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Run away inflation
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
January 11, 2007

Foreign currency shortages, thriving parallel market, food scarcity, falling production levels and economic inefficiency have been cited by the Central Statistics Office as the main factors which led to an increase in the monthly annualized inflation levels of December 2006 to 1 281% up from the November 2006 figure which was pegged at 1099%. An increase of 182% points from the previous annualized monthly inflation.

Simultaneously, the Total Consumer Poverty Datum Line (PCDL) has reached an all time high mark of Z$344 356 for the same month under review. The increase is more than 50% compared from the November 2006 figure which was at Z$228 133 required by a family of five to meet their basic necessities. This entails that the cost of purchasing basic commodities in the country has multiplied by almost fourteen times compared to the previous month.

The afore exhibited statistics indicates a governance crisis in Zimbabwe. It is a crisis of a state being run through an incoherent and inconsistent policy framework. The policy failures mainly characterized by the breakdown of the rule of law, lack of respect of property rights, thriving corruption within the public sector, lack of transparency , accountability and the belief in violence as a tool to silence critics by the government has led to such unfavourable statistics.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) must start putting Zimbabwe under its microscope as it is increasingly becoming the missing link in the integration and development project for the continent. In the year 2002 of the fourteen member states' inflation rate statistics reviewed by the regional block, only Zimbabwe and Angola had an inflation rate which exceeded 100%, at 123.5% and 106% respectively. Angola has been in a civil upheaval for almost 27 years, which in one way or the other had contributed to the economic meltdown. As for Zimbabwe, there hasn't been a civil war as the economic quagmire has been authored and crafted by the incumbent ruling party whose minions are competing to out do each other in manipulating the state as a cash cow for personal aggrandizement.

Nine other countries had an inflation margin below 20% whilst two where slightly above 20%. What happened to our 'partner' in inflation (Angola). As Zimbabwe wallow in the 1 281% inflation level, Angola's enjoying a favourable 11.6% inflation margin, yet its infrastructure had been damaged by the 27 years of war, it has managed to craft transparent policies on its mines, oil deposits and agriculture. A glimpse at the inflation levels amongst other member states for SADC shows a handsome crop of economic policies emanating form such countries as noted by the December 2006 inflation rates below: South Africa 4.8%, Zambia 8.1%, Malawi 12.2%, Namibia 5.4% and Mozambique 9.4%. It is sobering to note that the above percentages from these countries' inflation balance sheet combined will not reach a tenth of the Zimbabwe's inflation.

The region must start assessing the long term effects of the Zimbabwean crisis. It will not take long before, the region starts importing the Zimbabwean inflation. The concept of quite diplomacy is a regional time bomb, which must be defused promptly. The curse of modern day African politics is that of drawing a blurred line between ruling parties and the government. Its time the regional states man stop working like punch drunken boxers who simply don't know where to stop plundering the national treasury. If not resolved, Zimbabwe in particular and Africa in general will be worse off.

Visit the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition fact sheet

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