Zimbabwe. The inflation rate slowed during the year from
over 600% to below 200%, but for ordinary people it was as
difficult as before to keep up. Some price reductions on
basic goods were hardly noticeable; on the contrary, the
price of bread was increased by 50% due to lack of flour.
About 140,000 civil servants received a 300% salary premium,
but had demanded 600% and still had difficulty with their
In March, Zimbabwe started paying off its debt of about
US $ 295 million to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in
order not to lose its loan right, but was told that the
country was still risking closure.
CountryAAH, the harvest of tobacco decreased for the fourth year in a
row, mainly as a result of the dramatic upheavals in the
countryside. GDP was estimated to decline by about 5% during
the year after a decline of almost one-third since the late
In February, shortly before his 80th birthday, President
Robert Mugabe formed a new ministry to fight corruption. At
the same time, he appointed Chris Kuruneri as Finance
Minister. This was arrested in April for illegal currency
transactions. for spending millions to build a luxury villa
in South Africa. Skeptics saw the fight against corruption
primarily as an attempt by Mugabe to win sympathies for
upcoming elections and to outmaneuver competitors within the
ZANU-PF government party. During the party's congress in
December, there were significant contradictions between
different factions in the fight over who will eventually be
able to succeed Mugabe. The election of new second vice
president fell on 49-year-old Joyce Mujuru, the first woman
on that post.
The independent newspaper Daily News, which was closed by
police in 2003, was allowed to come out again in January but
was allowed to suspend the publication again after a short
time, when the Supreme Court found that the government has
the right to ban unregistered journalists from working.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was acquitted in
October of charges of plotting to assassinate President
Mugabe. However, he was immediately put on trial again for
trying to stir up an illegal takeover of power. The
government said it would appeal against the free judgment.
Seventy foreign mercenaries were arrested in March at
Harare airport, suspected of planning a coup in Equatorial
Guinea. The group's leader, a British former elite soldier,
was sentenced to seven years in prison, the others to
between 12 and 16 months.
A delegation from the South African national organization
COSATU was expelled from Zimbabwe in October, when it came
to review conditions in the country.
In December, the government banned foreign human rights
organizations from working in Zimbabwe. Domestic groups
working on issues relating to "the country's government"
were banned from receiving foreign financial aid.