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Zimbabwe police arrest 1300 shopkeepers for flouting price controls

[JURIST] The government of Zimbabwe [JURIST news archive] has arrested more than 1300 shop owners and managers who refused to comply with price controls imposed more than two weeks ago [AP report], according to Monday police reports. On June 26, Industry Minister Obert Mpofu ordered the prices of all goods and services in Zimbabwe to be halved, saying the measure was necessary to curb runaway inflation, which in 2006 was estimated to be 976.4 percent [CIA backgrounder]. Current estimates believe inflation to now exceed 5000 percent. Many businesses refused to comply with the measure, but were not vocal of their opposition at a time in which Zimbabwe has been cracking down on dissent [JURIST report]. Manufacturers have said the price controls do not allow them to cover costs and have halted work, resulting in shortages of basic commodities like oil and salt.

Last week, Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe [BBC profile] said that businesses found to be profiteering during the current financial situation would be seized and nationalized. A police spokesman told AFP that arrests of those found defying the price controls would continue. AFP has more.

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