Mugabe and his printing press

AP/Washington Post:

President Robert Mugabe has promised to print more money to fund municipal projects, a government newspaper reported Saturday. The pledge came despite hyperinflation that has created severe shortages of cornmeal, meat, milk and other staples.

Meanwhile, water shortages have worsened because of pump breakdowns, and a senior government official said kidney patients were dying for lack of dialysis machines.

The official Herald newspaper reported that Mugabe told a meeting of local council members that they should put more pressure on government ministers to improve services.

"Where money for projects has not been found, we will print it," Mugabe was quoted as saying.

The printing of money is generally regarded as a recipe for inflation -- which is officially at 4,500 percent in Zimbabwe, though private economists estimate it to be at least twice that high. The government last month ordered sweeping price cuts of about 50 percent, accusing store owners and businesses of fueling the inflation.

Zimbabwe is in the grips of its worst crisis since independence from Britain in 1980. Power, water, health and communications systems are collapsing, and there are acute shortages of staple foods and gasoline. Unemployment is around 80 percent, and political unrest is high.

...

Mugabe appears to be inflating the record for incompetence in governing. There are obviously no printing presses for competence, but Mugabe would be clueless if their was such a press. His continued rule also demonstrates the lack of any checks and balances in the Zimbabwe system of government. Mugabe is perhaps the worlds most absolute despot.

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