Sunday, December 14, 2008

'US Masterminded Cholera Outbreak' in Zimbabwe

‘US masterminded cholera outbreak’

Herald Reporter

THERE are growing fears that there is more to the cholera outbreak than meets the eye following revelations by the US State Department that it has been preparing for the outbreak for quite sometime. The outbreak began last August though the US hinted at years of preparation.

In a briefing with the US State Department on Thursday, attended by Ambassador to Zimbabwe James D. McGee and Director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance Ky Luu in Washington; United States Agency for International Development administrator Ms Henrietta Fore said the US had long prepared for the epidemic.

‘‘The United States, working alongside the international community, has been preparing for a cholera outbreak for quite some time. Before the disease was widespread, Usaid began building contingencies into its ongoing emergency programmes, allowing us to quickly direct our assistance to specific targets for cholera outbreaks,’’ Fore said, raising the fears that her country may have launched biological warfare on Zimbabwe.

US attempts to use cholera as an excuse to mobilise military action against Zimbabwe have fueled suspicions of biological warfare.

Despite assurances from the Ministry of Health that fatalities were going down, Ky predicted that the outbreak would intensify over the festive season.

McGee said he hoped the intensification would force the UN to invoke the responsibility to protect proviso to facilitate invasion, the same resolution that was suspiciously made by the MDC-T national council that met in Harare yesterday.

‘‘We’ve heard calls from Kenya, from Botswana, from Tanzania, from Zambia. Malawi recently stood up and said, you know, enough is enough; Zimbabwe has to clean up its act or President Mugabe has to go. This is what we’re really desperate to hear, and these are the types of things that we’re very pleased to hear," McGee said.

Observers questioned why the US was keen to use cholera as cause for war on Zimbabwe when it had not been similarly inclined when the water-borne disease hit other countries in the region.

Responding to the US campaign, the Minister of Information and Publicity, Cde Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, yesterday, described the epidemic as a calculated attack on Zimbabwe.

"The cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe is a serious biological chemical war force, a genocidal onslaught on the people of Zimbabwe by the British," he said.

"Cholera is a calculated racist terrorist attack on Zimbabwe by the unrepentant former colonial power which has enlisted support from its American and Western allies so that they invade the country."

Since the outbreak began in August, the American and British governments have led calls for military action against Zimbabwe to unseat the Government, claiming it was failing to protect its people.

Cde Ndlovu dismissed claims that the Government had abandoned the people saying the outbreak was a consequence of the illegal Western sanctions and Government was doing all it could to contain the outbreak.

"Because of sanctions we have not been able to import enough water purification chemicals and water restitution pipes," Cde Ndlovu said.

"Government through the RBZ has provided the Zimbabwe National Water Authority with foreign currency to import chemicals. We thank the World Health Organisation and all health workers for the support in our fight against cholera," Cde Ndlovu said.

Sanctions to blame for cholera

WHILE cholera is a natural disease stemming from a bacterium, recent pronouncements by US Ambassador to Zimbabwe James D. McGee and the West’s obsession at attempting to use cholera to build a case for war on Zimbabwe, make us wonder if they want to use natural suffering to pursue their ends.

Several of our neighbours have been afflicted by cholera outbreaks before yet at no time did we hear anyone suggesting military action on them.

In many cases, the Western media were quite indifferent.
In countries like Zambia, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo, for instance, cholera is endemic.

It is a way of life yet the West never agitated for invasion.
This raises the question, why Zimbabwe?

The answer lies in the feverish pronouncements by Western governments and their askaris that President ‘‘Mugabe must go.’’

One would almost think ‘‘Mugabe’’ is the name of the cholera pathogen or its vector.

What we would rather hear the West say, if they are really concerned about suffering Zimbabweans is ‘‘sanctions and cholera must go.’’

As President Mugabe said, what Zimbabwe needs are medical doctors, not invading armies.

To this end, we salute the bona fide international as represented by the UN through its agency, the World Health Organisation, Sadc and individual countries like China, South Africa, Namibia and Tanzania for heeding the Government’s call for assistance.

The fact that they did not, as the Westerners tried to do, distort the appeal as ‘‘evidence of State failure’’ proved they are true friends of Zimbabwe.

To this end, we would like to draw the world’s attention to recent Western media attempts to put the President’s dismissal of cholera as a cause for war out of context.

If anything, their campaign only served to prove — as President Mugabe said — that they would stop at nothing, even outright lies to pursue their sanguine desires.

We urge the progressive world to see these people and their pronouncements on Zimbabwe for what they are, white lies.

The West would never admit that the outbreak is a consequence of the decade-long economic sanctions regime they have maintained on Zimbabwe.

Their ruinous sanctions have not only constrained the health delivery system but some Western countries, principally Britain, have been systematically poaching medical staff from our hospitals precipitating the ongoing health sector crisis.

So if culpability is to be apportioned over cholera, it lies solely and squarely with Number 10 Downing Street and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the residences of the British Prime Minister and US president respectively.

If there is to be an invasion, it should be directed at these axes of evil.

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