'Half of Zimbabwe will soon need food aid,' says senior British diplomat
HALF OF ZIMBABWE’S population will rely on emergency food aid next year, a senior British diplomat has said.
In a severe condemnation of President Robert Mugabe’s regime, the official has stated that of an estimated eight million Zimbabweans still in the country ‘we know we’ll be feeding four million people by January or February, possibly more.’
He also estimated that since Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms in 2000, the population has dropped from 12 million to eight million.
Some three million have moved to neighbouring South Africa and a large number to London. It has been estimated that 100,000 Zimbabweans have migrated to South Africa every month.
Mugabe’s aim for grabbing land was to make Zimbabwe self-sufficient and affirm its independence from Britain. However the opposite has occurred with half the population now reliant on the outside world for its next meal.
Ironically, Britain is now the biggest single donor paying for food supplies for Zimbabweans.
Huge inflation and recent price cuts have made the situation worse causing ‘a really very serious food and every other kind of shortage,’ said the official who warned that a further two million people may leave if Mugabe stays in power for the next 18 months.
The official described Zimbabwe as a place that ‘feels half empty,’ saying rural areas are especially suffering, with middle-aged people ‘either dead of HIV or gone.’ If Mugabe stays in power, the source, said ‘he would outlive Zimbabwe’.
Parliamentary and presidential elections are expected in March next year but the opposition is unlikely to make a serious challenge to the current government. The British diplomat explained, ‘the people have chosen flight, not fight.’