2 March 2017

Zimbabwe: Protesters Vow to Shut Zimbabwe Down

Photo: Lawrence Thodhlana
Harare streets empty as citizens stay away in protest in 2016 (file photo).

Harare — ZIMBABWE'S impoverished civil servants will join the social movement in a massive industrial action set to bring the country into a standstill on Monday. The civil servants are protesting non-payment of salaries while the civil society organiations are aggrieved by the worsening social and economic meltdown blamed on the beleaguered administration of President Robert Mugabe and ZANU (PF). Companies are shutting daily as a result of the economic meltdown, which has seen government considering paying civil servants with residential stands. On the other hand,

On the other hand, government has embarked on a crackdown against critics of the administration as elections scheduled for 2018 approach. Corruption is rampant, with revenue from diamonds, valued $15 billion (about R240 billion), unaccounted for in the state coffers, a development leaving disillusioned Zimbabweans taking to the streets. National Vendors' Union of Zimbabwe leader, Sten Zvorwadza, one of the organizers of the mass action, welcomed the response by Zimbabweans to the call to protest. "It is commendable to see groups of people coming together as citizens to demand their rights as it is mandated by the Constitution. It is a healthy culture that should be encouraged and exercised as a constitutional right without harassment or being

"It is commendable to see groups of people coming together as citizens to demand their rights as it is mandated by the Constitution. It is a healthy culture that should be encouraged and exercised as a constitutional right without harassment or being brutalised by the enforcement agents," said Zvorwadza. Last year, police, accused of partisanship, reacted brutally to protests. Scores were arrested and are still under trial. A defiant Promise Mkwananzi of the pressure group Tajamuka/Sesjikile, said a national shutdown was long overdue. He accused Mugabe of spending lavishly in a birthday fete recently yet civil servants had not been paid. "Mugabe must go as a matter of urgency and national security," Mkwananzi said. The mass action comes as doctors are on strike over poor remuneration.

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