Image via WikipediaCheck out these tragic figures from The Economist:
- official inflation running at 231m% (yes, that's an "m");
- more than 80% of the people have no job;
- some 3m in a population of around 12m have fled abroad;
- more than 1.4 million suffer from HIV/AIDS
- the UN's World Food Programme is feeding 2m people who otherwise may well die of starvation;
- more than 3m more may need feeding by early next year
Add to these figures the fact that the government is still run by the very corrupt Robert Mugabe, despite the fact that he was beaten by Morgan Tsvangirai in a general election. The two agreed a power sharing plan when Mugabe refused to step down.
Zimbabwe desperately needs world leaders to pressure Mugabe to step down and to let the country begin to rebuild. The lives of millions of people are at stake. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has tried to do something, but their effort is led by Thabo Mbeki, who recently lost the presidency of his own country, thereby calling into question the weight of his authority. Jacob Zuma, South Africa's likely next president, needs to offer the leadership necessary to limit this human tragedy. The Economist suggests that if Zuma can't or won't do it, then the SADC should ask Kofi Annan, the Ghanaian who ran the UN for ten years. He recently negotiated Kenya's warring parties into a power-sharing compromise.
Whatever the answer, something needs doing - and soon!