Out­rage as Zim fuel prices rise

The Herald (South Africa) - - Front Page - Ray Ndlovu

Zim­bab­weans re­acted with out­rage on Sun­day 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 petrol short­ages 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 like bread and cook­ing oil.

Speak­ing 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 by in­tro­duc­ing the 100%-plus hike.

“The 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 to an­other level,” it said.

Nel­son Chamisa, leader of the op­po­si­tion Move­ment for Demo­cratic Change (MDC), 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, said: “You have cor­nered us and you leave us no choice. It’s time to mo­bilise ev­ery per­son who truly loves Zim­babwe.”

Mnan­gagwa also an­nounced a pack­age of mea­sures to help state work­ers after strikes by doc­tors and teach­ers over poor pay.

He said that from mid­night on Satur­day, petrol prices would rise to $3.31 a litre (R46/l) from $1.24/l (R17/l) and diesel to $3.11/l (R43/l) from $1.36/l (R19/l). –

Pic­ture: REUTERS

LONG WAIT: Mo­torists queue to buy petrol in Harare, Zim­babwe, at the week­end

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