Zimbabwe to "Elders": Get lost

Zimbabwe has refused entry to Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan for a humanitarian mission intended on estimating the amount of intervention needed to stave off a famine in the breadbasket of Africa.  Along with human-rights actvist Graca Machel, the so-called “Elders” assembled by Nelson Mandela failed in their opening mission to solve world hunger and “foster peace”:

Zimbabwe has refused to let Kofi Annan and two eminent colleagues visit the impoverished African country for a humanitarian mission, the three said Saturday.

The former U.N. secretary-general, ex-U.S. President Jimmy Carter and rights advocate Graca Machel had planned to assess the country’s needs. They are members of The Elders group, formed by former South African President Nelson Mandela to foster peace and tackle world conflicts.

Zimbabweans are suffering from disease and hunger while political crisis over a power-sharing government occupies its politicians. A current cholera outbreak has killed nearly 300 people in Zimbabwe, the United Nations said.

But the three were told Friday night by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who is mediating the political crisis, that efforts to secure travel visas for the a two-day trip had failed.

There is no small amount of irony in this snub.  Robert Mugabe began his tyranny with the assistance of the Carter administration, as James Kirchick reported at the Weekly Standard last year.  Without Carter, Mugabe would likely have been just another terrorist thug chased around in the wilderness for a while until murdered by his own people.

Kofi Annan provides a different kind of irony.  The last humanitarian mission Annan led was the Oil-for-Food program at the UN.  That led to the worst corruption in history, with everyone getting paid off while enriching Saddam Hussein beyond the dreams of avarice.  The only people to suffer in that arrangement were the Iraqis that were supposed to get fed through direct aid, bypassing Iraqi sanctions.

Only Nelson Mandela would have thought to send these two on a mission to Harare.  Not even Mugabe wants to see these two frauds.