July 15, 2007

Robert Mugabe


From Reuters: Zimbabwe price crackdown moves to Mugabe heartland.

Zimbabwe has sent crack police to enforce price freezes in the rural strongholds of President Robert Mugabe, where businesses have failed to heed measures aimed at reining in inflation and halting economic collapse.

Mugabe's government, grappling with inflation of 4,500 percent, ordered businesses last month to roll back and freeze prices on petrol, bread, milk, cooking oil and other key consumer items after a sharp increase in their prices.

The move has prompted panic buying, leading to empty store shelves and long lines at petrol stations, and pushed the economically depressed southern African nation closer to breaking point.

"We have started deploying many officers to rural areas to make sure there is compliance, and we are saying we are not going to stop until we are satisfied that there is total compliance," police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka told Reuters.

Mandipaka said many businesses in rural areas -- where the majority of Zimbabwe's population lives and where Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party enjoys strong support -- had failed to follow the government's directive on prices.

So far, the crackdown has been concentrated in the capital Harare and other urban areas where workers have borne the brunt of the severe economic crisis. It has led to arrests and fines for 1,768 executives and companies.

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Posted by Forkum at July 15, 2007 11:29 AM