British govt feeds Zimbabweans

HARARE - The UK government this week announced a new £9 million cash donation to the UN World Food Programme for use in its Zimbabwe food aid programmes. 

The donation came amid empty grandstanding by the embattled Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe that the country could feed itself without aid, despite evidence of mounting famine.  

Britain’s Department for International Development (DfID) also unveiled another £44 million to fight HIV/AIDS and to bankroll other humanitarian assistance programmes.

The massive donation flies in face of empty rhetoric by Mugabe and his bankrupt regime that UK sanctions were hurting Zimbabwe. Without these donations and those from other international relief agencies, which remain banned by Mugabe, the bankrupt Harare regime has no capacity to feed its own people.  

“The ongoing political problems in Zimbabwe should not divert our gaze from the continuing humanitarian disaster,” UK Secretary of State for International Development, Douglas Alexander, said. “By the end of 2008, up to five million men, women and children could be facing severe hunger and malnutrition.”

Mugabe has denied vandalizing Zimbabwe’s economy, blaming instead the poor harvest on recent droughts, which prompted WFP to start feeding millions across southern Africa.  

Economists say the controversial land grab, restrictions on the imports and movement of grain, and Mugabe’s fraudulent re-election have worsened the problem.

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