CIIR describes 'massive decline' in Zimbabwe

 Zimbabwe has suffered a massive decline, economically and socially, in the last five years, CIIR advocacy coordinator for Africa, Dr Steve Kibble, said this week. In an interview with Vatican Radio, in the run-up to Zimbabwe's scheduled elections next month, Dr Kibble said that Zimbabwean government claims that there is enough food in the country, were not true. He said a recent report from the Famine Early Warning System Network warned that 5.8 million Zimbabweans - nearly half the population - will soon need food aid. When asked about the Zimbabwean government's claims to be self-sufficient, he said Zanu-PF had a desperate desire to prove that its failing land reform programme had worked, as well as a desire not to be beholden to international NGOs that it claims are a front for Western governments. Dr Kibble outlined the government's lack of concern for the human rights of those who do not support the ruling Zanu-PF regime. The interviewer then asked Dr Kibble why the US has just deemed Zimbabwe a tyranny when, until 2000, it was heralded as a 'success story'. Dr Kibble said: "There are a number of myths about the golden age of Zimbabwe. The reality is that most Zimbabweans remain poor and there has never been a culture of respect for human rights. There has, however, been a massive economic and social decline alongside serious human rights abuses in the last five years." Source: CIIR/ICN