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Zimbabwe: On the cholera crisis

Sokwanele posted several pictures taken in Ruwa of raw sewage overflowing from manholes, causing residents in the area to fear for a cholera outbreak. Sokwanele says: “It’s a ticking time-bomb, and the residents know it, but can do nothing about it”. The Kubatana blog also comments on the current cholera crisis in Zimbabwe in which “water supplies to Harare were turned off completely – the water authority had run out of chemicals”.

3 comments

  • Linda Kleinbart

    How can one go about volunteering to help in the hospital in Zimbabwe?

  • joe

    The response from the Sadc region and Zimbabwe’s friends like China has been swift. Botswana this time was talking about cash assistance and not about closing borders.

    The South African government responded by assembling a team to come to Zimbabwe to assess how it could assist. The emphasis here is on assistance and not witch-hunting.

    It is fitting that Sadc has taken the initiative to lead the response to the call for assistance from Zimbabwe.

    The good neighbourliness from Sadc countries has already seen the region brokering a political deal among the country’s political rivals. Common sense dictates that the well-being of a neighbour can affect the next country. Problems of a neighbour invariably spill across the border whether it is closed or not.

    Thus the sincerity of a country in trying to rescue a neighbour, under normal circumstances, should never be doubted.

    Unfortunately, this may not be so with some countries several kilometres away which might have their own dirty agendas.

    Instead of marshalling humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is appealing to the international community to help in seeing to it that President Mugabe is pushed out of office.

    This is her strange solution to the cholera problem. Her obsession with the regime change agenda has brought some weird utterances from her from time to time. As an advocate of democracy, one wonders why she now seems to prefer cholera to elections in changing governments.

    Not to be outdone, yesterday, British Prime Minister Mr Gordon Brown was mooting the idea of once again bringing Zimbabwe to the Security Council over the cholera epidemic.

    This is the unashamed view of the leader of a country that once colonised Zimbabwe and is responsible for the present collapsing water infrastructure designed for black residential areas.

    We would have expected Mr Brown to fight Zimbabwe’s cause at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to have its former colony assisted with development aid to update this water infrastructure.

    Paradoxically, this aid has been frozen at the instigation of Britain and her allies through the illegal sanctions they have imposed on Zimbabwe.

    The cholera outbreak is a clear example of the effects of sanctions on innocent people. The people who are suffering most are not the politicians they claim they want to punish, but poor people who are not political animals in any sense.

    Among the cholera victims, there is not one who has been issued with a travel ban or whose child has been deported from Australia.

    All the victims are a result of the freezing of balance of payments support, depriving the country of foreign currency required to buy chemicals to treat our drinking water. The infrastructure has not been upgraded because the country has been denied development aid from the World Bank.

    Britain and her allies have no moral ground to climb on rooftops to shout about observance of humanitarian standards. What right have they when only last week, foreign ministers from the European Union were said to be planning to beef up sanctions as an expression of their deep concern at the “deteriorating humanitarian situation as a result of the cholera epidemic”. Who doesn’t know that the solution to Zimbabwe’s problem is the removal of sanctions?

    Britain and her allies right now are busy throwing spanners into Sadc’s efforts to bring a political settlement in this country. When Sadc, which is well versed with the Zimbabwean situation, offers constructive suggestions, some Western leaders are quick to influence their gullible surrogates to scuttle such resolutions.

    As Zimbabweans suffer from the effects of sanctions, you hear these Western hypocrites talk about conditional aid. They want a government they feel represents their interests best to be in place first before they can release their aid.

    You would think cholera or hunger is a political condition. Genuine aid should have no strings attached.

    As Zimbabwe battles cholera, we expect donor organisations and governments to be influenced more by moral obligation rather than political expediency.

  • Linda Kleinbart

    I agree with Dr. Rice….Mugabe should be pushed out of power. After all, his “democratic” election was truly suspicious. We were fortunate to have visited Zimbabwe just as Mugabe had taken power….before the damage was done. It is a beautiful country with beautiful people. Mugabe has been responsible for the rapid deterioration of that country.

    But, what I wanted to know is how can one find out about volunteering in the hospitals to help during the cholera epidemic? My husband is a retired physician and would love to be of assistance.

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