JOKE of the year: Who is currently leading the UN Commission on Sustainable Economic Development? The country that cannot sustain itself, with inflation at about 2 200 per cent annually, the highest in the world. Itâ€˜s none but Zimbabwe.
This would make a great joke, but the sad thing is that this is true.
Sustainable development, according to one of the most commonly used definitions, is "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".
Not sure about the future, but Zimbabwe definitely cannot meet its own needs of the present. Once a country that produced food for much of Africa, Zimbabwe today cannot produce a third of the food it needs to feed its population.
Currently, more than 80 per cent of Zimbabweans live in poverty, while the UN figures on life expectancy show that women there live on average up to 34 and men up to 37 years of age!
Those who attempt to protest against the brutal and tyrannical regime are beaten and killed. The government calls them nothing but terrorists.
Nevertheless, African leaders have chosen Zimbabwe as their candidate to lead perhaps the most important UN commission, and help the world meet the human needs of the present and prepare for the future.
African countries are reluctant to openly criticize Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who is widely respected as a hero of the fight against colonialism. As a result, the majority of Zimbabweans must suffer indefinitely because of Mugabeâ€˜s history as a freedom fighter.
Yes, he led the country to independence, did some great things in the past. He deserves a medal for this, not the immunity to inflict misery and pain on his own people today.
President Thabo Mbeki insists he is engaged in "constructive diplomacy" with his neighbor and says Zimbabweâ€˜s problems must be solved by Zimbabweans. He should remember countless outcries from the ANC for help from the rest of the world during apartheid.
Could South Africa solve its problems and end apartheid without outside help, diplomatic and political pressure, and sanctions?
Finally last week there was a voice of reason coming from South Africa. Desmond Tutu said that Africa should condemn human rights violations in Zimbabwe and South Africa should consider threatening action against its neighbor. He said that "Africa seems so reluctant just to call a spade a spade. Human rights violations are human rights violations."
Tutu seems to be one of the few voices of reason among the public figures in South Africa when it comes to the crisis in Zimbabwe, but also when it comes to the crime and moral degeneration in South Africa, and other important issues.
Tutu said that "African leaders should feel ashamed for their silence on the crisis in Zimbabwe". If they have any conscience, they will indeed feel ashamed!
By Savo Heleta
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