Carter: Zimbabwe Conditions 'Horrifying'

Humanitarian crisis getting worse because of stubborn Mugabe
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2008 10:17 AM CST
Former US president Jimmy Carter is shown during a news conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, Monday Nov. 24, 2008.    (AP Photo/Themba Hadebe)
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(Newser) – Jimmy Carter and his group of international peacemakers have been barred from entering Zimbabwe, but reports of conditions there are “horrifying,” the former president tells NPR. Mugabe’s “campaign of oppression” has frustrated attempts to deal with a spreading cholera outbreak. “Mugabe had made every effort, successfully, to conceal the fact that there’s an absolute, total humanitarian crisis in his country,” Carter says.

Because Mugabe’s corrupt minions steal any humanitarian aid, cholera patients aren’t getting real treatments, increasing the death rate tenfold. If Mugabe doesn’t agree to a power-sharing deal soon, he should be ousted, but African leaders are reluctant to condemn an African hero. “Maximum pressure by his own peers is what is necessary,” Carter says. If South Africa and other neighboring nations demanded he step down, “he would have to do it.”