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Wednesday, 28 January 2009

ZIMBABWE

Yet another plus for human dynamo, President Obama. Tackling Zimbabwe really should have been higher on the West's political agenda. Thankfully the new President of the United States understands that something needs to be done and has wasted no time in taking up the cudgels.

I am constantly amazed that the people of Zimbabwe are managing to survive. How does a country manage to exist when an economy has collapsed? How do people cope with the outbreaks of virulent disease suffered by Zimbabweans? Zimbabwe is not just another failed state. It is a disaster of truly massive proportions.

This disaster has been caused by one man. Robert Mugabe has allowed his own megalomania to destroy his country and reduce his people to inhumane levels of suffering, the like of which we can hardly imagine.

This article from yesterday's "Times" provides a harrowing report of just one small part of what is going on.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/africa/article5600621.ece

According a report in today's "Times" from Tim Reid in Washington and Jonathan Clayton in Johannesburg, President Obama wants a fresh approach to toppling Robert Mugabe and is discussing with aides an unprecedented, US-led diplomatic push to get tough new UN sanctions imposed against the Zimbabwe regime.

The idea is to take the issue of Zimbabwe before the UN Security Council, having prepared the ground with Russia and China to persuade them to support the initiative. Neither country has supported previous moves against Zimbabwe, and both have significant financial interests in the country. The goal of taking Zimbabwe to the Security Council will be to pass strong sanctions, including a ban on arms sales.

In addition, the US and Britain are apparently anxious that Mr Tsvangirai does not sign up to a power-sharing deal. Failure to reach an accord would help clear the way to take the issue back to the UN.

All of this sounds very good. I for one have no faith in another attempt at any kind of deal with Mugabe. Tsvangirai has already tried that one and Mugabe would have none of it.

I wish Obama and his allies all success in their attempts to restore civilisation to Zimbabwe and end the appalling suffering across the whole of that unfortunate country, a country in thrall to one of the worst dictators we have seen for a long time.