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​BY STAFF REPORTER
A buoyant President Robert Mugabe returned home this week from a sojourn at the United Nations in New York and was welcomed by news of price hikes of basic commodities and fuel shortages that triggered panic buying.  
Addressing thousands of Zanu PF supporters who thronged Harare International Airport, Mugabe issued a stern warning to businesses unilaterally and unjustifiably hiking prices of basic goods such as cooking oil and sugar, while fuel was scare at most service stations.
Mugabe begged Zimbabweans to remain calm in the wake of reports shortages reminiscent of the 2008 crisis were back to haunt the populace. The nonagenarian slammed businesses that were bent on derailing economic gains through unexplained price increases and profiteering.
He appealed to his supporters not to worry as government would immediately resolve wanton price increases of basic commodities.
Mugabe said there was collusion among his detractors to destabilise the economy in a bid to effect regime change in the wake of the 2018 elections.
 "There are people who want things to be bad in the country so that the people will demonstrate against us. The people are, however now aware of such moves and can no longer be swayed easily. I am back and will look into the matter. Be it fuel or cooking oil shortages, that is not a problem we are unable to address," said Mugabe.
He urged Zimbabweans to remain united and preserve peace ahead of next year's polls.
Mugabe's homecoming coincided with a sudden price hike of basic foods and fuel.
A snap survey by this paper in central Harare revealed that most retail shops had increased prices of goods by over 100 percent.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers president, Denford Mutashu expressed disappointment over the basic commodities price jump in the country.
Speaking at the association's inaugural Masvingo retail awards ceremony held last Friday, Mutashu attributed the problem to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's delay in releasing funds for the purchase of raw materials hence manufacturers were exchanging foreign currency on the black market resulting in the artificial price increases.
The RBZ said it had increased foreign currency allocations for fuel per week to US$10 million to curtail threats of shortages for the commodity. The panic buying which has characterised consumers this week has seen motorists queuing at service stations with some filling up drums and containers, a situation which is being fuelled by fake social media messages spreading falsehoods of an impending shortage of fuel and basic commodities. TOP NEWS

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