zimbabwe, sudan, and the drc – enter ban ki-moon

As the new Secretary General of the UN completes his very <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/6304043.stm
“>first official Africa tour, crises loom across the continent. Ban Ki-moon called on the DRC to make a pact for democracy and the AU to be unified on the conflict in Darfur. With the DRC still working to emerge from its long civil war, Ki-moon noted the successful elections last year. The DRC currently holds the largest deployment of UN troops anywhere in the world and the UN says it is committed to creating greater security of the region.

Ki-moon also spoke to the AU about keeping unified in the face of the Darfur crisis. With the potential of Sudan becoming chair of the AU there is worry for the conflict to fall from the priority list. Ki-moon condemned the recent bombings of villages in Darfur and called on Africa’s leaders to join together for peace as they did before to bring peace to Burundi and Sierra Leone. Ki-moon met with President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan at the AU summit and urged him to commit to a joint UN-AU peacekeeping force for Darfur. “I… am deeply concerned about the continuing violence and the suffering of the civilians there. This time we need action and to make real progress,” Ki-moon said. Four years of violence and genocide has killed over 400,000 people and has displaced over 2 million people. “Together, we must work to end the violence and scorched-earth policies adopted by various parties, including militias, as well as the bombings which are still a terrifying feature of life in Darfur,” he told the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ki-moon also announced that he planned to convene in March a working group on Africa and the MDGs, “a coalition of the willing” of African stakeholders and international organizations and donors, to accelerate progress on the goals, which also seek to reduce maternal and infant mortality and provide access to health care and education. He noted that many African countries have made remarkable progress, but there remains a lot to be done.

As the well-publicized conflicts in Africa continue to recieve support, a mostly unheard of crisis grows. The name of this crisis is Zimbabwe or more specifically Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe since 1980 and recently his term was extended for years. Mugabe has mis-managed economic policy and thrown out human rights. Hyperinflation and negative growth are a few of the problems which he attributes to Western sanctions and the legacy of white minoritiey rule. Reported in the news Zimbabwe is facing a massive food crisis. The government has refused aid agencies support and again combats calls of mis-management with the idea of an international plot to remove him from power.

The effects of the food crisis among many Zimbabwean issues is yet to be seen, however maybe we will not witness such tragedy. This July the popular band, Dispatch, will be reuniting for a cause. That cause is Zimbabwe. Their benefit concert has been sold out, a new date added, and again sold out. The proceeds are to be used to fight disease, famine, and social injustice. After reading that I inquired as to where exactly donations will be made, since funds in the government’s hands will not necessarily be used for good. “We are in the process of figuring out some existing NGO’s that are doing great work there–and some other projects we’d like to support. Once identified, we will make a post about them to the public!,” was the response I recieved. I was very pleased to get such a response from a well-known band working to make a difference in Africa. Supporting existing programs and projects that are working effectively will creat the most good. Check out the Dispatch Zimbabwe Team site, I think there are some remaining tickets for the concert this summer at Madison Square Garden.

Here at Michigan State University there is a push within the Student Assembly to revoke an honorary doctorate degree in law, which was presented to Mugabe when he spoke at MSU. The bill written in the Student Assembly will be voted on next week and after that will be referred on to the Administration. The international plot to overthrow continues. All jokes aside, the efforts of Dispatch should be commended and the pressure on Mugabe intensified as his people face certain death from his inactions.

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