Saturday, July 07, 2007

Mugabe warns firms against halting production

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Friday told manufacturers to carry on with normal production despite an official price freeze, warning that his government would seize firms that stopped producing basic goods.

Mugabe was addressing thousands of ruling ZANU-PF party supporters in Harare, some who had earlier marched through Zimbabwe's capital in support of the freeze introduced to curb the world's highest inflation rate of over 4,500 percent.

The march came ahead of a ZANU-PF party meeting to adopt tougher measures against firms defying the freeze, which was introduced last week when the government ordered businesses to put prices back to June 18 levels.


Mugabe again accused businesses of raising prices as part of a wider plot by former colonial power Britain to remove him from power and rejected suggestions that the price freeze was illegal.

He said Zimbabweans should alert a special unit of police, army and intelligence operatives formed to enforce price controls of businesses hoarding or unfairly increasing prices.

More than 200 business people, including a ZANU-PF senator, have been arrested for ignoring the ban on price hikes.

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