Monday 8 June 2009

Zimbabwe - forgotten disaster

Since Zimbabwe got its “power-sharing” government, the spotlight has moved away from the humanitarian disaster unfolding there, but it is clear that such political change as there has been has not put food in the mouths of those who need it, particularly the tens of thousands languishing in the country’s prisons.

The Red Cross says it is now feeding more than 6,000 prisoners, some of them severely malnourished. At one gaol, more than half of the 1,300 inmates are reported to have died last year, and a leading member of the MDC, now allegedly sharing power with Robert Mugabe, has provided an inside report.

Roy Bennett was locked up himself earlier this year, and he said some prisoners looked in a worse state than the inmates of Nazi concentration camps. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister has complained that he is not getting enough money to provide inmates with even basic rations. The Red Cross is also working on basic sanitary provision in the gaols as fears grow that disease will sweep through them.

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