We got a message from a friend living in Zimbabwe.
Situation is close to awful.
Lines for the basic nesessities, such as bread.
The Zimbabwe Situation
Here is the story:
Mugabe calls in thugs to police prices
July 7, 2007
Jan Raath in Harare
President Mugabe has ordered petrol stations to slash the price of fuel by
70 per cent in a desperate bid to bring down the world's highest rate of
inflation. Mr Mugabe ordered the price of fuel to be cut to 18p per litre,
as his politburo announced plans to "tighten and intensify" price controls.
Shops have already been ordered to reduce prices as the President seeks to
beat hyper-inflation that he fears may spark civil unrest and drive him from
State radio called on the movement of war veterans - a reserve unit of the
armed forces made up of former guerillas who fought to end white rule more
than 25 years ago - the youth militia and the women's league of Mr Mugabe's
ZANU(PF) party, to report to party headquarters. Observers believe that the
groups have been summoned to support trade inspectors, police and state
secret agents in enforcing the price cuts.
Supermarkets, shops and warehouses are being forced to sell produce at
prices far below the cost of replacing stock. The operation has been
accompanied by state-approved looting as hungry Zimbabweans, impoverished by
Mr Mugabe's ruinous economic policies, loaded cheap goods - which were often
resold on the black market the same day at far higher prices.
Lawyers have denounced the forced price cuts as illegal, while many
businessmen have been arrested for failing to comply. "It's all by edict in
the state press," said one lawyer who asked not to be named. "And even if
they did make it official, it would be in violation of the Constitution, for
depriving people unlawfully of their property. It is legalised looting and
Mr Mugabe's onslaught is seen as a response to repeated forecasts that
Zimbabwe's wild inflation will bring the economy to a halt within six months
and cause civil upheaval that will drive him from power.
"Mugabe is taking these forecasts very seriously," John Makumbe, a political
commentator, said. "But he thinks he can bring down inflation by
manipulating it manually. He doesn't realise it will rocket even higher. It's
unbelievable." Yesterday, traders in the capital's predominantly Indian
business area had placed detachable steel-grilled gates outside their shop
doors, ready to be shut at short notice.
Shortly after dawn, hundreds of cars began queuing at service stations in
the city, after state radio announced that fuel would have to be sold at
$Zim 55,000 (about 18p) per litre. It had been selling for $Zim 180,000 per
litre. "This is going to be a very short honeymoon," John Robertson, an
economist, said. "There will be no fuel to be had anywhere in the country by
the middle of next week. That will bring an end to all business activity. A
shutdown of the entire country is coming. In a week's time, people are going
to be struggling to find food."
Mr Mugabe told supporters that any businesses that halted production because
of the price cuts would be forcibly nationalised. "We are saying to all
factory owners 'you must produce'," Mr Mugabe said. "If you don't produce,
we certainly will seize the factories."
- Inflation for May was announced to be 4,500 per cent, although economists
say that the real figure is closer to 10,000 per cent
- The movement of war veterans, the youth militia and the women's league of
Zanu (PF) have been used repeatedly to crush dissent, and to drive 5,000
white farmers from their farms
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Mugabe summons war veterans as inflation crisis deepens in Zimbabwe
International Herald Tribune
The Associated PressPublished: July 6, 2007
HARARE, Zimbabwe: Hundreds of war veterans and ruling party militiamen and
loyalists summoned by President Robert Mugabe arrived by the busload at his
party headquarters for a meeting Friday as government-ordered price cuts
spurred mounting chaos in the economy.
The unusual call on state radio to veterans of the guerrilla war that swept
Mugabe to power and ended colonial rule in 1980 came amid fears they would
be called on to enforce the price cuts. Veterans and youth militias, known
as Green Bombers for their green denim uniforms, were the main participants
in the chaotic and bloody seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial
farms that began in 2000.
The radio said the loyalists were required Friday for discussions on
economic policies at a meeting of the party's central committee headed by
The radio also said the ruling party was to discuss ways to "tighten and
intensify" price controls, saying the government made available toll free
telephone hot lines for callers to report shopkeepers and businesses in
breach of its prices edict.
Last week, the government ordered sweeping price cuts of around 50 percent
to curb inflation and stop profiteering and overcharging by businesses.
Price inspectors and police have raided stories, warehouses and gas stations
to enforce the order, as the falling prices caused stampedes, panic buying
and near-riots by impoverished Zimbabweans. At least two store managers have
been hospitalized, one with a broken jaw, when they tried to restrain crowds
grabbing reduced items from the shelves.
Long lines of cars waited at gas stations still selling scarce fuel Friday
after Industry Minister Obert Mpofu warned fuel company staff they faced
arrest and seizure of their fuel stocks if the price of gasoline was not
slashed by more than half from immediate effect.
At least two gas stations in Harare sold out and shut down by mid afternoon,
uncertain when they would reopen.
Mpofu ordered them to sell gasoline at 60,000 Zimbabwe dollars to the liter,
state radio reported. Oil industry executives said in meetings with the
government they argued that minimum "cost recovery" on buying gas and
distributing it in the landlocked nation now stood at about 130,000 Zimbabwe
dollars a liter.
The new government price translates to US$4 (?2.94) a liter (about US$8, ?6
a gallon) at the official exchange rate or 46 U.S. cents (33 euro cents) a
liter (about US$180 or ?1.30 a gallon) at the dominant black market exchange
rate. The fuel industry price for providing a liter to the pumps is US$8.66
(?6.36) at the official rate and US$1 (73 euro cents) at the more realistic
"It looks like the country will run dry in the next few days and everything
could come to a standstill. It doesn't make sense," said one fuel industry
executive. He asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation from ruling
In the week since the government ordered sweeping price cuts most shops have
run out of the cornmeal staple, bread, meat, salt, sugar and other basic
foodstuffs. Some smaller shops have closed. Shelves were bare of basic foods
across the capital.
Official inflation is running at 4,500 percent, the highest in the world,
though independent financial institutions estimate real inflation is closer
to 9,000 percent.
Mpofu, the industry minister, said the excessive price of gasoline raised
the prices of all goods and services and said fuel found being sold at above
the new price would be forfeited to the state and suppliers faced
prosecution, the state radio reported Friday.
The government on Thursday banned bulk storage of foodstuffs and extended
price cuts to consumer goods, mobile phone charges, fares on the state
airline and car spares.
Bustling shoppers swarmed into a downtown shoe store Friday and congestion
on the mobile phone networks made local call connections almost impossible.
State radio said the ruling party's politburo, its highest policy making
body, met Thursday and commended the new government task force on prices for
bringing down the cost of living.
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Mugabe warns firms against halting production
Fri 6 Jul 2007, 11:37 GMT
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Friday told
manufacturers to carry on with normal production despite an official price
freeze, warning that his government would seize firms that stopped producing
The price controls cover basic goods such as maize meal, sugar, salt, bread,
beef, rentals and were on Friday extended to fuel.