Cablegate: Media Reaction: Hiv/Aids; 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 "Why the world watches as Africans die
of Aids" the independent "Daily News" dedicated its January
4 editorial to urging African leaders to be at the
forefront in the fight against the HIV/Aids pandemic in
their countries. Using Uganda as an example, the editorial
underscored the importance of a collective approach to
solving a problem, saying: "If people are united, if they
all appreciate the enormity of their problem and how only
unity can vanquish it, the chances of success are enhanced
a thousand-fold." Excerpts:

2. "Stephen Lewis, the United Nations Secretary-General's
Special Envoy on HIV/Aids, has recently condemned the
international community for watching while Africans die of
HIV/Aids. He has compared the world's lack of enthusiasm
to help Africa with vital but inexpensive drugs to
alleviate the scourge to its readiness to finance a large-
scale invasion of Iraq. While Lewis displays the sort of
sympathy for the continent that gives some African leaders
grist for their criticism of the evils of globalization, he
could be accused of taking a rather simplistic position.
Africa's begging bowl has become an almost permanent
appendage of its image.

3. "The continent is the worst affected by the HIV/Aids
pandemic, yet most of its governments evince little
of the desperation that made Yoweri Museveni's
government in Uganda act so decisively to engage the
disease as if it was an alien invasion force.
Uganda has not repelled the enemy entirely, but
nobody in sub-Sahara Africa can argue that among the
countries that have set an example worth emulating
in the fight against HIV/Aids, Uganda must come near
the top of the list. By all accounts, foreign help,
while it had an impact, was not the final
determinant in the struggle. The government and the
people themselves recognized from the beginning that
this was their fight and would be won only if they
are united. So it is with everything else in
Africa. If people are united, if they all
appreciate the enormity of their problem and how
only unity can vanquish it, then chances of success
are enhanced a thousand-fold.

4. " Against the HIV/Aids pandemic, many African
governments stood idly while their people died
hideous deaths. . .Lewis has toured Africa and his
attitude has been generally sympathetic to the
governments. But some of this sympathy is
misplaced: many of the governments become actively
engaged in promoting anti-HIV/Aids programs only on
World Aids Day in December. . .This attitude among
African governments to seek international help with
what are essentially their own problems has blighted
the continent's relations with the donor community,
introducing the world to donor fatigue. . .But what
Africa needs urgently are leaders who can inspire
their people to help themselves before they appeal
for help from the rest of the world. . .African
governments need to learn that freedom from
colonialism does not automatically translate into
freedom from poverty, hunger and disease."


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