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Who Pays The Price In Zimbabwe?

There is no easing the humanitarian, economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe until the root of the problem, the absence of a legitimate government, is resolved.

"Nearly 8 months have passed since the Zimbabwean people voted for a new President," said U.S. President George Bush, "Yet they are still governed by an illegitimate regime that continues to suppress democratic voices and basic human rights."

On September 15, Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai signed an agreement to share power. But with Mugabe refusing to accept genuine power sharing, the 2 sides are hopelessly dead-locked. Moreover, since the power-sharing agreement was signed, violence against Mugabe's political opponents has escalated. September saw a 39 percent increase in acts of violence against opposition groups, including the destruction of property, beatings, rape and murder.

The 2-month long political impasse has blocked action the Government could take to try to alleviate a deepening crisis marked by severe food shortages, record inflation, an over 90 percent unemployment rate, and a deadly and spreading cholera epidemic caused by a failing infrastructure and exacerbated by a collapsing health system. And so, in the absence of a government that reflects their will, the people of Zimbabwe pack up and leave the country by the millions.

"In spite of the regime's aggressive actions against its own people," said President Bush, "the United States will continue to honor its commitment to provide emergency humanitarian assistance pending the formation of a legitimate government that represents the will of the Zimbabwean people."

It is time for the formation of a legitimate government in Zimbabwe that reflects the will of the people.