Cablegate: Media Report Food Aid in Zimbabwe; Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Under headline "Food aid prolongs nation's suffering"
the independent weekly "The Financial Gazette" uses its
August 1 editorial to castigate the government of Zimbabwe
for causing the current food crisis and question the
utility of Western food donations. Excerpts:

2. "Zimbabweans, many of whom are threatened with
starvation are undoubtedly grateful for the food aid that
is being given to them by several foreign governments.
Unfortunately, the reality is that aid is perpetuating and
prolonging the wider suffering of Zimbabweans by giving
them a false sense of food security when they should be
seriously confronting the causes of their starvation in a
rich farming land. As long as the food handouts continue
to come in, many in Zimbabwe and especially the government
will not bother to examine why the country has sunk to this
pathetic level, let alone to take corrective action. . .For
Zimbabweans, the food aid gives them false comfort that all
is well, shielding them from the harsh reality that they
must take their destiny into their hands in the face of an
administration that seems determined to do everything and
anything that can make their lives as unbearable as is

". . .But the issue of food aid, aside from
promoting an unsustainable culture of dependency,
goes far deeper than this in crisis-weary Zimbabwe.
Plausible media reports continue to filter out from
the countryside that some elements of the ruling
ZANU PF party. . .are now using food aid as a
political weapon. These elements are denying food
aid to those they suspect to be opposition members,
clearly one of the worst human rights abuses and a
serious challenge to the conscience of those foreign
governments whose taxpayers' money has been used to
buy the food. . .Surely the government, however much
it may hate the fact that the MDC (Movement for
Democratic Change) is a reality, must take care of
the interests of all Zimbabweans and not just those
of its supporters. The food aid. . .must be given
to all who need it without any discrimination
whatsoever. Otherwise Zimbabweans will feel
justified in refusing to pay taxes from which the
food aid money is siphoned if the food is only meant
for ZANU PF members. There can be no two ways about


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