The United Nations has issued a report that calls on the government of Zimbabwe to stop demolishing homes and forcing street peddlers out of business. The report estimates that "some seven-hundred-thousand people in cities across Zimbabwe have lost either their homes, their source of livelihood, or both."
According to the U-N, an additional two-million-four-hundred-thousand Zimbabweans out of a population of twelve-and-a-half million "have been affected in varying degrees. Hundreds of thousands of women, men, and children were made homeless, without access to food, water and sanitation or health care." In addition, says the U-N report, "Education for thousands of school-age children has been disrupted. Many of the sick, including those with H-I-V and AIDS, no longer have access to care."
U-N Secretary-General Kofi Annan says that the evictions and closed businesses constitute "a catastrophic injustice," carried out with what Mr. Annan calls "disquieting indifference to human suffering." A forty-year-old widow, the mother of five, told a reporter about the day in May when the government closed down her small business in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe:
"We do not know what happens. They say: We do not want to see anyone selling the vegetable[s]. So we say: Why? We have got license to sell our things. They say: No, you must stop."
It is because of such horrendous policies by the government of President Robert Mugabe that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice lists Zimbabwe as one of the world's "outposts of tyranny":
"America stands with oppressed people on every continent. . . .in Cuba, and Burma, and North Korea, Iran, and Belarus, and Zimbabwe. . . .We cannot rest until every person living in a fear society has finally won their freedom."
Secretary of State Rice says, "Zimbabwe’s leaders have a responsibility to address the political and economic problems that have wrecked what only a few years ago was one of Africa’s success stories."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.