Zimbabweans stage nationwide boycott as economic woes mount


According to a video posted by Mawarire on social media platforms, the major grievances against government include its inability to arrest the economic decline and end the cash crisis, its decision to restrict imports of basic goods which he said affected thousands who survive on trading imported foodstuffs, as well as Mugabe’s failure to act on corruption by public officials.

“We are shutting down Zimbabwe. Every citizen, we are not going to work, children are not going to school. Get off the roads and stay home. Do not be intimidated,” Mawarire says in the video.

“We are saying no to the bond notes, we are saying no to the import ban. We have no industries to protect. We are saying no to corruption by government ministers. We all know they are looting and mismanaging funds. We are saying no to government wasting resources. We are saying no to police harassing us on the roads. We are saying no to silence on the missing $15 billion (diamond revenue).”

In central Harare, the normally bustling streets were deserted from last night. Today, many across the country heeded the call, with several businesses – including banks – and schools remaining closed. Traffic was light but major supermarkets were trading. The majority of public transport operators withdrew their buses from the roads.

Eyewitness reports from the second capital, Bulawayo, painted a similar picture.

Although the boycott was largely peaceful, amid heavy police presence in the restive townships, there were clashes in the opposition hotbed of Mufakose on the western fringes of the capital. Police fired teargas to disperse youths who were burning tyres and using boulders to block traffic.

Other violent scenes were reported in Bulawayo suburbs of Luveve and Makokoba.

Today’s broader boycott follows a strike by state doctors, nurses and teachers, which started yesterday in protest against the government’s failure to pay their salaries for June.

The government, which is struggling to manage the budget with diminishing tax revenues, only managed to pay salaries for the security services – army, police and prisons – last month, while rescheduling pay dates for the rest of the civil service to between July 7 and 14.

Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, in Europe to promote investment into Zimbabwe and to seek lines of credit, has painted a bleak picture of the country’s finances, telling Radio France International: “Right now we literally have nothing.”

On July 1, violent protests also broke out at the Beitbridge border post, the country’s busiest and a gateway to its largest trading partner South Africa, as informal traders demonstrated against the imposition of import restrictions on products ranging from yoghurt, bottled water, coffee creamers, salad cream, body lotions and peanut butter to fertilizers, plastic pipes and synthetic hair.- The Source


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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