Zimbabwean government accused of using North Korean tactics to starve population

By Violet Gonda
21 August 2007

The opposition in Zimbabwe has accused the government of using North Korean tactics of starving the population, so as to control and weaken the population from uprising. MDC activist Ralph Black said this has been a policy that has been in place for many years, where the Mugabe regime has been using food and food aid as a political weapon. Another opposition official, David Coltart, is reported as saying “starvation in Zimbabwe amounts to genocide.”

Black said: “I believe the food shortages in Zimbabwe were planned – mad as that may sound – the Mugabe regime slashed prices which makes no economic sense to allow people to purchase and give people the little food that was available. Now that food has depleted Robert Mugabe will then dictate which communities receive the bare essentials and food will be drip fed into districts, into communities very steadily.”

Black said: “This mirrors North Korean Style repression and Eastern European style repression where people are kept from uprising by keeping the nutrition levels very low.” It’s reported that between 600,000 and one million North Koreans starved to death due to the economic legacy of Kim Il Sung’s regime. In May this year Mugabe himself said: "Everything in Zimbabwe is associated with the exploits of President Kim Il Sung," when he was receiving the new North Korean ambassador.

The opposition official said the use of food as a political weapon is very well coordinated: “A hungry man is an angry man but he is also a very weak man and if he (Mugabe) occupies people’s minds with survival, a revolution is the furthest from their minds.” Black also predicted that food would be available in the months immediately preceding the forthcoming elections.

The Reserve Bank governor is on record saying the government is using foreign currency to buy food from outside the country, but there is no evidence of where it’s going. Instead the World Food Programme (WFP) issued an appeal recently saying at least four million people will need food aid by year-end.
Opposition official David Coltart is quoted saying: “Arguably this is the world's greatest humanitarian crisis.”

The legal expert told The UK Daily Telegraph. "Zimbabwe has the lowest life expectancy in the world, 34 for women and 37 for men. To use a legal term, I would say this amounts to genocide with constructive intent. In terms of a complete disregard for the plight of people, not caring whether there is wholesale loss of life, it amounts to genocide."


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