Let’s hope Susan Rice is being forthright here:
At her Senate confirmation hearing, Rice pledged to confront the regime of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, urging China, Russia and southern African countries to join the Obama administration in isolating the veteran strongman.
“Their interests no longer, frankly, coincide” with Mugabe’s regime, the former diplomat told the Senate foreign relations committee, after its chairman John Kerry said she was an “outstanding choice” for the UN job.
Arguing it was “in our shared interest to support a peaceful transition in Zimbabwe to a democratic government,” Rice said China and Russia should support UN efforts to isolate a regime “that is clearly not long for this world.”
“I hope very much that under president-elect Obama’s leadership, we will work with southern Africa and bring their private condemnation in to the public sphere… so that the people of Zimabwe’s suffering can finally end,” she said.
Related: Chris Beyrer and Frank Donaghue: ZANU-PF government systematically denying citizens access to basic health and human services, says Mugabe regime “has destroyed the health-care system, as it has devastated virtually every other sector of public life, with its ruinous mix of corruption, mismanagement, violence and human rights violations.”
More from Frederick Clarkson of Religion Dispatches:
Dr. Chris Beyrer, Professor of Epidemiology and International Health at Johns Hopkins University told Religion Dispatches that the scale of human suffering and death may be worse than Pol Pot’s Cambodia in the 1970s, and that regional and international inaction is analogous to the international community’s failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s. He estimates that about half of the population of Zimbabwe is either dead or has fled to neighboring countries. “I have been at this for a long time,” he said, his world-weary voice seeking to convey the urgency of the accelerating Zimbabwean disaster. “I’ve never seen so total a collapse of a health system.”
Read the Physicians for Human Rights report Health in Ruins: A Man-Made Disaster in Zimbabwe. Also, follow Joe Trippi and ZimbabweFast on Twitter, and join Bishop Desmond Tutu in a once-a-week solidarity fast for Zimbabwe:
The 78-year-old Anglican archbishop said he had been fasting once a week in solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans facing food shortages and a cholera outbreak.
“If we would have more people saying ‘I will fast’ maybe one day a week, just to identify myself with my sisters and brothers in Zimbabwe,” the radio station quoted him as saying.
Must-read op-ed from Bob Herbert: “If you want to see hell on earth, go to Zimbabwe”. Make sure to also check out this Save the Children fact sheet on the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.
Elsewhere: The Times (SA): “Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko is being held in solitary confinement in Harare’s Chikurubi maximum security prison.” The Times also reports that Ms. Mukoko is currently detained “in a section reserved for hardcore criminals” and, according to a warder, despite the existence of a women’s section “has been placed in the tougher section that normally houses men.” Earlier: CNN: “Zimbabwe’s main opposition party has asked organizations such as the United Nations to help find 11 supporters who were allegedly abducted by government agents, a party spokesman said.”
Background: Mahmood Mamdani: Lessons of Zimbabwe; Mary Ndlovu: Zimbabwe on the edge of the precipice.