Over 200 business people arrested (3-07-07)

OVER 200 business people have been arrested as the recent government orchestrated crack-down on business continues, sources within the Zimbabwe Republic Police have said.

The 200, who will soon appear before the courts understandably include 194 overcharging businesspeople

and 40 illegal foreign currency dealers.

Government on Tuesday launched Operation Dzikamai, onstensibly to bring sanity to the business sector that has been characterised by the overpricing of basic commodities to advance a suspected Western agenda of toppling President Robert Mugabe’s government before year end.

The operation is in full swing countrywide, with the Harare wing of War Veterans, led by maverick war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba, invading some shops in the capital to enforce submission to the government decree which economists have since described as unfortunate.

Among others, the decree saw the price of a 2litre bottle of Mazoe Orange juice tumbling from $600 000 to $115 000 while Geisha bath soap is now selling at $65 000 from $130 000 and a 500g packet of Cerevita is now going at $90 000 from $164 000.

The operation has seen the menacing police crack teams invading warehouses in search of hoarded goods.

However, Zimbabwe’s hyper-inflationary environment had made it more economic for businesses to buy goods in bulk and maintain large stocks in a bid to beat ever-escalating prices.

President Robert Mugabe’s government last week launched the operation and cracked down on business, ordering them to revert back to prices they were charging before June 18 despite the fact that the same government had authorised some of the hikes.

On Monday morning last week,government understandably authorised a price hike for bread under the National Incomes and Pricing Commission before Industry and International Trade Minister, Obert Mpofu announced the new decree later in the evening.The NIPC is operates under Mpofu’s ministry.

Meanwhile, government has ordered all parastatals to comply with the new decree by reverting back to their old prices.

Among others is the national airliner which yesterday increased its fares by more than 1000 percent citing increasing operational costs.

AirZim has always been seen to be charging unviable fares, with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor, Gideon Gono at one time deregatorilly calling it “some father Christmas who always turns to the central bank with a begging bowl”.

Others include Net*One,TelOne and Zimpost who recently increased their charges in line with increasing operational costs-CAJ News.

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