Thursday, December 22, 2005

UN housing not good enough for Mugabe's homeless

Let's say you're a dictator who's ruined your once prosperous state. We'll call you Bob M.. Your country was once the breadbasket of southern Africa, but after stealing farm land and giving it mostly to your cronies, the agricultural sector has collapsed. Even your regime can't deny its own incompetence.

Since farming has collapsed, waves of people are fleeing rural areas to settle in the cities. But the urban centers can't handle all these extra people so they set up makeshift housing. Your regime decides to demolish these settlements which you claim are illegal. But since your regime hasn't prepared alternative accomodations, 700,000 people are made homeless. You also deny that this constitutes a humanitarian crisis. That urban areas are where the main opposition party finds its strongest support is completely coincidental, of course.

You're a populist, cult of personality obsessed demagogue who's already blamed George W. Bush and mostly Tony Blair for all your problems except the bad weather. Oops, I mean, you've already blamed them for everything INCLUDING the bad weather.

So what's a former pseudo-Marxist guerilla who claims to be the people's champion to do in such circumstances?

Blame the United Nations, of course!

The UN offered to build temporary accomodations for those you've rendered homeless. First you reject the offer, then you accept it, then you reject it again because they've said that the demolitions weren't the nicest thing in the world to do. (Though you did accept their food aid)

You change your mind again. The UN builds a model house whose replicas will house the hundreds of thousands of poor people you've rendered homeless. And you condemn the house as 'sub-standard.'

"This structure is not permanent. We want permanent houses for our people," says one of your lackies.

You make a mess. Eventually invite someone else to clean up your mess and then whine that they're not cleaning it up well enough for your high standards. You also reject their offer of tents. Because temporary houses and tents are not nearly as comfortable as sleeping on the streets for those whose residents you've destroyed.

And then you tell the UN just to give you the money instead. Unfortunately, they're well aware that you head the second most corrupt country in southern Africa.

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