30 January, 2009

morning musings: Zimbabwe

President Obama called South African President Kgalema Motlanthe to emphasize the role South Africa can play in managing the crisis in Zimbabwe. I'm happy to see that Obama is taking a more active approach with Zimbabwe than his predecessor. Mugabe is such an out of control tyrant that I feel there is little the United States can do directly at this point. Regional actors could have a much stronger influence on Mugabe than the US, who Mugabe clearly hates. Over 3000 people have now died of cholera in Zimbabwe and the epidemic appears to be spreading at an increasing rate. The government's reluctance to allow in foreign aid workers isn't helping.

On the other hand, the power sharing agreement has established a new timetable which would bring opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai into power as Prime Minister on February 11. This is great news, although it remains to be seen if the February 11 date will stick. And the country still has to deal with the rampant inflation and a growing food crisis, as well as the cholera epidemic.

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