African leaders protest against Mugabe

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Fears of political violence ochestrated by Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean leader, were confirmed Friday when he made unacceptable utterances about the opposition and his fight against democratic principles.

“They said this country was won by the barrel of the gun [referring to his militia zealots] and should we let it go at the stroke of pen? Should we just write an X and then the country goes just like that?”, quoted the Herald newspaper.

Diplomatic protests

Forty African leaders, including Kofi Annan, Archbishop Desmon Tutu and Jerry Rawlings, among others, Friday, signed and published an open letter asking for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

This comes against a backdrop of unwarranted political arrests of opposition leaders. “These repeated arrests do not augur well for a free, fair and democratic election”, Botswanan foreign minister said.

In what is considered a diplomatic protest, the government of neighbouring Botswana, — suffering from an influx of Zimbabweans running away from increasing violence and economic hardships — summmoned the Zimbabwean ambassador to protest the detention of opposition MDC leaders, Tendai Biti and Morgan Tsvangirai whom he [Mugabe] faces in a presidential election run-off, 27 June.

Economic desperation

The government of Zimbabwe has also banned all humanitarian aid in the country at a time when more than four million Zimbabweans are in dire need of aid.

There now appears to be no respite for the general public, as prices of goods continue to rise. Companies have been pushing up their prices in line with the deregulated inter-bank exchange rate.

The Zimbabwean dollar was this week trading at US$1:$620 million, up from US$1:$480 million last week. A loaf of bread which was selling for $180 000 earlier this year is now going for around $280 million in most shops. It is going for between $400 million and $450 million on the black market. A 2kg packet of sugar which was pegged at $7 million is now selling for $700 million.

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