Thursday, August 18, 2005

What's up with the aid hold up?

South African clergy visited Zimbabwe over a month ago on a mission to asses the extent of suffering visited on the Zimbabwean people by their government. These men of the cloth left their norhtern neighbors faces aghast with the suffering they had seen. Upon their return to South Africa, these men did the only thing common sense dictated to them; collect food and other necessites to send to their Christian brethren north of the Limpopo.

A full three weeks later that aid, 37 tons of food and blankets, which they collected and put on trucks to ship to Harare has still not arrived. It has been stuck for two weeks at Beitbridge border post while story after story purporting to explain why the aid hasn't arrived yet has been broken in many of Zimbabwe's papers.

Just what is happening to the aid, why won't they let it in? Are they prohibiting it from entering the country as displayed on many headlines? Who is to blame for this inhumane decision to postpone the suffering already displayed Zimbabweans?

In my opinion, both the state and the donor agencies are to blame for this. The crux of this delay is about a duty free clearence certificate which the government is empowered by law to issue. Without it, the donations will be levied duty at Zimbabwe's exorbitant important rates.

Word on the street is that the government was angered by the South African bishop's mission to asses the damage of the cleanup operation so this is there way of retaliating. Typical of their cowardly malice, instead of coming out in the open and flatly denying organizers the certificate, the government has given these benevolent souls the run both in Harare and in Beitbridge in between the two. All of a sudden no one in government is responsible for issueing the duty free clearence certificates yet there's an established criteria for how it's to be done. Social Welfare minister Nicholas Goche denying his role in the hold up, "I am not responsible. Why do you think it is me?" According to the Fingaz, agriculture minister Joseph Made whose
help the donors have sought is also reported missing in action. He apparently is in Botswana with the president at the SADC meeting. Will the real Zim government please standup, please standup?

All this begs this question of the organizations involved in bringing the aid in; why not go it alone? Why not just bear down and raise money to pay of the duty and get on with the task of helping the people?

Bootlicking the government is not the only way of getting things done in our country. This instance would be a prime time to circumvert government and their unjust laws. In his Letter from a Birminham Prison, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, "One has a moral responsiblity to disobey unjust laws."

I vote to forget the government, pay the duty (government will still broke) and get on with helping the suffering people.

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