Spotlight on Zim crisis as Annan visits

Augustine Mukaro

THE humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe is set to come under scrutiny when United Nations secretary-general Kofi Annan visits the country soon.
 
Annan, who is visiting southern Africa, assured government that he would be coming to Zimbabwe

at a later date.
 
President Robert Mugabe had invited Annan to visit following the release of the damning Tibaijuka report last July in the wake of the controversial Operation Murambatsvina which reportedly left at least 700 000 people homeless.
 
Government has described the figure as exaggerated.

The last UN envoy to Harare, Jan Egeland, was dubbed “a liar” when he upheld the Tibaijuka report. Mugabe declared that he had had enough of UN envoys and would only receive Annan.

During his visit this week, Annan’s itinerary excluded Harare, fuelling speculation that he could have snubbed Mugabe’s invitation.
 
Annan however wrote to Mugabe reassuring him that he would be visiting Zimbabwe. UNDP representative in Harare, Agostinho Zacarius, said Annan would visit the country later in the year.
 
Annan arrived in Cape Town on Monday during his African tour. He travelled to Johannesburg on Wednesday to meet with former president Nelson Mandela and to visit the township of Soweto.
 
In remarks seen as relating to the Zimbabwe crisis he said the best neighbours are those that help resolve problems before they spiral out of control.

From South Africa, Annan travels to Madagascar for talks with President Marc Ravalomanana, and to receive an honorary doctorate from the national academy of arts, weather and sciences.
 
He will then go to Congo for talks in Brazzaville with President Denis Sassou-Nguesso, the current chairman of the 53-nation African Union.