Zim inflation rockets to 231-million percent

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation raced to a record 231-million percent in July, up from 11,2-million percent the previous month, deepening a severe economic crisis, official figures showed on Thursday.

Central Statistical Office data showed that on a monthly basis, prices shot up by 2 600,2%, compared with 839,3% in June, largely driven by high prices of bread and cereals.

The Southern African nation is in the throes of debilitating economic turmoil, which many Zimbabweans had hoped would ease following a landmark power-sharing deal signed between President Robert Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai last month.

The World Bank says Zimbabwe has the world’s fastest shrinking economy for a country not at war.

Worlds apart
Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and the MDC held more unsuccessful talks to end stalled power-sharing negotiations on Wednesday, with both sides accusing each other of prejudicing the process.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa accused the MDC on Wednesday of endangering the talks, which have reached a stalemate over the allocation of Cabinet posts.

MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the parties had held a new round of talks after several attempts to break the deadlock failed, but the latest negotiations had also been fruitless.

“The meeting has finished but there’s no inch of movement. We’re still worlds apart. If anything, they seem to be in reverse,” Chamisa said.

“We’ve been very flexible and magnanimous, but those in Zanu-PF are not flexible.”

Two MDC factions and Mugabe’s Zanu-PF have been haggling since September 15, when an outline deal was reached to end a political crisis that worsened after Mugabe’s unopposed re-election in a June vote boycotted by the MDC.

The main MDC faction, led by Tsvangirai, has called for urgent African intervention in the impasse.

“The MDC is prejudicing talks by trying to negotiate in public.
That will not assist the process. That’s a sure way of collapsing the negotiations,” Chinamasa said on Wednesday .

“I don’t agree that the negotiations have stalled. They will continue. I don’t see the need of a facilitator. We must keep talking. The facilitator is not going to run this country,” added Chinamasa, the ruling party’s chief negotiator.—Reuters

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