Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Imperialists Launch New Efforts to Topple Zimbabwe Government

Imperialists Launch New Efforts to Topple Zimbabwe Government

Cholera outbreak and medical crisis caused by sanctions

by Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor
Pan-African News Wire

There have been fresh calls for the overthrow of the Zimbabwe Government headed by President Robert Mugabe. The demands for the resignation or forced removal of the elected government headed by the Zimbabwe African National Union, Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) has been going on for over a decade. Since the government in this former British colony declared that it would redistribute land confiscated by the European settler-class, the country has been under constant threat and attack.

During the present period, however, the outbreak of cholera among people inside the country coupled with growing cases of anthrax infections in cattle, has given the British, the United States, the European Union (EU) and their allies, a false basis for plotting to engage in a western-backed regime change project against the ZANU-PF Government, which fought for the national liberation of Zimbabwe during the 1970s.

Zimbabwe Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu condemned the western propaganda campaign against the government. He pointed to the years of economic blockade and disinformation as being the root cause of the current humanitarian crisis inside the country.

"Zimbabwe is a sovereign state, with a president elected in accordance with the constitution of Zimbabwe. No foreign leader, regardless of how powerful they are, has the right to call on him to step down on their whim," Ndlovu told Reuters press agency on December 8.

Leaders of the European Union(EU) meeting in Brussels on December 8, made repeated calls for the overthrow of the ZANU-PF Government. In a statement by the EU Foreign Policy Minister, Javier Solana, he said that "I think the moment has arrived to put all the pressure for Mugabe to step down."

Taking the same position, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who is currently the head of the EU, said at the EU summit that, "I say today that President Mugabe must go. Zimbabwe has suffered enough."

EU leaders took under consideration a proposal to add more names to a list of Zimbabwean governmental officials who are banned from traveling inside their member countries. President Mugabe and other leading Zimbabwe cabinet ministers are not allowed to visit these European countries, many of which are former slave-owning and colonial states.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told Reuters press agency that an intervention in Zimbabwe was necessary in order to resolve the humanitarian crisis in the country. "Cholera is killing. We need international intervention for this matter, not a military one, but a strong intervention to stop this cholera epidemic, which could allow for other things." (Dec. 8)

Zimbabwe has accused the former colonial power of Britain for planning an invasion to oust the elected government. Judging from the recent statements issued by the regime of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, this allegation, it seems, is in all liklihood in the works. British Foreign Minister David Miliband said that: "There is a crying need for change in Zimbabwe."

Other pro-western political leaders on the continent have followed the imperialist lead. Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has called upon the African Union, an organization of all independent states, to send military forces into Zimbabwe and forcefully remove the government.

This statement by Odinga comes less than one year after large-scale inter-party violence in that East African nation steming from disagreements over a national president election. Far more people died and were displaced in Kenya than have perished in Zimbabwe in the recent cholera outbreak. Odinga never called for western intervention during the Kenyan crisis of 2007-8, that required a negotiated settlement brokered by the AU and others within the international community.

Other individuals in Southern Africa that have called for the removal of the Zimbabwe Government include the pro-western Botswana Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani. Also South African retired Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, has called for the forceful removal of the Mugabe government.

Government Declares National Emergency

The ZANU-PF Government declared a national emergency on December 4 as a result of the outbreak of cholera. This disease arises from the consumption of unclean drinking water. The Zimbabwe Government has stated that the imposition of sanctions and the overall economic crisis in the country has resulted in the lack of chlorine and other chemicals to purify the water systems.

The Cholera outbreak had claimed 563 lives by December 4. The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr. David Parirenyatwa, said that problems were compounded by the crisis in the health sector. He said the hospitals were in dire need of drugs, food and medical equipment.

"Our central hospitals are literally not functioning. Our staff is demotivated and we need your support to ensure that they start coming to work and our health system is revived," Dr. Parirenyatwa said.

The Government issued an emergency appeal for the importation of medical equipment, surgical sundries, renal and laundry equipment, x-ray films and boilers. Dr. Parirenyatwa noted that the shortages in medical supplies threatened to derail the country's anti-retroviral program to HIV patients that has made some progress in recent years.

"The emergency appeal will help us reduce the morbidity and mortality associated with the current socio-economic environment by December 2009. We are hoping that within the next 12 months we would have achieved the package," Dr. Parirenyatwa said. (Zimbabwe Herald, December 4).

Despite this growing crisis, the government has taken measures to reverse the situation. According to the Herald on December 4: "The Government has acquired 505 tonnes of aluminum sulphate and pledged a further US$1 million a week towards the procurement of water treatment chemicals with some Harare suburbs having started receiving water supplies on December 1."

The neighboring southern African nation of the Republic of Namibia has been the first country to respond to the national emergency. In an article published in the Herald on December 8, it was reported that the government of President Hifikepunye Pohamba in Namibia has donated water purification chemicals, drugs and medical equipment valued at US$200,000.

According to the Herald, "Handing over the donation which included malaria treatment drugs, antibiotics, needles and drips to the Government at Manyama Airbase in Harare yesterday, Namibian Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Dr. Richard Kamwi, pledged more medical supplies to help in the fight against cholera." (Herald, December 8).

Dr. Kamwi went on to say that: "Namibia had been following the health situation in Zimbabwe with concern and I feel we actually delayed in responding. You (Zimbabweans) deserve this donation. This is the first consignment from our own stocks and for now, we have just brought 60 percent and we will send the remaining 40 percent in due course."

In addition to Namibia, South African health officials visited Zimbabwe on December 8 to assess the situation. Health ministry spokespersons in South Africa said that eight people had died from cholera in the Limpopo province which borders Zimbabwe. Reuters press agency also claims that cases of cholera have been cited in Mozambique, Botswana and Zambia. (December 8).

What Has Caused the Humanitarian Crisis?

The Zimbabwe Government and other progressive forces acquainted with the region, have stated in no uncertain terms, that the current crisis is caused by the imposition of economic sanctions by the western imperialist countries against the ZANU-PF state.

With the implementation of a comprehensive land redistribution program in Zimbabwe since 2000, the country has endured a blockade, the financing of a right-wing opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), plots aimed at overthrowing the administration as well as a well-financed media campaign designed to villify President Robert Mugabe and the ruling party.

The ZANU-PF Government has embarked upon an extensive negotiation process for the creation of a government of national unity with the opposition forces. The key opposition leaders in the main MDC-T faction have refused to implement an agreement signed several months ago in Harare. The agreement would create a broader cabinet and bring in the politicians that have been supported by the United States, Britain and the EU.

A so-called "Elders Group", which is financed by western interests, including British billionaire Sir Richard Branson and rock star Peter Gabriel, has received US$18 million towards a recent effort aimed at influencing the political situation on the African continent. The "Elders Group" which is led by former US President Jimmy Carter, retired Archbishop Tutu and South African and Mozambican former first lady Graca Machel, is in partnership with the Bridgeway Foundation and Humanity United.

In a article by African-American solidarity activist, Obi Egbuna, which was published in the Zimbabwe Herald on December 8, he states that: "While the founder of Bridgeway Foundation, John Montgomery, started the group in 1993 after hearing a preacher in church discuss the work of Amnesty International. Humanity United is directly and openly affiliated with the Genocide Prevention Task Force co-chaired by former US Secretary of Defence William Cohen and former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright."

Egbuna continues by stressing that: "This task force is jointly convened by the United States Holocaust Museum, American Academy of Diplomacy and the US Institute of Peace which is directly funded by the US Congress. The timing of the 'Elders' decision to visit Zimbabwe and the rest of its founding membership pool should arouse suspicion which force the masses of Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa, who are obviously tired of the West meddling in our political affairs, not to be mislead."

The Coming Obama Administration and Africa Policy

This new push to overthrow the ZANU-PF Government in Zimbabwe could be designed to carry out the action prior to the installation of President-elect Barack Obama in the White House on January 20, 2009. The Obama team, during the early days of his campaign efforts in 2008, was criticize by African solidarity forces for making statements that were perceived as hostile to the Zimbabwe Government.

The current Secretary of State Condi Rice stated in early December that it was time for President Mugabe to be overthrown. This provocative and illegal proposal represents the continuation of the hostile US policy towards Zimbabwe and other states in Africa that refuse to follow the dictates of Washington.

It is important for anti-war and anti-imperialist forces in the United States and Western Europe to reject this new thrust aimed at regime change in Zimbabwe. In every state where the United States, Britain and the EU have intervened, humanitarian, economic and political crises have developed which far outstrip the current situation in Zimbabwe.

In Iraq, it has been reported that over one million people have died as a direct result of the US occupation of this middle-eastern nation. In Afghanistan, the resistance forces have charged the US/NATO soldiers of carrying out genocide against the people of this country.

In Somalia, where the United States encouraged and financed an invasion and occupation by neighborng Ethiopia, has suffered the worse humanitarian crisis in Africa, leaving thousands dead and two million people displaced both outside and inside of Somalia. At present the puppet government installed by the US in Somalia is near collapse with the Ethiopian military forces requesting approval from the US to flee the country under growing attacks from the resistance forces throughout the country.

Inside the United States itself, the working people, nationally oppressed and the poor are suffering the worse economic crisis since the Great Depression. In November of 2008, over 530,000 workers were thrown out of their places of employment. Nearly ten million workers are employed part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs. Financial institutions and industrial facilities are being proped-up by the taxpayers who are growing poorer every month.

In regard to the health care system in the United States, nearly 50 million people are without medical coverage. Hospitals have been closing for the last several years, while the defense budget is in excess of $720 billion.

Consequently, the United States and the imperialist states have no moral right to dictate policy to Zimbabwe or any other African country. Only the creation of a worker's and peoples' government in the United States can create the conditions for genuine international peace and reconciliation between the peoples of the US and the global community.
Abayomi Azikiwe, the editor of the Pan-African News Wire, has been monitoring the developing situation in Zimbabwe.

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