Sanctions could hurt Zimbabweans

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Scott Jagow: What a surprise — Robert Mugabe’s been elected the president of Zimbabwe. It’s kind of hard to lose when the other candidates drop out because they’re afraid for their lives. Today, leaders of other African countries are meeting in Egypt to decide whether they should recognize Mugabe as legitimate. And ask this question: How will economic sanctions affect the people of Zimbabwe? Gretchen Wilson has more.

Gretchen Wilson: Robert Mugabe was quickly sworn in as Zimbabwe’s president yesterday. In his inaugural speech, the 84-year-old incumbent called for dialogue with the opposition party.

President Robert Mugabe:
Indeed it is my hope that sooner rather than later, we shall as diverse political parties hold consultations.

The United States is beefing up sanctions against the country. These new measures will target Mugabe’s entire government.

The idea is to choke the country’s mining industry, which is a key source of foreign currency. The ruling elite capitalizes on the country’s mind-boggling inflation, using foreign exchange to generate its wealth.

But some African human rights groups warn sanctions risk making conditions for average Zimbabweans even worse. The vast majority of Zimbabweans are now destitute, eating one meal a day. Not surprising when $6 billion can only buy one loaf of bread.

In Johannesburg, I’m Gretchen Wilson for Marketplace.

All reporting by Gretchen L. Wilson, © 2008

audio   economy   elections   Marketplace   Zimbabwe

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