Water Week

EWN Publishing

Zimbabweans face total famine: country will run out of wheat in three days while 36,000 tonnes of wheat held awaiting payment

Posted by waterweek on 21 September 2007

The OK supermarket in Mbare township is so empty that your voice echoed off the high ware­house roof, according to The Australian (7/9/2007, p. 12).

Ten scones and a dozen cabbages to feed teeming township: “On row after row of white shelving, wiped clean each day, sit a dozen cabbages,” according to the newspaper. “The bakery has 10 plain scones. That is all the food there is in the largest supermarket serving tens of thou­sands of people in the oldest, and teeming, township in Harare. It is 10 weeks since President Robert Mugabe forced businesses to slash prices of all goods and services in the belief that he could crush inflation, which he says is a plot by the Zimbabwean private sector, in collusion with Western governments, to overthrow him.”

Protest and suppression: “Two things have happened: inflation has rocketed and, ac­cording to the Government, the country will run out of wheat in three days,” The Australian said. Zimbabweans appeared set to face an almost total absence of food and ordinary household goods. An eruption of public anger, to be met with violent suppression by Mr Mugabe’s security forces, was likely to follow, observers said. Initially, Mr Mugabe’s June 25 price blitz sparked a gleeful storming of shops, where man­agers looked on aghast as their businesses were stripped at the Government’s bidding.

Govt cannot pay for wheat: Annual inflation in July, a month after the crackdown be­gan, hit a record 7600 per cent. Last week, the value of the Zimbabwean dollar on the black market fell to a new low of 200,000 to $1. “We wonder on what planet President Mugabe lives,” said Wellington Chibebe, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Con­gress of Trade Unions. The country’s main bakery closed one of its largest outlets yesterday because of lack of wheat — a shipment of 36,000 tonnes is being held in a Mozam­bique port because the Govern­ment cannot pay for it.

The Australian, 7/9/2007, p. 12

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