Tuesday, August 02, 2005

WSJ: Mugabe is the problem


Claudia Rosett of the WSJ, who broke the "oil for food" aka "Oil for palaces and bribes to UN officials" scandal has an editorial on Zimbabwe:

.....With a delicacy over-zealously inappropriate in itself to dealings with the tyrant whose regime has been responsible for wreck of Zimbabwe, the report starts by thanking Mr. Mugabe for his "warm welcome" to the U.N. delegation, which visited the country from June 26 to July 8. The report, issued by the secretary-general's special envoy Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, then proceeds to the usual U.N. prescription that what Zimbabwe needs is more aid, and a framework--here comes the UN lingo--"to ensure the sustainability of humanitarian response." While the report also calls for the "culprits" to be called to justice under Zimbabwe laws, Mugabe himself is somehow excused from direct responsibility....

....in Zimbabwe's state-choked economy, Mugabe has a record of diverting foreign aid to his supporters, while starving--as well as mugging and murdering--his opposition. Aid workers themselves in recent years have lamented the difficulty of channeling aid in Zimbabwe to the intended beneficiaries. The danger with any massive, not to mentioned "sustainable" humanitarian response, is that it will most likely translate into sustainability of Mugabe's regime (generating hefty fees along the way for any U.N. agencies involved)....

(snip here where she describes the various crimes of Mugabe against the Nbebele and his "land reform" where confiscated farms were not given to the workers but to his cronies)..

The U.N. report does warn that its findings are incomplete. But they are rather worse than that. The eviction of hundreds of thousands was not, in Mugabe's universe, a policy mistake. It was, for Zimbabwe's murderous tyrant, a success--now yielding leverage over decent people who are indeed prone to send help to those suffering in Zimbabwe. We have seen this cycle before. It is what led to the U.N. devising, albeit on a far grander scale, with a far bigger cut for its own administrative services, the now scandal-ridden Oil-for-Food program in Iraq, which fortified Saddam Hussein and helped him keep power for years beyond what many in the early 1990s expected. What must be grasped in dealing with Zimbabwe is that the problem is Mugabe himself. And whatever welcome, warm or otherwise, he may provide to visiting U.N. delegations, the true recovery can only begin with his departure.

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