Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Zimbabwe Faces Fresh Protests Amid Collapsing Economy

Zimbabwe Faces Fresh Protests Amid Collapsing Economy

Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced an sharp increase in fuel prices in a measure to improve supplies as the country struggles with its worst petrol shortages in a decade.

They came on the first day of a three-day general strike called by unions, amid an intensifying economic crisis.

Shops closed in downtown Harare as riot police patrolled the streets and a military helicopter flew over the capital.

A shopping complex in neighbouring Entumbane was looted with people carrying out crates of food and drinks and bottles of cooking oil while police battled to stop them from entering the shops.

The visits will consolidate and solidify the engagement processes that the President has outlined as the focus of Zimbabwe in the Second Republic while also providing an opportunity to transform the excellent political ties into mutually beneficial economic ties.

Among the protesters at the Bulawayo demonstration was the celebrated writer Philani Nyoni.

In Kazakhstan, Zimbabwe will explore possibilities of trade relations and cooperation in the mining sector as Kazakhstan has a wealth of mineral resources that it has exploited for the benefit of its country while Zimbabwe would like to export citrus fruit, coffee, tea and tobacco to Astana.

Petrol prices rose from $1.24 a litre to $3.31 (2.89 euros), with diesel up from $1.36 a litre to $3.11 starting Sunday - one of the highest pump prices in the world.

Reuters reported on Monday that the drastic 150% overnight rise in Zimbabwe's fuel prices failed on Sunday to ease a nationwide petrol and diesel shortage caused by a lack of hard currency.

Police tweeted on Monday that it had "noted with concern that the ongoing protests have turned violent", warning that "anyone caught on the wrong side of the law will face the full wrath thereof".

Mnangagwa said the government won't allow businesses to trigger a new round of price increases.

Nelson Chamisa, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance, said the party would mobilise workers and party supporters to march against the rising cost of living.

"The government is now aware that we are not happy with their stupid policies like the fuel price increase".

Others chanted opposition slogans and sang songs denouncing Mnangagwa, a former confidant of Mugabe who was elected as president in an election previous year that the opposition said was rigged.

He said the government would crackdown on "elements bent on taking advantage of the current fuel shortages to cause and sponsor unrest and instability in the country".

"We are earning low salaries, an average of $300 (about R4177), and now with the price increases of fuel and basic commodities, we are working just for transport", Mutasa said.

The action comes shortly after junior doctors ended a 40-day strike demanding salaries in United States dollars and better working conditions.

The government's tactics "will serve to worsen the current crisis in the country while further alienating the country from the worldwide community", it said.

Many people directed their anger at President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who took power after Mugabe was forced to resign but has not delivered on promises to revive the economy.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa touched down in Russian Federation today, which is the first leg of his 5 nation trip which will end at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

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