Former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell said a day before he left the country that he believed Operation Slash Prices was going to be the final blow for President Robert Mugabe.
The operation saw the government slashing prices of most commodities by more than 50 percent and led to massive looting especially by the police and members of the task force on price monitoring.
The massive looting left almost all supermarket shelves and retail shops empty, and most did not recover until the introduction of multiple currencies in 2009.
“I’m convinced the end is not far off for the Mugabe regime,” Dell said. “Of course, my predecessors and many other observers have all said the same thing, and yet Mugabe is still with us. I think this time could prove different, however, because for the first time the president is under intensifying pressure simultaneously on the economic, political and international fronts.
“In the past, he could always play one of these off against the other, using economic moves to counter political pressure or playing the old colonial/race/imperialist themes to buy himself breathing room regionally and internationally. But he is running out of options and in the swirling gases of the new Zimbabwean constellation that is starting to form, the economic, political and international pressures are concentrating on Mugabe himself.”
The former ambassador said that Mugabe had panicked and was making mistakes, possibly fatal mistakes.
“We need to keep the pressure on in order to keep Mugabe off his game and on his back foot, relying on his own shortcomings to do him in..”
Mugabe, however, survived the onslaught and is still president, five years down the line.