Here is something that will get Mugabe’s goat. On January 29, Ambassador James D. McGee, visited the Unicef warehouse in Workington, Harare. The visit by the ambassador followed the arrival, last week, of a USAID-provided consignment of nearly 440,000 bars of soap—valued at nearly US$365,000—to the UN Children’s Fund, which will provide it to humanitarian organizations to distribute as part of hygiene education programs in areas most affected by the cholera outbreak. During the tour, Ambassador McGee inspected warehouse commodities and received UNICEF briefing on distribution and general U.N. health and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs. He also took questions from journalists during the event. Asked why the aid did not come through the host government, he made the following response (from SW Radio Africa):
Ambassador McGee: Let me be very frank about that. Too many things disappear when they go to the government. You all know that. I will just cite one recent case. Recently, 14 million dollars from the Global Fund which was destined for people who had HIV and AIDS disappeared. And we went to the Government, they said, ‘well, we needed that money for other things, – what’s more important than taking care of a person who has HIV and AIDS, getting the anti- retro-viral drugs that they need to continue to live. But the government took this money and freely admitted that they took this money and used it for something else. What? We don’t know. So of course, we are not going to give this money to government. We are not going to give these commodities to government, until government shows us that they can do the right thing and take care of the people of Zimbabwe. That’s all we ask- something very, very small. Take care of your own people.
Since October of last year, 2007, a year and a half ago, over US $250 million have come into Zimbabwe in assistance- 250 million dollars. Since 2002, one billion United States dollars has come to Zimbabwe in assistance. I don’t want to hear anybody telling me about illegal sanctions. A billion dollars- can the government of Zimbabwe say that they spent a billion dollars on their people during that time? I don’t think so. So I don’t want to hear anything about illegal sanctions. It makes me angry when U.S. tax dollars have to go to feed the people of Zimbabwe, but I see a lot of people in government with 60 bedrooms in their house. You know what I am talking about, don’t you?
Wanna bet that this would make Bob the Destroyer cranky as hell? And yeah, yeah, yeah … he’s going to threaten to kick Ambassador McGee out of there. Again. Can’t somebody please convince Bob to get out already, like somebody convinced Marcos to leave the Philippines in 1986 for Hawaii? Dictators may have “staying power” but in the end they are either deposed, tried and executed (not necessarily in that order) or exiled to rot and die in some foreign country. Unless rotting in your own country while taking everyone with you, is the more er, patriotic thing to do.