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calls for mass action against the central bank
Bell, SW Radio Africa
November 27, 2008
leaders have called for mass public action to protest against the
central bank's restrictive cap on cash withdrawal limits -
amid a worsening food, health and cash crisis.
Zimbabwe has the world's
highest official inflation of 231 million percent, but experts say
the rate has reached far beyond the quintillion mark. The daily
withdrawal limit of Z$500,000 was recently increased from a mere
Z$50, 000 but still does not buy even half a loaf of bread. A 2
kilogram pack of sugar bought in local currency means Zimbabweans
must spend four days in line at a bank or automated teller machine
to get enough money. The withdrawal limit coupled with the general
refusal to accept cheques or cards, means Zimbabweans cannot physically
purchase even the most basic necessities.
however is that amid a national cholera crisis that has claimed
thousands of lives, Zimbabweans cannot withdraw enough money to
pay for critically needed medication or even the transport to get
the sick to hospitals and clinics. The situation has led to the
call by the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) for Zimbabweans to try and withdraw
more than the Z$500,000 limit next Wednesday.
"Hundreds, if not
thousands, of us have died not because of anything other than the
imposed cash withdrawal limits," said the head of the ZCTU
Lovemore Matombo in an interview on Thursday.
Earlier this week, Mugabe
reappointed central bank governor Gideon Gono for another five-year
term at the Reserve Bank - a move that has sparked outcry
across the country.
Meanwhile trade unions
from across Southern Africa will meet in Gaborone, Botswana on Friday
to discuss 'regional matters and joint actions' in a
meeting where Zimbabwe and Swaziland are said to be high on the
"We note that in
Zimbabwe the cholera crisis threatens the whole region and this
is a result of the political and economic crisis in that country
and postponing the problem or avoiding it has not helped anyone,
but worsened the suffering of the people," a statement by
South Africa's trade union federation COSATU said on Thursday.
"We also note that the inability of the political crisis in
that country to be resolved has exposed SADC's challenges
and the need for more political will by the leaders of Zimbabwe
to do all within their power for their people."
COSATU has been a driving
force behind various protests against the undemocratic regimes in
both Zimbabwe and Swaziland. The South African union federation
has organized demonstrations and blocked the borders to both neighboring
countries, and has also pressured South Africa's ruling ANC
government to take action.
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