Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged the South African government to cease deporting refugees from Zimbabwe back to a nation which has collapsed and cholera is spreading. Refugees need some form of humanitarian assistance since the alternative of returning to Zimbabwe would be for many a death sentence. HRW noted: “To avoid deportation from South Africa, Zimbabweans currently have no option but to claim asylum, placing even greater pressure on a system already struggling to process refugee claims according to international standards.” The tragedy of this situation has been the failure on the part of the South African government to exert pressure on President Robert Mugabe to allow an honest coalition government which can implement reasonable efforts to restore the semblance of a vibrant economy.
South Africa failed to fulfill its historic mission of being a beacon of democracy in Africa and the result it is now forced to deal with an ever growing influx of refugees.
The people of South Africa fought for creation of a society in which discrimination and inequality ended in order to establish a multi-racial nation in which equity for all individuals was respected. However, during the past several months there have been numerous attacks by South Africans against refugees from Zimbabwe and other African nations who have migrated in search of work or to avoid violence in their own countries. Over the past weekend a mob of vigilantes caused a Zimbabwean and Tanzanian to fall to their deaths from a high-rise building while trying to escape their pursuers. Advocacy Officer Duncan Breen decried the ongoing attacks on fellow Africans by those who take the law into their own hand. “South Africa’s constitution provides for the protection of the rights of all” but there are those who prefer acting like vigilante mobs.
The attacks a few months ago against African immigrants led to thousands fleeing South Africa and the death of several Zimbabweans by those who were angry at “foreigners” securing work they believed should be reserved to those born in the country. It is a sad commentary that South Africans now attack those who come from other African nations even though in the fight to end apartheid assistance came from the very nations whose citizens now face vigilante action.
The crisis in Zimbabwe has produced many studies and meetings by African leaders but few actions that assist the people of Zimbabwe. The Anglican Bishop of Pretoria, Rev. Dr. Jo Seoka, called upon his government to finally take some action even if it means sending South African troops into Zimbabwe to protect the people of that nation from the tyranny of Mugabe’s rule. He challenged the South African government to ‘consider seriously the humanitarian crisis faced by the Zimbabwean people” both in South Africa and in their native land. He also called on his government “to send a fact-finding mission that will inform and empower us to act decisively to rescue the innocent nationals of Zimbabwe, both in their country” and in places within South Africa where they are being oppressed by the forces of prejudice and hatred.
The bishop said South Africa has the right to send a peacekeeping force to Zimbabwe to protect civilians, “particularly those who are human rights advocates.” He also called for an embargo of supplying electricity since it is only being used by the clique which surrounds Mugabe.
The World Health Organization says about 30,000 people in Zimbabwe have been diagnosed with cholera. Two weeks ago, President Mugabe said talk about cholera was an example of lies spread by former colonial rulers of his nation.
Posted in Christianity, Human Rights, Military, Multicultural, Peace, Politics, South Africa, War, World News
Tagged Anglican bishop, South Africa, Zimbabwe
A tragedy of the fight to end colonialism in Africa was causing those who led the anti-colonial movement to become the dominant power in politics and stifle the free exchange of ideas and power. Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe is the most vivid example of the fighter who opposed colonialism only once in power to display all the qualities of what he had opposed. The African National Congress(ANC) has split into two rival groups which means for the first time in South African politics there will be genuine political campaigns, the formation of alliances, compromise, and the emergence of diverse ideas on how to develop the nation. The Congress of the People(COPE) is composed of former ANC members and is now mounting a vigorous political campaign in order to obtain control of the government.
Opponents of COPE charge it seeks to end affirmative action programs, but COPE has responded it wishes to maintain the program but seeks changes to make it more effective. Unless a nation has an opposition party that is meaningful, there is no opportunity to make changes or offer alternatives to those in power. COPE is arguing the current affirmative action program contains evidence of nepotism and cronyism in selecting individuals for positions.
Hopefully, the presence of two parties vying for black votes will encourage coalitions containing parties which contain people of Asian or European backgrounds.