Cholera disaster

2008-11-28 00:00

Cholera respects no boundaries. The collapse of the Zimbabwean economy and its health and sanitation services has allowed the spread of disease to South Africa and Botswana, and raises the spectre of a regional epidemic. Among those urging a speedy resolution of the political stalemate, in a situation spiralling out of control, is United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

In spite of years of repression and manipulated parliamentary elections, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) managed a narrow win in March. This should have been the signal for Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF to be shown the door, giving the MDC an opportunity to reinstate the rule of law, restore good governance, mobilise aid agencies and seek foreign investment.

Instead, nearly eight months have passed while Zimbabwe’s neighbours have placated Mugabe. The MDC has justifiably refused to compromise. It needs a free rein to overcome years of corruption and human rights abuse under Zanu-PF. Leaving the latter with any measure of control over the army and police is an absurdity, a recipe for continued disaster.

Zimbabweans have died from government-orchestrated violence and hunger. Now cholera is claiming scores of lives. A warning was recently sounded that their country could soon become a failed state, the Somalia of southern Africa. Such are the consequences of quiet diplomacy based on old loyalties and deference to a tyrant.

Is there no understanding that the situation north of the Limpopo is a major security threat to South Africa, which reputedly has at least nine intelligence agencies? What have they been telling the government? Has anyone been listening to what must be serious warnings about floods of refugees in extremely poor health?

Much has been made of the importance of Zimbabwe’s national sovereignty, a consideration that correctly fell away for South Africa during the apartheid era. But refusal to take an effective stance is becoming an irrelevance. Mugabe sits in Harare calmly exporting his country’s problems of joblessness, hunger and infectious disease to South Africa while he and his clique cling to power. In a world entering economic recession this is a dire situation.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.