Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Thousands arrested as Mugabe warns about prices

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has warned businesses to comply with a controversial price freeze, after his security forces arrested more than 7,000 people for violating the new policy over the past few weeks.

"Some (businesses) are resisting saying they will not supply goods and services, but we say you will," state media quoted him on Monday as telling a conference in Malaysia....

Mugabe was among several leaders from Southeast Asia and Africa taking part in the Langkawi International Dialogue, aimed at fostering closer ties between the two regions.

Back home, there was no economic relief in sight for Zimbabweans also struggling with widespread poverty and 80 percent unemployment amid an eight-year depression.

Mugabe accuses Britain and other Western nations of sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy over his decision to seize thousands of white-owned farms to resettle landless blacks.

Church leaders have urged Mugabe to embrace democratic reforms. One of his key supporters, Anglican bishop Nolbert Kunonga, was quoted on Monday in The Herald as criticising fellow clergy for pressing political reforms.

Kunonga said it was the clergy's "sacred mission and God-given opportunity to help people reject all Western forms, designs, plots, tactics and strategies to drag us back into a state of boyhood and baboonhood."

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