Britain's Africa Minister Says It's Time for Mugabe to Go

In an e-mail to ABC News, CAMEC spokesman Jon Simmons said that the company loaned the money so that the government could make its "payments to a series of mainly international creditors for a variety of commodities, primarily for seeds, grain, fertilizer and fuel.

"CAMEC undertook appropriate due diligence, as a result of which it is satisfied that the payments were used for these purposes. CAMEC has no reason to believe that the money may have been used for other purposes and has seen no evidence to suggest that this may be the case."

Today's remarks by Britain's Africa minister, Mark Malloch Brown, join a chorus of criticism leveled against Mugabe by U.S. and EU government figures.

The U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, Jendayi Frazer, said Thursday that "There is a complete collapse right now" in Zimbabwe.

"We think that the person who has ruined the country ... that he needs to step down," Frazer added.

Responding to her comments Friday, Mugabe called Frazer "a little girl," declaring that "Zimbabwe is mine.

U.S. Is 'Absolutely Right'

"I will never, never sell my country. I will never, never, never surrender," he said, speaking before a crowd of flag-waving supporters at a three-day convention in Bindura, 60 miles northeast of Harare, the capital.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters that the "last time the world checked, Zimbabwe belonged to the people of Zimbabwe," adding that Mugabe's statement "sums up in a concise way what is at the root of Zimbabwe's problems."

Today, Mark Malloch Brown repeated Frazer's words, saying, "The Americans are absolutely right -- he is going to have to step aside."

But while few people expect Mugabe to go quietly after nearly three decades in power, aid workers in the country are struggling to cope with the rising number of cholera cases in urban and rural Zimbabwe.

More Serious Health Risks

Garwood of the World Health Organization told ABC News that Zimbabwe is now in serious danger of facing more serious health risks because hunger and malnutrition are on the rise. "There are great challenges with access to food in many parts of the country," he said. "By having people malnourished it just accentuates risks of increases of various diseases and makes people more prone to instances of cholera."

Even though Zimbabwe has modern hospitals and well-trained doctors, according to Garwood, the meager wages given to health workers have meant a virtual shutdown of these facilities as many workers search for other ways to bring in food.

Similarly, Zimbabwe -- once known as Africa's breadbasket -- now struggles to feed its own in the aftermath of years of inflation.

Mugabe has ruled the country since its 1980 independence from Britain.

Critics blame his policies for the ruin of the once-productive nation, while Mugabe blames Western sanctions for the country's economic meltdown.

Opposition leader Tsvangirai Friday said that he intends to ask his party, the Movement for Democratic Change, to halt negotiations unless political detainees are released or charged by Jan. 1.

Opposition Party Speaks

He told reporters in Botswana that more than 42 members of his opposition party and civil society have been abducted in the past two months. They include three journalists, and their whereabouts remain unknown.

"The MDC can no longer sit at the same negotiating table with a party that is abducting our members and other innocent civilians and refusing to produce any of them before a court of law," Tsvangirai said.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this story.

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