National Press Club

Zimbabwe Population in Peril, Rights Advocates Say

November 11, 2009 | By Tejinder Singh |

Zimbabwe today has the stark echos of malnourished Ethiopian population during famine in that country, Magodonga Mahlangu, a leader of Women of Zimbabwe Arise and a co-recipient of the 2009 RFK Human Rights Award, said at a Newsmaker Nov. 9.
The other award recipient, Jenni Williams lambasted the Zimbabwe regime for its failure to provide for its citizens. Williams recalled the dream of Zimbabwe as it got independence from Britain in 1980 and noted the degenerating situation as the country moves from “bread basket (of Africa) to basket case.”

Briggs Bomba, director of campaigns at Africa Action, called for “very delicate steps” to take the country to “national healing.” Bomba said Zimbabwe’s unity government brought together by the Global Political Agreement is full of inertia and bickering on “who holds what power” instead of “moving to deliver.”

Monika Kalra Varma, director of the RFK Center for Human Rights, said
Mahlangu has been arrested over 30 times in the course of her work as a human rights defender. Along with WOZA co-founder Williams, she has led campaigns with WOZA supporters to address many of the most crucial human rights issues facing Zimbabwean women.

"Today the RFK Center begins a partnership with Magodonga and WOZA to contribute to their efforts and stand up for the rights of all Zimbaweans," Varma said.