Zimbabwe economic crisis: Fuel price hike, national strike and a new currency

Postado Janeiro 14, 2019

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.

This past weekend, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a threefold increase in the price of fuel, a scarce commodity, to $3,11 a litre (R43,01) for diesel and $3,31 petrol (R45,9).

"We have suffered enough", author Philani Nyoni who was part of the protest in Bulawayo.

These, he said, could begin with transport operators for whom the fuel price increase is being felt immediately.

Residents in Epworth, a poor suburb east of the capital Harare, on Monday woke up to find boulders blocking roads leading to the city centre.

"It's tense since early morning", Nhamo Tembo, an Epworth resident said.

"We want Mnangagwa to know our displeasure in his failure", said another Bulawayo protester, Mthandazo Moyo, 22.

After years of worldwide isolation, Zimbabwe's economy has been in decline for more than a decade with cash shortages, high unemployment and a recent scarcity of basic staples like bread and cooking oil.

"Guests of government by way of foreign missions, other registered foreign bodies and tourists will fuel and refuel at designated points at the price of 1.24 USA dollars per litre for diesel and 1.32 US dollars per litre for petrol upon production of proper identification documents", Mnangagwa said.

With prices skyrocketing and fuel shortages halting economic activity, Mnangagwa on Saturday night raised the price of fuel from $1.30 to almost $3.30, which puts the price of fuel in terms of the parallel market rate at about $1 per litre.

ZCTU said the government had demonstrated a lack of empathy for the already-overburdened poor.

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa challenged the results of the poll in court but lost with the Constitutional Court citing insufficient evidence of voter fraud.

Mnangagwa, who took over from Mugabe and won a disputed election in July, also announced a package of measures to help state workers after strikes by doctors and teachers over poor pay.

Mnangagwa's announcement of a 150% increase in fuel prices was greeted with shock in Zimbabwe where unemployment stands at over 80%.

Civil servants are threatening to go on strike over low pay amid disgruntlements over the same issue by doctors, who downed tools for 40 days, and also demanding improved working conditions.

Zimbabwe's powerful labour-union confederation called for a national strike starting at midnight after the government more than doubled fuel prices to among the highest in the world.

He warned government would come down hard on "elements bent on taking advantage of the current fuel shortages to cause and sponsor unrest and instability in the country".

Mnangagwa, who took over from long-time ruler Robert Mugabe, has pledged to revive the country's moribund economy and end its worldwide isolation.