Skip to main content

New PM: Zimbabwe facing starvation

  • Story Highlights
  • New PM: Zimbabwe urgently needs government to address food crisis
  • Robert Mugabe blames country's economic collapse on sanctions
  • Next Article in World »
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

HARARE, Zimbabwe (CNN) -- Zimbabwe urgently needs to form a new government in order to address a food crisis in the nation and prevent starvation, newly designated Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told reporters Saturday.

At least 80 percent of the population of Zimbabwe are living below the poverty line.

At least 80 percent of the population of Zimbabwe are living below the poverty line.

Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said there was a "deepening food insecurity" in the country.

"We need to respond to this crisis with utmost urgency," he said. "It is therefore imperative that a government be formed in the next few days and begins to implement plans to insure that our people have food and do not die of starvation."

Zimbabwe industries are operating at about 10 percent of capacity, and the food and manufacturing industry will not be able to deliver sufficient food supplies to markets.

Tsvangirai signed a power sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe on September 15 but the two have not yet agreed on the distribution of Cabinet posts.

Earlier this week, Mugabe told the press that only four posts were still to be agreed on. But Tsvangirai said in response, "I think to minimize the remaining issues to only four issues, it is to underplay the whole process. The issue is that the negotiation must be concluded I think the matter will be solved once all the principals are back in the country."

Mugabe has been in the United States for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. He is expected back in the country after Saturday.

Zimbabwe has been facing a collapsing economy for nearly a decade, and is plagued with high unemployment, food shortages and at least 80 percent of the population living below the poverty line.

This has been accompanied by dizzying levels of inflation -- now officially at 11.2 million percent, the highest in the world.


Once an exporter of food, Zimbabwe has been a net importer of food since 2000, when Mugabe's government embarked on a controversial and violent land reform program that displaced some experienced commercial farmers, most of them of European origin.

Tsvangirai said he has consulted with food security experts and was told the country needs to import 800,000 tons of maize (corn) to avoid starvation until the next harvest in April.

All About ZimbabweRobert MugabeMorgan Tsvangirai

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print