Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Eddie Cross: Nearly There

Is the end in sight?

There are growing signs that we may be seeing the end of the Mugabe regime. The principle driver is the economy, but this is now being supported by regional consensus that he has to step down so as to allow intervention and recovery. Political momentum is also being supported by renewed global agreement that Zanu has exhausted all options, save one and must now step down and allow change to take place.

On the economic front the pace of collapse has accelerated sharply. This is not reflected in official statistics but today the US dollar is trading at five times the official rate, fuel prices have risen to over Z$500 000 a litre and a loaf of bread is selling at Z$200 000 with milk not far behind for a half litre. This week maize meal prices have doubled, pushed by the first price increase in maize from the GMB in nearly two years. In the past 24 hours, we have been without electricity for 12 hours – many areas are also without water.

I watched the Zimbabwe television news the other night and heard Mr. Mugabe announce that we are no longer importing maize – we have after all grown enough maize to feed ourselves! The reality is that in the week ending the 14th July, we imported 17 000 tonnes of white maize from South Africa. No matter what the rhetoric, the reality stays stubbornly in sight – we will only reap a third of our maize needs, imports will again have to be over a million tonnes. We have grown a scant 20 000 hectares of wheat and barley and will have to import three quarters of our needs of these essential grains as well. (more...)

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