Zimbabwe is reeling from economic collapse. More than seventy percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed, inflation exceeds one-hundred-fifty percent, and there are severe shortages of fuel, food, and foreign exchange.
Now, tens of thousands of poor Zimbabweans must cope with the fact that the government is demolishing their homes and closing down their unregistered businesses. By putting street vendors out of business, the government of President Robert Mugabe is shutting down one of the few ways the poor can earn incomes. And the housing demolition campaign is making Zimbabwe’s humanitarian crisis even worse. Miloon Kothari is a United Nations investigator:
"I think it is irresponsible for any government, anywhere in the world, and it is a violation of their human rights obligations to evict people from their homes, whether their homes are informal or formal, without any notice and with force. As we have seen in this case in Harare, the police have used excessive force in carrying out the demolitions."
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has called Zimbabwe under President Mugabe an "outpost of tyranny." At a recent press conference with South African President Thabo Mbeki, President George W. Bush commented on the situation in Zimbabwe:
"We are concerned about a leadership that does not adhere to democratic principles, and obviously concerned about a country that was able to, for example, feed herself, now has to import food as an example of the consequences of not adhering to democratic principles."
Mr. Bush said, "The world needs to speak with common voice in insisting that the principles of democracy are adhered to by the ruling party in Zimbabwe."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.