Shock in Zim as fuel price doubles
AUTHORITIES: WARN AGAINST STOKING UNREST OVER IT
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”. –