Rich-poor gap widens

HARARE - The gap between the rich and the poor in Zimbabwe has never been wider. About 10,200 Zimbabwe dollars now buy what 100 Zimdollars bought in 1995. The official exchange rate rose from about 8 Zimbabwe dollars to the U.S. dollar in 1995, to 250-1 this year, alongside a current black market ex

change rate of up to 850-1.
Mugabe, 82, who has been in power for 26 years, travelled to Guinea recently to discuss fuel supplies after being cut off by key suppliers after Zimbabwe didn’t pay millions in arrears for previous shipments.
Anti-government strikes called by the ZCTU a fortnight ago demanding better pay were thwarted by a massive show of force by police, soldiers and ruling party militiamen.
The protests appeared to be of little concern to one pro-Mugabe businessman who threw his 54th birthday party soon afterward. He hired a replica of a Mississippi paddle steamer on Zimbabwe’s northern Lake Kariba, a stone’s throw away from where a meeting called to discuss the new government human rights commission. The meeting was snubbed by Zimbabwe’s left-wing civic society.
The calligraphy for the handwritten dinner place name cards alone cost five times Zimbabwe’s average annual per capita income. – Own correspondent

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