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Opposition Legislator Says West Turning 'Blind Eye' To Zimbabwe Suffering

Countries in the West have turned a blind eye to suffering in Zimbabwe, said a senior opposition politician now in Europe lobbying for increased pressure on Harare.

David Coltart, member of parliament for Bulawayo South and justice spokesman in the Movement for Democratic Change faction led by Arthur Mutambara, said Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis needs urgent attention because people are "dying like flies."

Coltart said Western leaders have not understood the extent of the suffering because their attention is focused on places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Sudan's Darfur.

Coltart, reached by cell phone, declined to disclose his whereabouts in Europe or say with which governments or institutions he was meeting during his trip.

He also lambasted the Harare government for selling off the nation's assets to China at what he called cut-rate price and receiving, in return, "third rate shoes and clothes," which undermine the country's textile industry.

Coltart told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that with some 3,500 people dying a week due to AIDS, malnutrition and related causes, more people are losing their lives in Zimbabwe on an ongoing basis than in Sudan’s Darfur region, where much of the West's attention and concern is focused.

More reports from Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...