Mugabe to spend Z$3 trillion on birthday, as inflation hits 100,000

By Tererai Karimakwenda
February 21, 2008

This week the Central Statistical Office released figures that showed that annual inflation is now officially over 100,000%. On Thursday, Robert Mugabe’s 84th birthday, state radio announced that the fundraising committee for his celebratory bash had raised over Z$3 trillion. While most Zimbabweans cannot afford to pay for transport to go to work, the man responsible for this economic disaster will be feted at a lavish affair in Beitbridge on Saturday.

This clearly shows the attitude of those in power in Zimbabwe today towards ordinary people. It was Mugabe who once said; “….let them eat potatoes.”

Harare based journalist Jan Raath said even in Zimbabwe dollars, three trillion is a lot of money. He explained that there is no accountability in the fundraising process for Mugabe’s birthday. State radio only mentioned that donations had come from some business people in the country.

Figures released by the Central Statistical Office showed that the monthly inflation rate between December and January was 120%. This means prices for basic commodities more than doubled in one month.

According to Raath there has been an increase in the availability of some basic goods in the shops. There has been beef, fish, milk and other daily essentials, but the recent price increases mean most people cannot afford to buy any.

Raath said the National Pricing and Income Commission (NPIC) recently approved price increases that made it profitable for some businesses to order more stock. But with inflation at these unmanageable levels, Raath expects it will only be a few weeks before serious shortages are back again.
Speaking about the presidential elections due next month, Mugabe said he is "raring to go”. If only he knew how most Zimbabweans interpreted that comment!


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