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Govt ‘very worried’: Mugabe

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe said yesterday his government was “very worried” about the economy, but predicted Zimbabwe would ride out an escalating crisis he blamed on former colonial ruler Britain.

In an interview with a group of jo

urnalists, Mugabe rejected charges Zimbabwe was in trouble due to state mismanagement, bad governance and human rights abuses — blaming instead what he called illegal sanctions championed by London.

Asked whether he was worried about constantly rising consumer prices which have left many Zimbabweans struggling and increasingly angry, Mugabe said: “Sure, very worried.”

“But this is because of the circumstances in which we are … circumstances of an economy under siege, an economy which should have had a political environment to protect it from the action of our enemies led by Britain, imposing sanctions on us,” he added.

Mugabe said his government could have imposed a state of emergency to protect its economy from what he calls sabotage from both domestic and Western opponents, but had not done so because this would have sent a “wrong political signal”.

“We decided to soldier on … seeking assistance from our friends,” he said.

Although Britain had the highest number of foreign companies operating in Zimbabwe, Tony Blair’s government had isolated the country’s economy over Harare’s seizures of white-owned farms for redistribution to black Zimbabweans, he charged.

Mugabe said although Zimbabwe’s key agriculture output had been lower than expected over the last few years due to drought and economic factors, he expected production to rise on the back of better preparations by both farmers and the government.

“We expect therefore 2007 to be a good year,” he said, adding, “inflation is now going down, starting a new turn”. — Reuter.

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