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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 July, 2005, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
Soyinka urges Zimbabwe sanctions
Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka
Soyinka wants the end of African solidarity with Mugabe
One of Africa's best-known authors, Wole Soyinka, has called for sanctions to be imposed on Zimbabwe, calling the situation there "a disgrace" to Africa.

The Nigerian writer said President Mugabe was typical of "rogues and monsters" clinging to power in Africa.

African leaders have been reluctant to criticise human rights abuses in Zimbabwe; many see Mr Mugabe as a hero of the struggle against colonialism.

Mr Soyinka said this kind of solidarity was wrong and should be ended.

He was speaking in South Africa, where he is due to give a lecture on Friday as part of the celebration of former President Nelson Mandela's 87th birthday.

Bulldozers have been turned into an instrument of governance
Wole Soyinka

He said that South Africa should not give Zimbabwe the emergency economic assistance it had asked for.

It is not clear what other sanctions Mr Soyinka called for.

Mr Mugabe and dozens of his officials are banned from travelling to the European Union and the United States because of their alleged involvement in rigging elections and human rights abuses.

Shortages

Mr Soyinka said that many African leaders oppressed their people just as much as colonial rulers.

"I don't care about the colour of the foot pressing on my neck - I just want to remove it," the Nobel laureate said.

Zimbabwe slum residents try to salvage their belongings from a fire
Recent demolitions have left 200,000 homeless, the UN says

He strongly criticised the demolition of shantytowns in Zimbabwe's cities, which the United Nations says has left some 200,000 people homeless in the past two months.

"Bulldozers have been turned into an instrument of governance and it is the ordinary people who are suffering... it is a disgrace on the continent," he said.

UN special envoy Anna Tibaijuka, who visited Zimbabwe to investigate the demolitions, has presented her report to the Zimbabwe government.

It will be made public on Friday or Monday, UN officials say.

Mr Soyinka is also a strong critic of the Nigerian government.

Zimbabwe is suffering from acute shortage of goods from fuel to foreign currency and basic foods, such as sugar.

Mr Mugabe blames the problems on a Western plot to bring down his government.

His critics say he has mismanaged the economy - in particular by seizing productive white-owned farms, which were the foundation of much of the economy.


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