no nothing," he added.

Photo Credit: BBC

With the so-called "ethnic cleansing" goes part of Zimbabwe's chance to recover from both economic hardships and famine. Some of their major exports used to be corn and tobacco. With the decrease in farmers, money coming into the economy has severely dropped. And of course, with less farms comes less food for the people to eat. The number of white farmers has dropped from around 4,000 to 400.

The Southern African Development Community (Sadu) Tribunal ruled in November in favor of the evicted landowners. The Tribunal said the Zimbabwean government's policy of redistributing seized property to landless black farmers was both illegal and discriminatory. Yet the government has said it will not comply with the ruling.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cholera's grasp on Zimbabwe's people

Today, Doctors Without Borders issued a press release telling just how bad conditions are becoming. The organization estimates it has helped treat 45,000 people with Cholera, but this figure is only 75% of the number of the infected.

Photo Credit: Doctors Without Borders

Manuel Lopez, head of the Doctors Without Borders mission in Zimbabwe, said this about the situation of health care:
There has been a devastating implosion of Zimbabwe's once-lauded health system, which doesn't just affect cholera patients. We know that public hospitals are turning people away, health centers are running out of supplies and equipment, there is an acute lack of medical staff, patients can't afford to travel to pick up their HIV medication or to receive treatment, and many of our own clinics are overflowing. From what we see each day it couldn't be clearer - this is a massive medical emergency spiraling out of control.

The organization is calling upon the governement to help as well as "ease bureaucratic restrictions" in order to get help to those who need it in a more timely fashion.

For the full report, go to Doctors Without Borders

Tsvangirai's new job

Less than a week has passed since Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn in as Prime Minister and both The Chronicle and The Herald are reporting on his busy days. The two newspapers, both owned by Zimpapers, ran practially identical articles.

The new Prime Minister has been appointing new cabinet members and meeting with various officials from both parties. The papers cited Tsvangirai's spokesperson as saying "Prime Minister Tsvangirai also made it clear that they were meeting as Zimbabwean leaders, not as Zanu-PF or MDC leaders, and the ministers should be seen putting forward issues that promote the image of Zimbabwe."

The articles also mentioned Tsvangirai's big plans for education. Only time will tell how long Tsvangirai can work together with Mugabe and his government.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hanging up a "Do Not Enter" Sign on the Border

Zimbabwe’s press today lies in ruins. If, in 2007, Reporters Without Borders has recorded fewer press freedom violations than in previous years, it is because there are very few journalists left to arrest, newspapers to close or foreign correspondents to expel.

This is how Reporters Without Borders's annal report from 2008 on Zimbabwe begins. The country, under the ruling of Robert Mugabe since 1980, has become one spot where journalists are not welcome. The government has managed to close down many of the privately owned newspapers. Foreign reporters are often arrested, if they make it into the country to begin with. Large media corporations like the BBC and CNN are banned from the country. Many bylines on the country featured in newspapers like the New York Times read "Johannesburg," the largest city of neighboring South Africa.