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Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Don't forget Zimbabwe

The long standing humanitarian disaster that is Zimbabwe should not be lost sight of just because the war in Gaza is occupying prime time television.

Anglican bishops and church leaders in South Africa have been letting the South African Government know what they think about its inaction. In news reports quoted on Ekklesia:

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, a Nobel Peace Laureate, renewed his attack on South Africa for its lack of action against Mr Mugabe, and repeated his call to the international community to remove him forcibly if he refuses to step down voluntarily.

A "new doctrine of responsibility to protect" had to be invoked, Tutu told BBC Radio 4 in an interview last week. Mr Mugabe "needs to be warned, and his cronies must be warned that the world is not just going to sit by and do nothing," he declared.

Meanwhile the Anglican Bishop of Pretoria, the Rt Rev Dr Jo Seoka has called upon President Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa to act against Mugabe.

"Looking at the situation in Zimbabwe, one cannot help but challenge the government of South Africa to consider seriously the humanitarian crisis faced by the Zimbabwean people in Musina and act decisively on it," the bishop said.

He added that he had previously called upon both the government and the Southern African Development Community to take tougher action against Mugabe. "However, no action has been taken by the political leaders of our country to protect the Zimbabwean nationals within our borders. Yet people continue to be detained without trial, and to die of diseases of impoverishment such as cholera."

The conditions under which the Zimbabweans found themselves could no longer be tolerated, Seoka said.

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