Zimbabwe's Mugabe, 92, appeals for calm amid economic crisis

AP News
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Posted: Dec 06, 2016 10:16 AM
Zimbabwe's Mugabe, 92, appeals for calm amid economic crisis

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has appealed for calm as his government battles to contain a debilitating economic crisis.

The 92-year-old president appeared frail but jovial, struggling with his lines a bit as he delivered a 30-minute State of the Nation address on Tuesday.

He praised the country's security forces for maintaining order, although critics accuse them of using violence to stifle dissent.

This once prosperous but now economically struggling southern African country is battling cash shortages, high unemployment and company closures.

A new local currency, introduced last week, has failed to end cash shortages, with many people still sleeping outside banks to access their money. The cash crunch has meant that Mugabe's government has failed to pay its workers on time since June.

Mugabe did not mention these issues in his speech, resulting in murmurs of protest from opposition members of parliament.

He chuckled when one opposition representative asked him to make sure he was reading the correct speech. This followed last year's embarrassing incident when for his State of the Nation speech Mugabe read the same speech he had delivered just a few weeks before.