Machingura HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Sporadic acts of violence in Zimbabwe in the past few months
threaten to derail efforts to woo investors and rebuild a united
The country witnessed post-election violence in
August 2018, which resulted in the death of six people, injury
of at least 35 people and widespread damage of property after
opposition MDC Alliance supporters went on the streets and
unleashed an orgy of violence in protest against the supposed
delay in announcement of national presidential election results.
Emmerson Mnangagwa narrowly won the presidential election,
beating his main rival and leader of the MDC Alliance Nelson
Chamisa who together with his party, continues to refuse to
accept Mnangagwa’s victory.
Mnangagwa set up a seven-member Commission of Inquiry chaired
by former South African President Kgalema Motlanthe to
investigate the violence and it presented its report to him last
Mnangagwa released the report’s findings and recommendations
to the public in December last year and it was noted in the
report that the violent demonstrations were pre-planned and well
orchestrated by the MDC Alliance.
The demonstrations were also not sanctioned by the police.
The report noted that Zimbabwe’s military used
disproportionate force in quelling the post-election violence,
noting that the death of the six people and injury of 35 people
in the violence "arose from the actions of the military and
The Commission also found that fake, fabricated and biased
news on social media contributed to the violence.
The report recommended compensation to all the affected
victims and dependents and urgent availing of medical support to
all the injured, as well as dialogue among political parties to
foster unity and move the country forward.
While the nation was still waiting for implementation of the
inquiry recommendations, another episode of violence occurred in
the country last week, this time starting as a mass stay away
called by main labor body against high fuel prices but later
turning violent, resulting in the death of yet another three
people and massive destruction of property.
Yet again, the government put the blame on the MDC Alliance
which it accuses of trying to unseat the government of Mnangagwa
or force its way into a coalition government.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said the MDC
Alliance should stop claiming that the orgy of violence it
unleashed last week is related to the fuel price review, and
should expect to be held fully accountable for loss of life,
injuries and damage of property stemming from its illegal
"It is a false narrative to suggest a causal link between the
fuel price review and the violence unleashed in the streets by
the MDC and its allies.
"For over a month-and-a half, the MDC leadership has been
consistently pushing out the message that they will use violent
street action to overturn the results of the ballot, or failing
that, to force a government of national unity.
"This in itself puts paid to any reading that links the fuel
price review to the violence," Charamba said.
Mnangagwa announced the hiking of fuel prices by more than
100 percent mid January to try and address shortages of the
commodity in the country.
Police have since arrested at least 700 people, including
activist pastor Evan Mawarire for the violent protests. Several
MDC Alliance officials have also been arrested.
As life is slowly returning to normal in the country despite
a shutdown of the social media by the government, threats are
emerging of another round of violent protests planned by the MDC
Alliance this week .
Home Affairs minister Cain Mathema says the government is
ready to deal with any unlawful demonstrations and on Monday
urged Zimbabweans to go about their normal businesses
"As the Ministry of Home Affairs, we want to reassure the
public that we will not hesitate to enforce the law today,
tomorrow, or in the next 100 years.
"We want to make sure that every Zimbabwean enjoys the peace
and freedom we have in the country because Zimbabwe belongs to
all Zimbabweans," Mathema said.
In the meantime, Mnangagwa, who was on a four-nation tour of
Eastern Europe since Jan. 14, on Sunday cancelled his scheduled
trip to Davos, Switzerland from Jan. 22 - 25 and will return
home to deal with rising tensions back home.
Zimbabwe will now be represented by finance minister Mthuli
Ncube at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
"In light of the economic situation, I will be returning home
after a highly productive week of bilateral trade and investment
"The first priority is to get Zimbabwe calm, stable and
working again," he said on Twitter.
The violence has not only cost many people jobs but sends
wrong signals to potential investors and has dented the
country’s image, according to industry minister Mangaliso Ndlovu.
"We have a burden of rebranding our country and positioning
it where it was.
"Hundreds of people have lost their jobs due to destruction
of business buildings.
"I am disappointed that Bulawayo (second largest city) was
the worst hit by the violent demonstrations. Investors who have
plans to bring business in Bulawayo might lose interest now
because of hooligans," he said.
Hotels in the country have also felt the pinch of the
protests, saying apart from experiencing losses due to
cancellation of bookings, business may remain low in the near
future due to security concerns.
"There is still a lot of uncertainty.
"Safety and security is a key consideration or travelers and
organizations just cancel or postpone an activity if they are
not sure that they are secure," said Hospitality Association of
Zimbabwe vice-chairperson Clive Chinwada.
Zimbabwe court to rule on
activist pastor Evan Mawarire bail application
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwe’s High Court on Friday reserved to
Tuesday next week a ruling on the bail application by activist
pastor Evan Mawarire.
Mawarire is among hundreds of protesters arrested last week
after violent protests broke out in the country.
His bail application was denied at the Harare magistrates
courts last week, prompting him to approach the High Court for
He is detained at Chikurubi Maximum Prison in the capital.
Mawarire, leader of the #This Flag, once led a national
shutdown in 2016.
He is being charged with subverting the Zimbabwe government
and inciting public violence after he recorded a video which
went viral on social media, calling on Zimbabweans to stay at
home during the three-day protest against fuel price increases.
Zambian airline suspends
flights to Zimbabwe
LUSAKA Zambia (Xinhua) --
A Zambian airline on Wednesday announced that it will suspend
flights between the capitals of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Proflight Zambia said the suspension will begin on Jan. 29,
2019 and it expects to resume flights from March 1, 2019.
"We regret to announce that due to the current situation in
Zimbabwe and ongoing challenges with the repatriation of funds
from Zimbabwe, we are temporarily suspending our Lusaka/Harare
route," said Philip Lemba, the airline’s director of government
and industry affairs, in a statement.
Lemba added that the airline will refund all passengers for
tickets purchased for travel during this period.
Violence recently broke out in Zimbabwe during protests
against an increase in fuel prices, resulting in looting and
Proflight in July last year launched the route from the
Zambian capital Lusaka to the Zimbabwean capital Harare.
Zimbabwe public sector
workers threaten to go on strike after expiry of notice
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwe public sector workers on Wednesday
announced their intention to strike if government fails to
address their demand for a salary hike by Friday this week.
The umbrella body of the civil servants, the Apex Council, on
Jan. 8 gave notice to go on an industrial action and the 14-day
notice will expire on Jan. 28.
Apex Council secretary David Dzatsunga told reporters that
the offer from government so far fell short of their demands.
"On the expiry of the notice period on Friday, the Apex
Council will not be liable for whatever happens thereafter,"
Dzatsunga also raised concern at the alleged victimization of
teachers in rural areas by some political party activists, and
urged the government to urgently address the matter.
"We note with concern the victimization of government workers
by some non-government parties and actors.
"Government should ensure that issues of terms and conditions
be left to the government and its employees," he said.
Addressing the same press conference, Secretary-General of
the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe Raymond Majongwe
alleged that ruling ZANU-PF activists were involved in the
victimization of the teachers.
"ZANU-PF party activists are visiting schools in rural areas
and getting names of teachers and log-in sheets.
"They have set up bases at some schools to see which teacher
is there and not and who is teaching and not.
"We say no to victimization of teachers by anybody in our
schools," Majongwe said.
Zimbabwe’s civil servants have been calling for wage
increases following a sharp rise in the cost of living, which
has been exacerbated by the recent massive hike in fuel prices.
The workers want the lowest paid worker to earn a monthly
salary of 1,733 dollars, up from the current 414 dollars.
The threat of strike by the government employees came after
junior doctors at government hospitals went on a month-long
strike in December last year to press for salaries in U.S.
Government said it could not afford to pay the salaries in
Zimbabweans last week also took to the streets to demonstrate
against the increase in fuel prices and the general economic
The violent protests resulted in the death of three people,
looting of shops and widespread destruction of property.
South African president
calls for lifting Zimbabwe sanctions
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on
Tuesday called for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe.
Ramaphosa was speaking at an International Labor Organization
meeting in Switzerland Tuesday morning ahead of the World
Economic Forum (WEF).
"Zimbabwe has emerged from a very difficult political
situation and they held recent elections which went well.
"But they still have sanctions that many countries around the
world have imposed on them.
"We are some of those who have been calling on the world to
relax the sanctions or lift the sanctions altogether so that
Zimbabwe can begin to operate in an economic manner with the
capabilities that it has," the president was quoted as saying by
the state broadcaster ZBC.
He noted that Zimbabwe is facing economic challenges which
the world can assist in addressing if the sanctions are lifted.
Ramaphosa says while South Africa is in negotiations with the
Zimbabwe government to find solutions to its challenges, the
world must help the situation by lifting sanctions placed on the
"The world that has imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe would
even be more helpful if those sanctions were to be lifted
because then Zimbabwe’s economy can begin to recover..." he
The South African president said it is no longer necessary to
have sanctions against Zimbabwe as the country has embarked on a
path of democracy and real recovery.
Ramaphosa spoke a few hours after Zimbabwean President
Emmerson Mnangagwa arrived back home after cutting short his
foreign trip during which he was to attend the WEF in Davos so
that he could attend to challenges at home following last week’s
violent protests against high fuel prices.
South Africa ruling
African National Congress party
voices concern about situation in Zimbabwe
JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua)
-- South Africa’s ruling party African
National Congress (ANC) on Tuesday expressed concern about the
situation in Zimbabwe.
"We are concerned about what is happening in Zimbabwe as it
is our neighbor ...
"It has a direct impact on the economy of South Africa," said
Lindiwe Zulu, ANC’s chairperson of the subcommittee on
international relation, said in a press briefing.
"It has an impact on South African business operating in
Zimbabwe when they are not paid for the services they would have
rendered," said Zulu.
"We have many Zimbabweans living in South Africa. ANC has
been engaging Zimbabwe’s ruling party Zanu P.F and we will
continue to do so.
"The role of South Africa is not to take over processes but
contribute towards creating peace and stability," Zulu said.
She called on Western countries to remove sanctions against
Last week, violence broke out in Zimbabwe during protests
against an increase in fuel prices, resulting in lootings and
The ANC said they have been informed that the situation has
improved and will continue to monitor it.
Emmerson Mnangagwa calls
for national dialogue in wake of violent protests
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa on
Tuesday called for national dialogue to set things right
following disturbances that rocked the country last week
following the recent hiking of fuel prices.
Mnangagwa, who arrived back home from a overseas tour after
abandoning a scheduled trip to Switzerland for the World
Economic Forum, said all political parties, religious and civil
leaders should set aside their differences and work for the good
of the country.
"What unites us is stronger than what could ever divide us.
"Let’s begin a national dialogue.
"Let’s put the economy first.
"Let’s put the people first," he wrote on his Facebook page.
He said when he announced measures to stabilize the country’s
crucial fuel supply, he was aware that the measures may not be
However, it was the right thing to do.
"What followed was regrettable and tragic.
"Everyone has the right to protest, but this was not a
peaceful protest," he said.
"Likewise, violence or misconduct by our security forces is
unacceptable and a betrayal of the new Zimbabwe.
"Chaos and insubordination will not be tolerated.
"Misconduct will be investigated," he added.
Members of the public have accused soldiers and the police of
assaulting innocent civilians in the wake of the disturbances
that rocked major towns and cities and left at least three
people dead, property destroyed and shops looted.
Shops re-open in Harare
following violent protests in response to rising fuel prices
by Tichaona Chifamba HARARE Zimbabwe
(Xinhua) -- Virtually all shops
re-opened Monday after the violence that flared in Harare and
other parts of the country when Zimbabweans protested against
fuel price increases announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa
There had been calls on social media and other channels for
people to stay home again for the first three days of the
working week, prompting many people to first assess the
situation before taking trips to work.
Both vehicular and human traffic remained thin on the
streets, but calm prevailed as residents went about with their
Schools also re-opened but some parents had also opted to
play it safe and see how the day went before sending their
children to school.
Official figures put the number of people who died in the
violent demonstrations to three - including a policeman - but
independent sources say that at least 12 people died mainly as a
result of gunshot wounds in running battles between
demonstrators and security agencies.
Many shops were damaged and looted, motor vehicles set on
fire during the demonstrations, while the police and the
military were accused of indiscriminately assaulting civilians
where they allegedly targeted able-bodied men.
Soldiers were still reportedly patrolling some residential
suburbs on Monday ostensibly looking for alleged looters.
The fuel price increases of around 140 percent had led
private operators of the small commuter omnibuses to drastically
increase fares, further burdening workers who are reeling from
other price increases on basic commodities.
In response, the government mobilized conventional buses to
ferry passengers around the country at subsided fares as part of
long-term measures to revamp public transport system in the
The state-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company is
coordinating the new transport system after it was tasked to
manage a fleet of buses involving other private operators.
Meanwhile, Mnangagwa was due to arrive back home any time
after he cancelled his trip to Davos, Switzerland, to return
home from a tour of Eastern Europe and deal with the economic
He was due to travel to Davos for the World Economic Forum
Jan. 22 - 25 after visiting Russia, Belarus, Azerbaijan and
Kazakhstan but Zimbabwe will now be represented at the forum by
finance minister Mthuli Ncube.
Top news items in major
Zimbabwean media outlets
HARARE Zimbabwe (Xinhua) --
The following are the news highlights in
Zimbabwe’s major media outlets on Monday.
• Security forces are "firmly on the ground" to ensure
Zimbabweans go about their normal business undisturbed
following threats of another round of violent protests by
MDC-Alliance and its affiliates, the Zimbabwe government has
said. (The Herald)
• The Zimbabwe government has mobilized more than 140 buses
that will carry passengers for 1 U.S. dollars per trip in and
around Harare starting today as part of long-term interventions
to modernize the mass public transport system in Zimbabwe. (The
• The Zimbabwe government will find ways to assist
businesses restock following widespread looting and
destruction of shops during last week’s
MDC-Alliance-instigated violent protests, Industry and
Commerce Minister Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu has said.
• Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has cancelled his
planned trip to the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s annual
conference in Davos, Switzerland, following advice from his
inner circle, who warned that foreign media were plotting to
doorstep and embarrass him over government’s brutal crackdown on
protesters back home. (Newsday)
Zimbabwe President cancels Davos to deal with Harare
Opposition figure Tendai Biti claiming President Emmerson
is personally to blame for alleged human rights abuse across