I was in Zimbabwe on the eve of independence in April 1980. We danced all night in the shattered ruins of the hotel at Victoria Falls. I returned with the African Development Bank on a project appraisal mission mission in 1986 (to fund a resettlement/rural development programme in the Zambezi Valley), and again in the late 1990s to research economic participatory research techniques for forest resources. It is nothing less than horrific what Mugabe has done to the country.
UPDATE 4 Dec 2007:
A group of writers – including Wole Soyinka, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ben Okri, JM Coetzee and Nadine Gordimer – have sent an open letter to all European and African leaders ahead of the EU-Africa Summit accusing them of “political cowardice” for failing to squarely address “two of the world’s worst humanitarian crises” namely Zimbabwe and Darfur.
What can we say of this political cowardice? We expect our leaders to lead, and lead with moral courage… When they fail to do so they leave all of us morally impoverished.
UPDATE 7 Dec 2007:
For the latest on the current situation in Darfur and continuing recalcitrance of the Sudanese government click here.
A delegation of British parliamentarians, led by Lord Steel, the former leader of the Liberal Democrats and Michael Howard, the former Tory party leader, flew to Sudan this week to press Bashir to respond to the serious allegations.
His answers were unsatisfactory,” said Howard. “[He] gave no good reason why he is blocking the involvement of Swedish and Norwegian advanced engineering battalions in the combined UN and African Union force.
It is clear the Sudanese government is deliberately hampering the ability of the peacekeepers to safeguard the security of the refugees.
UPDATE: 9 Dec 2007
Even the sanguine Euro-crat (and current president of the EU) was sufficiently moved to ask Mugabe:
We cannot understand that those who once fought for the freedom of their country now deny that freedom to their citizens
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