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Vote for Mugabe or Starve
Zimbabwe forces foreign aid organizations to cease operations
Nicolas van der Leek (Nick)     Print Article 
Published 2008-06-08 08:22 (KST)   
Recently, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's wife Grace was quoted as saying that the president would never give up power: "Even if people vote for the MDC [Movement for Democratic Change], Morgan Tsvangirai will never step foot inside State House."

US Ambassador James McGee, speaking via videoconference from Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, has clarified exactly how Mugabe aims to wrest another term in office from the people he serves.

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Since foreign aid organizations have been forced to shut down, the only remaining food aid donor is the Zimbabwean government. In order to receive food from its agencies, people must show their party registration cards. Members of ZANU-PF, the party of Mugabe, get preferential treatment.

In order to receive food, MDC party members have to hand in their national ID cards, which the government then confiscates. The cards won't be returned until June 27, after the election. This means, the millions who receive food aid and who wish to vote for the rival candidate will be forced to starve over the next three weeks.

Because 77 tons of arms were delivered in Harare last month, a Mugabe win will almost certainly cause civil unrest. Starving rioters will be weakened and easier to quell.

Referring to government oppression, McGee said, "What we have is a bunch of greedy people who want to stay in power at any cost."

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai has been arrested twice, as the ruling party attempts to thwart his attempts to reach voters around the country.

There are mixed feelings among the locals on who should rule Zimbabwe. Some feel that the anticipated cost in limbs and lives is not worth voting in a new president.

Others are more certain of the tremendous damage Mugabe has already done to the country. Many once referred to the country's economy as "the breadbasket of Africa." Today, it is an economic basket case, and the local residents are well aware of this.

The question remains: if Zimbabwe loses the election, will he go to war against his own people? Unfortunately, the evidence suggests that this is likely. And given past patterns of behavior, South Africa and other governments will probably stand by and do nothing, whatever the level of human bloodshed.

Perhaps US Senator Barack Obama could demonstrate the sort of leadership and intervention that ought to be applied against Zimbabwe's dictator before it is too late. Many lives now depend on some heroic figure stepping forward and putting an end to the large-scale injustice and unfolding human tragedies sweeping Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, Grace Mugabe, described by some as the first shopper (as opposed to the first lady), is currently staying at the opulent Via Veneto, in Rome, Italy. It is close to many designer stores.

Grace is well known for her extravagance, having invited 12,000 guests to her wedding to the president in 1996. In a boutique in Paris, she was once quoted as saying to reporters on her trail, "Is it a crime to go shopping?"
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Nicolas van der Leek

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