Boy, what a struggle to post bond on this one.
Meanwhile, two foreign nationals accused of working as journalists without accreditation have been freed on bail.
New York Times correspondent Barry Bearak and a British national were released on bail of 300m Zimbabwe dollars (US$10,000 at the official exchange rate, US$6 on the black market).
They were ordered to surrender their passports and appear in court on Thursday.
Yea, 6 bucks is going to be really hard to scrape up. I guess that’s the downside of denying the reality of what you’re currency is worth!
An amusing anecdote from a situation rapidly turning very, very ugly.
I note that Robert Mugabe has said as openly as these things get that he’s going to rig the presentital result.
I also read earlier that there’s been some election workers arrested.
ZEC officials were arrested after Zanu (PF) complaints that they were involved in vote-rigging and bribery. The party’s secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, said at its politburo meeting on Friday that ZEC officials should be “arrested and jailed” for corruption and ineptitude.
The opposition has won a majority in the Zimbabwe Parliament.
It remains to be seen if they will be able to take up their seats, or whether they presidential election will be allowed to go the the MDC too. But it was nonetheless a very good thing to wake up to this morning.
Zimbabwe may be going to a run-off. This is a good sign, that the results of the first round are going to be respected.
Zimbabwe could be heading for a presidential run-off within three weeks, according to the state-owned Herald newspaper.
The first official indication of the result of Saturday’s election says that neither President Robert Mugabe nor his main challenger gained 50% of the vote.
I caught snatches of checkpoint tonight, and they were saying that Mugabe wanted to announce himself as the winner, but the army told him that would cause massive riots which they could not stop.
Quite an admission. Apparently even the army and police are now turning on him, and the commanders could not guarantee the troops would stay loyal.
So Mugabe tried to negotiate some sort of power sharing arrangement with Morgan Tsvangirai, but naturally got told to shove off.
This thing may be resolved without bloodshed yet. Let’s pray that it does.
Sadly, with Mugabe’s mess soaked throughout the country, the cleanup is going to be extremely difficult, more difficult I think that most people imagine.
But there’s hope, that’s where you have to start.
Via Instapundit, Reuters has the numbers on Zimbabwe’s decline.
In 1987 inflation averaged 11.9 percent. It surged to an official record of 100,586 percent in January 2008, but economic experts say the real rate is much higher.
Average life expectancy dropped from 63 years in 1990 to 37.3 years in 2005, according to World Bank and U.N. figures.
In 2007, Zimbabwe had an HIV prevalence of 15.6 percent among adults aged 15-49 years — the fourth-highest rate in the world. The United Nations Development Program says the epidemic causes the death of around 3,200 people per week. The population is 13 million.
CHILD MORTALITY RATE
Zimbabwe’s mortality rate for children under five was 76 deaths out of every 1,000 in 1990. This increased to 105 in 2006.
That’s not all. It goes on on and on.
From the BBC, who due to being kicked out first have the best coverage!
Zimbabwe’s election commission has announced the delayed first results of presidential and legislative elections.
The six parliamentary constituencies were split between President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
I guess tomorrow morning would be the best time to relase results from this election.
I’m picking Mugabe will let them think they’ve won, and arange things so he just “scrapes through”. However I did hear (5:30 RNZ News) that there was a rumor that he had left the country, so who knows…
As elections approach in Zimbabwe, a farmer has been found guilty of staying on his farm after the state declared it stolen (by them).
Deon Theron, 53, has reached the end of an extraordinary trial in which, his lawyers say, he has been denied basic justice by court officials desperate to score political points before the most important elections for Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.
On Tuesday, after what little evidence in the trial had been presented, the Harare magistrate refused to allow Mr Theron’s lawyer to deliver a closing submission and answer accusations that her client had occupied his farm illegally after it was declared state property. Instead, he summarily found Mr Theron guilty, stating that he had “blatantly” defied the law.
This sounds like a scene straight from Atlas Shrugged.
Mr Theron has a herd of 400 dairy cattle on his 400ha farm in the Beatrice district, about 70km south of Harare. It supplies 8000litres of fresh milk to Harare – 2 per cent of the daily consumption of the capital – every day. Milk is scarce in supermarkets and has to be bought at exorbitant prices on the black market.
Another 12 dairy farmers in the district are being hounded by ruling party apparatchiks trying to grab their farms and livestock.
Yes, you read that right: in spite of wage and price freezes, executive orders to cut all prices in half etc, inflation in Zimbabwe has hit a new record.
It seems that the only result of ordering price cuts has been to reduce the goods available to buy. Funny how that always happens. Funnier how no one ever learns…
Zimbabwe’s annual rate of inflation jumped to 7,638% in July according to the first official figures to be published for three months.
The Central Statistical Office said inflation had more than doubled since May – the last official data released.
Since then the government has ordered shopkeepers to slash their prices and arrested anyone who has failed to obey.
Last month, the International Monetary Fund warned annual inflation could reach 100,000% by the end of the year.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe has said the real year-on-year inflation is far higher than the official rate – claiming it was nearer 13,000% in June.
Zimbabwe’s economic crisis has led to an estimated three million people fleeing the country for South Africa.
Unemployment stands at about 80% and there are mass shortages of fuel and foodstuffs.
Businesses were forced to freeze prices in June as President Robert Mugabe’s government tried to stem inflation.
But some producers, fearing making a loss, cut production, meaning the move exacerbated shortages, leaving shop shelves empty.
When will they learn that market prices are set where they are for good reasons?
That’s what The Times is saying…
Inflation is likely to bring Zimbabwe’s economy to a standstill within six months with the possible paralysis of President Mugabe’s Government and civil unrest, international aid agencies warned their staff yesterday.
The country’s plight is likely to force Mr Mugabe to introduce emergency rule, said a group representing 34 organisations, including the United Nations, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Oxfam.
The warning came as the country’s consumer watchdog reported that the cost of living for an average urban family had risen by 66 per cent last month. In April inflation stood at a record 3,700 per cent. The internal memorandum from the Heads of Agencies Contact Group is the first evidence that international organisations are taking steps to prepare for a collapse.
“The memorandum is talking about a situation where there is no functioning government or a total breakdown,” said an agency official, who asked not to be named. “It is saying it is inevitable, not just a possibility. Our head offices have to know. Not many people have experienced this kind of crisis.” The document says that inflation will continue to snowball. “Thus economic collapse is expected before the end of 2007,” it adds.
By that point the Zimbabwean currency will have become unusable and shops and services will “substantially cease to function”. This is likely to be followed by “increased unemployment with concomitantly increased crime and possible civil disturbances”.
It points out that presidential and parliamentary elections are due by the end of March next year, but adds: “If the country is unable to function, it is difficult to see how these can be held.”
The Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights said last week: “It can no longer be said that the health service is ‘near collapse’, It has collapsed.”
One has to admit, 3,700% inflation does make Bollard look pretty good!
£130: GDP per capita
39: years life expectancy
700,000: people had homes and businesses destroyed by the Government in 2005
27: years with Robert Mugabe in power
$0: funds left for the Zimbabwean Army to pay for rations