Global News Journal
Beyond the World news headlines
From a distance it is always hard to picture just how hard life is in Zimbabwe and to imagine how much worse it can get. For so long we have been writing about economic collapse, inflation statistics beyond comprehension, the fact that at least a quarter of the country has fled to seek work abroad and that life expectancy has tumbled.
Commentators have long spoken of the dangers of a possible ‘meltdown’. The signs of what that might look like have grown stronger this week.
The death toll from the worst cholera epidemic in recent records is near 500 – and possibly double – with shortages of water in Harare and elsewhere and a health system hopelessly ill equipped to cope. Not so long ago, one of the region’s more prosperous countries would probably have been able to prevent an outbreak of cholera and would certainly have been able to treat it.
Unprecedented clashes on Monday between what the army described as “indisciplined” soldiers and Zimbabweans have added to fears the situation could get out of hand. The army understandably said it was worried by the troubles, put down by police. As too many other African countries have found out, angry soldiers can prove a danger to everyone.
Nigeria is unhappy at Robert Mugabe’s continuing presidency in Zimbabwe.
The opinion of Africa’s most populous nation and its second biggest economy is hard to ignore, although some may observe Nigeria’s own presidential elections last year were not above reproach. “We express our strong displeasure at the process leading to the election and its outcome,” Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe told reporters, saying any negotiations over the future shape of Zimbabwe’s government should set the flawed election process to one side.
A few hours earlier, Botswana had called on southern African nations to refuse to recognise Mugabe.
from Africa News blog:
It would be out of character for the African Union (AU) to order any tough sanctions against Zimbabwe's strongman President Robert Mugabe at its summit in Egypt on Monday. But has his swearing-in on Sunday for a new five-year term after a widely condemned election further narrowed the AU's latitude for action? Mugabe defied international calls to cancel a presidential election run-off and negotiate with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who defeated Mugabe in the first-round ballot on March 29 but fell short of an outright majority. Mugabe was the only candidate in the second round after Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic change pulled out because of widely reported government-backed violence and intimidation.
Mugabe was heading for the AU summit after Zimbabwe's electoral commission declared him the winner as expected. He was immediately inaugurated in Harare, extending his 28-year rule. This could force the AU to deal with him as the legitimate head of state of Zimbabwe, in the face of calls from the likes of South Africa's Bishop Desmond Tutu for the pan-African body not to recognise his election. A defiant Mugabe vowed to confront his critics at the summit. The wily Mugabe invited Tsvangirai to the inauguration ceremony and pledged at the event to talk to the opposition to solve the country's political crisis. Tsvangirai rejected the invitation.
Ndesanjo Macha is Sub-Saharan Africa Editor of Global Voices, which monitors citizen media in the developing world. Thomson Reuters is not responsible for the content of this post — the views are the author’s alone.
In countries such as Zimbabwe where media and political freedom is extremely restricted, new technologies have become powerful tools for political campaigning, communication, advocacy and mobilisation. Bloggers and civic organisations have resorted to using new tools and applications such as Flickr, Facebook, SMS text messages, YouTube and mashups to fight for democracy, media freedom and good governance.