|Dell has a parting shot at Mugabe as he prepares to leave|
By our Correspondent"Zimbabwe's actual rate of inflation currently stands at 20 000 percent and it will continue to double every month, to be pegged at 1, 5 million percent by year's end," Dell said. "The economic collapse will drive President Mugabe from power."
BULAWAYO, 19 June 2007 - The outgoing United States (US) ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, says Zimbabwe's inflation will hit the one and a half million mark by year's end, forcing President Mugabe to leave office.
Dell, who was addressing journalists in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, on his last tour of duty, predicted the end of President Mugabe's regime was only months away.
"The first phase of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle is coming to an end in the coming months as long as the rate of inflation doubles every month," he said. "The second phase to define the future of Zimbabwe past a few old men is
coming in the next few months."
He said independent inflation figures indicate that the country's inflation was at 3000 percent in February, doubled to 6 000 percent by March before doubling again in April to reach the 20 000 percent mark by May.
"By year's end the inflation rate will be at 1, 5 million percent and there is no historic example of a government that has survived inflation that has hit seven digits," Dell said. "It is just a matter of time before everything collapses around President Mugabe. This is an end game."
Dell also took a swipe at the state media for misrepresenting the annual report where the US government conceded that it was supporting democratic groups in Zimbabwe.
He said the US was not involved in what he described as sneaky deals against government, saying his country only supported civic organizations to strengthen democratic space in the country.
"We are not fools,' Dell said. "We would not publish sneaky information in annual reports that are made public and there is nothing wrong in supporting or strengthening democratic space in any country. The Zimbabwean
government has this old mentality that it sees enemies everywhere."
He said President Mugabe's government was afraid of democracy and had done everything in its power to eliminate the opposition from the country.
Asked how he would characterize President Mugabe, Dell said he would describe him sadly as a man who could not judge that he had overstayed in power.
"Mugabe did not see his expiry date," said Dell, a relentless critic of Mugabe during his term in Harare. "He stayed too long and overstayed his welcome. He is a man who played a largely historical role from independence through the first quarter of a century, it's a legacy someone should have been proud of but he overstayed."
Commenting on his many confrontations with the government, Dell defended his actions, saying there was a mistaken conception of what diplomacy was meant to be.
"Diplomacy is not engaging in double talk," he said, "or talking smooth and not ruffling feathers. It is about representing the interests of what one country stands
for and my duty here was to defend values of the US government.
Peace and Tranquility???
Peace and Tranquility???
Cell in RSA: 0791463039