February 23, 2007

Zimbabwe: Inflation, Dissent Converge

With inflation at 1,600 percent, Zimbabwe is removing subsidies on flour, maize and fuel, causing prices to as much as quintuple for staple foods and transportation.

Officials say inflation is caused by businesses that illegally increase prices set by the state, and to prevent corruption have doubled the salaries of youth militia charged with enforcing the new rules.

The new militia salaries are about 10 times the amount paid to teachers and state doctors, a sore point in a nation where leaders of the national teachers’ union were recently arrested for calling for strikes over low wages.

Robert Mugabe’s government routinely smothers dissent, last week detaining student leaders who protested a 2,000 percent fee hike, and banning an election rally by the opposition party.

Sources:

“Zimbabwe: Police deny permission for Tsvangirai rally”
Business Day (South Africa), February 16, 2007

“Zimbabwe: Massive price hikes loom”
Zimbabwe Independent, February 16, 2007

“Zim militia squads pay doubles”
South African Press Association, February 13, 2007

Learn more about Zimbabwe on Newsdesk.org

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