HARARE: Zimbabwe police have arrested 10,000 people in a drive to choke a black market economy that has thrived on shortages, but economists said the latest blitz would only drive the trade deeper underground.
Police said today they made the arrests and seized foreign currency and other commodities since the crackdown began last week with sweeps against hawkers and illegal traders in Harare and other cities.
President Robert Mugabe's government is widely blamed for the economic crisis but says profiteers siphon foreign currency, fuel, maize meal, sugar and cooking oil from the formal sector for re-sale at much higher prices on the underground market.
The government has depended on regulated prices for key commodities but producers and retailers say current approved levels threaten the viability of their businesses.
This is mere scapegoating, born of Mugabe's insane faith in socialism. He blames the black marketeers for undermining the nation's economy. And while he's at it:
Authorities blame foreigners for a thriving foreign currency informal market where the Zimbabwe dollar is trading at up to 25,000 to the US dollar against an official rate of 9000....Read it here, and weep.
Mugabe, who has ruled the former British colony since independence in 1980, blames the country's crisis on local and foreign opponents of the land seizures, which he says have combined to sabotage the country for political reasons.