Doctors slam Mugabe


The death toll of Zimbabwe's cholera epidemic swelled past 2000 people on Tuesday, as a global doctors group called for President Robert Mugabe to be charged with crimes against humanity.

Fresh data from the World Health Organization showed that the treatable water-borne disease has killed more than 2000 people since August with the number of diagnosed cases reaching almost 40 000.

Crimes against humanity

The new figures came as US-based Physicians for Human Rights said Mugabe should be charged with crimes against humanity over rights abuses and the collapse of the nation’s health system.

The recommendation was made in a damning 45-page report following the group’s mission to Zimbabwe last month, which found the health crisis stemmed from serious human rights violations by Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.

The "Zanu-PF regime continues to violate Zimbabweans’ civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights," the report said.

"The UN Security Council…should enact a resolution referring the crisis in Zimbabwe to the International Criminal Court for investigation and to begin the process of compiling documentary and other evidence that would support the charge of crimes against humanity," it added.

The group’s four-member team, which included two physicians, met more than 90 people, including lawmakers, government officials, health workers, farmers and others during their December 13-20 mission.

Richard Goldstein, former chief prosecutor at the UN International Criminal Court, and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights chief Mary Robinson said the findings added to the evidence against Mugabe.

"These findings add to the growing evidence that Robert Mugabe and his regime may well be guilty of crimes against humanity," they said in the report’s preface, also signed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Alarming collapse in health care

The report cited an alarming collapse in health care, which it said was "the direct outcome of the violation of a number of human rights, including the right to participate in government and in free elections."

According to the report, individuals in Mugabe’s government could be found guilty of crimes against humanity such as murder, torture, rape, sexual slavery, persecution and abductions.

"Massive and egregious human rights violations against the people of Zimbabwe under the rule of Mugabe constitute added proof of the commission by the Mugabe regime of crimes against humanity," it said.

With basic infrastructure crumbling, Zimbabweans suffer the lowest life expectancy in the world, at 36 years, while more than one in every 100 women die during or shortly after pregnancy, it noted.

Doctors at public hospitals — which have been crippled by staff and drug shortages — have vowed to maintain a strike launched last year until a demand for better pay is met, the state-run Herald newspaper reported on Monday.

Striking doctors had turned down a government offer of a monthly salary of between $150 and $850 (€113 to €641.9), the newspaper quoted a doctors association official as saying.

Junior doctors had demanded a monthly salary of $2600 while specialist doctors wanted $4000.

Zimbabwe is currently battling with the world’s highest inflation — 231 million percent as of July last year — while government is deadlocked over a stalled power-sharing deal.

Mugabe and political rival Morgan Tsvangirai, who won a first-round presidential vote in March, signed a deal to form a unity government in September but have failed to implement the pact. -

Post published in: Analysis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *