Shock in Zim as fuel price dou­bles


The Citizen (Gauteng) - - WORLD -

Gov­ern­ment says prices are lower than else­where in re­gion.


Zim­bab­weans re­acted with out­rage yes­ter­day to a sharp rise in the price of fuel an­nounced by Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa in a move to im­prove sup­plies as the coun­try strug­gles with its worst short­age in a decade.

Zim­babwe’s econ­omy has been in de­cline for more than a decade, with cash short­ages, high un­em­ploy­ment and re­cently a scarcity of ba­sic sta­ples, such as bread and cook­ing oil.

In a tele­vised ad­dress on Satur­day, Mnan­gagwa said prices of petrol and diesel would more than dou­ble to tackle a short­fall caused by in­creased de­mand and “ram­pant” il­le­gal trad­ing.

The main labour al­liance Zim­babwe Con­gress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) said the gov­ern­ment had demon­strated a lack of em­pa­thy for the al­ready over­bur­dened poor with the more than 100% hike. “The work­ers’ gov­ern­ment has of­fi­cially de­clared its anti-worker, anti-poor and anti-peo­ple ide­o­log­i­cal po­si­tion by in­creas­ing fuel prices. Work­ers’ salaries have been re­duced to noth­ing and our suf­fer­ing el­e­vated,” it said.

Op­po­si­tion Move­ment for Demo­cratic Change leader Nel­son Chamisa said: “We have a na­tional cri­sis which is de­scend­ing into a hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis.

“We be­lieve this cri­sis re­quires all hands on the deck. We will lead and stand ready to play a key role in find­ing a last­ing so­lu­tion.”

Evan Mawarire, a cleric and ac­tivist who led anti-gov­ern­ment protests in 2016 that shut down ma­jor cities, said: “You have cor­nered us and you leave us no choice.

“It’s time to mo­bilise ev­ery per­son who truly loves Zim­babwe.”

After his sec­ond night in a petrol queue in Avon­dale sub­urb, mo­torist Ed­more Phiri said: “Those in gov­ern­ment may not ad­mit it, but they know in their hearts they have failed. “You can’t sleep in cars for days for a com­mod­ity that should be read­ily avail­able.”

Mnan­gagwa said from mid­night Satur­day petrol prices would rise from $1.24 (R17) a litre to $3.31 and diesel from $1.36 a litre to $3.11.

The gov­ern­ment said the prices were lower than in other coun­tries in the re­gion. The pres­i­dent warned the gov­ern­ment would deal harshly with “el­e­ments bent on tak­ing ad­van­tage of the cur­rent fuel short­ages to cause un­rest”. –

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