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Black Caps could become stranded in Zimbabwe

22 July 2005


Black Caps could become stranded in Zimbabwe

The New Zealand cricketers could be stranded when they arrive in Zimbabwe, as the country runs out of fuel and its economy grinds to a halt, the Green Party says.

"If the Black Caps do end up in Zimbabwe, they could find themselves trying to hitch rides to their games," Green Co-Leader Rod Donald said. "Hitching might work in Harare, but it won't help them get to Bulawayo.

"British media are reporting that fuel shortages have grounded numerous Air Zimbabwe flights, and the cost of petrol for the team, if they can get it, has skyrocketed to Z$120,000 a litre.

"While the Black Caps may arrive in Zimbabwe okay, travelling around the country once they get their could quickly become a logistical nightmare."

Meanwhile, a UN report on Zimbabwe, due to be released tomorrow morning, uses unusually harsh language to condemn the Mugabe regime.

"The UN envoy to the UN is estimating that around 3 million people have been affected by Mugabe's Operation Drive Out Trash, saying the Zimbabwean Government shows complete indifference to human suffering.

"This is a Mugabe-made humanitarian disaster on a massive scale. To allow our cricketers to be sent into the middle of this disaster is like sending them to China during the Tiananmen Square outrage or to Rwanda during the machete massacres of the mid 1990s.

"In the face of the critical UN report, Mugabe has intensified his persecution of the homeless and destitute, including raiding nine churches in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, where people were sheltering, and detaining hundreds of people, including clergy.

"The reports coming out of Zimbabwe day after day are just getting worse, and Mugabe's actions are becoming more and more erratic. This is a desperate man who will do anything to stay in power, and whose behaviour is massively unpredictable. Sending our cricketers to Zimbabwe during this madman's darkest hours is just asking for trouble.

"I share Zimbabwean human rights campaigner Judith Todd's grave fears for our cricketers' safety, and I urge the Government to see sense before it is too late."

ENDS

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