Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Zim economic crisis spoils freedom day party

"....Mugabe, 83, was cheered by about 30,000 supporters of his ruling ZANU-PF party at the birthday bash held at a stadium outside Harare, with an airforce fly-by and military marches underscoring the might of his government....

"Our birthright, Our Sovereignty" read one placard waved at the rally, while others denounced Mugabe's Western critics and pledged to unswerving loyalty to the 83-year-old leader.

Critics accuse Mugabe, Zimbabwe's sole ruler since independence from Britain in 1980, of plunging the southern African state into crisis through policies such as the seizure of white-owned farms to resettle blacks.

But Mugabe says the disaster -- which has left the country with the highest inflation rate in the world and a rapidly shrinking economy -- is a result of economic sanctions imposed by the West.

On Tuesday, Mugabe said he had beaten off an attempt by "evildoers" to unseat him and urged people to be patient as his government battled the economic crisis....

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