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Vol 45 No 15

Published 21st July 2004


On and on and on

Economic failure confronts Mugabe more sharply than opposition parties and foreign critics

The African Union summit in Addis Ababa formally accepts a devastating critique of the government's human rights abuses. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation lambasts the government's land reforms and claims of a bumper harvest. The International Monetary Fund blames the government's failed policies for encouraging capital flight and emigration. And the 80-year President Robert Mugabe rides in his Rolls Royce to open parliament on 20 July, with no visible plan for an imminent retirement. This is meant to be parliament's last session before 120 of its 150 members face elections, expected next March. Mugabe's speech showed no recognition that he presides over the world's fastest shrinking economy. 'We have money to reap a good harvest... to ensure we meet our needs and food requirements. What enhances this overall national food security is the evident revival of our economy,' the President intoned. The FAO's latest assessment ­ that far from achieving food security and a bumper harvest, Zimbabwe would need to import at least 325,000 tonnes of cereals (AC Vol 45 No 14) ­ was ignored.

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