Zimbabwe’s billionaires face daily struggle to make ends meet

CEAT Kelani Holdings Managing Director Ravi Dadlani (right) and Lanka Ashok Leyland CEO Umesh Gautham exchange the OEM agreement

HARARE, June 27, 2008 (AFP) – The prices at Dzidzai Guti’s makeshift stall can seem eye-popping, with rotting oranges, a pack of cigarettes and bananas fetching as much as 250 million Zimbabwean dollars. But the 27-year-old gardener struggles. He and his wife, who works as a maid, live in a room in the back of his boss’s house and combine breakfast and lunch to save money.

He runs the stall — nothing more than a table top balanced on bricks — to supplement his income in a country with the world’s highest inflation rate and major food shortages.

“I am supposed to work in the mornings in the garden and rest in the afternoon, but I don’t have the luxury to rest,” he says.

“It’s hard, but I would starve if I didn’t do that.”

Zimbabweans had been hoping for an end to the economic freefall ahead of the country’s presidential elections, with the first round held on March 29 and the run-off on Friday.

But with the opposition leader pulling out of the race days ahead of the run-off and President Robert Mugabe pushing ahead with the vote anyway, essentially giving himself a victory by default, those hopes now seem slim.

The ludicrously high inflation rates and food shortages have h

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