The New York Times Feb. 13 editorial on Zimbabwe's new unity government got it partly right. That the country's illegitimate president, Robert Mugabe, will not allow the new prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, to establish rule of law and bring much-needed relief to the seven million starving people is an accurate presupposition based on Mugabe's past three decades of autocratic misrule.
"It hurts that as we celebrate here today there are some who are in prison. I can assure you that they are not going to remain in those dungeons any day or any week longer." Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's new Prime Minister, made this pledge to thousands of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters following his swearing-in ceremony on 11 February 2009 at Glamis Stadium in Harare.
Newsweek's 31 January interview with Zimbabwe's central banker, Gideon Gono, is lamentable not only for its factual inaccuracies, but also for giving voice to a Mugabe henchman whose monetary policies have led to the collapse of the economy, shuttering of hospitals, and closing of schools.
What happens when a government presides over the dramatic reversal of its population's access to food, clean water, basic sanitation, and healthcare? When government policies lead directly to the shuttering of hospitals and clinics, the closing of its medical school, and the beatings of health workers? We don't need to wonder. It is happening now in Zimbabwe.
In the January 21 edition of the United Nations Association E-News Update, reporter Damiano Beltrami posts a video slideshow from PHR's report on the health system disaster in Zimbabwe.