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Zimbabwe is not a Basket Case

MANY people in Africa do not know of or care about the horrors of nuclear weapons, believing that AK-47s are the only problem.

However, most Western governments have acquired nuclear weapons that have been used to blackmail and intimidate the third world to submission, or worse.

The horrendous effects of nuclear weapons was graphically demonstrated in August 6 1945 when the United States dropped two atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Over 300 000 people, surrounding buildings and infrastructure were destroyed.  

Thousands more died in the days, weeks, months and years that followed.  Today, 64 years on, some Japanese children are still being born with all sorts of radiation-induced deformities.

It was because of these horrors that in 1970, the world agreed to a treaty known as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to abolish all nuclear weapons.

Its preamble reads: “Considering the devastation that would be visited upon all mankind by a nuclear war and the consequent need to make every effort to avert the danger of such a war and to make measures to safeguard the security of peoples.”  

At the United Nations –– in Geneva –– May 2008 many Western diplomats and their compliant press had laughed when it was announced at the second Preparatory Committee Meeting on the 2010 Review Conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, that the 2009 PrepCom would be chaired by Ambassador Boniface Chidyausiku of Zimbabwe.

But thanks to his extraordinary diplomatic skills, Ambassador Chidyausiku managed to convince the 189 member states of the NPT to agree on the agenda for the 2010 review conference in a record two days, a feat that had eluded delegates until three weeks into the 2005 conference.

He also produced a list of forward-looking recommendations for practical and time-framed actions leading to global nuclear disarmament, something that no previous chairman had even attempted.

With a man like that –– and many like him –– Zimbabwe is not totally a hopeless case as its detractors would want us to believe.

Samwiri Akaki,

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