Thursday, 24 January, 2019

Petrol, Diesel Prices Go Up in Zimbabwe As Cash Crunch Grips Nation

Zimbabwe economic crisis Fuel price hike national strike and a new currency Petrol Price more than doubles overnight in Zimbabwe
Jean Garcia | 14 January, 2019, 19:54

Fuel prices in Zimbabwe will more than double on Sunday, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced late on Saturday evening.

An Associated Press journalist saw three military trucks with soldiers headed for Chitungwiza, a large suburb southeast of Harare, the capital. Minister Mutodi also warned the Zimbabweans not engage in the planned #ShutdownZimbabwe protests that have been called by Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, #ThisFlag and other civic organizations.

Residents in Bulawayo said police fired teargas "indiscriminately" along city centre streets and into some residential areas.

The mainstream opposition in Zimbabwe appeared to have been taken by surprise by the disorder.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said it had "received widespread reports of protesters who have sustained gunshot wounds after being shot during the ongoing nationwide protests".

Among the protesters at the Bulawayo demonstration was the celebrated writer Philani Nyoni.

A litre of petrol is now $3,31, up from $1,38 while diesel is now selling for $3,11 per litre up from $1,32 previously set by the regulator, Mnangagwa told reporters at State House on Saturday.

Petrol prices rose from $1.24 a litre to $3.31, with diesel up from $1.36 a litre to $3.11 starting Sunday - one of the highest pump prices in the world.

Police tweeted on Monday that it had "noted with concern that the ongoing protests have turned violent", warning that "anyone caught on the wrong side of the law will face the full wrath thereof".

"Cognisant of the need to prevent generalised price increases for goods and services in the country, with the attendant hardships which that will entail especially to the commuting workforce, the government has chose to grant a rebate to all registered business entities in manufacturing, mining, commerce, agriculture and transport sectors", he said.

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The government meanwhile accused the strike organisers of pushing a political "regime change" agenda and of "subversive political activities".

The finance minister this week said the prices were lower than other countries in the region and some foreigners were taking advantage buying fuel in bulk in Zimbabwe for resale in neighbouring countries.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a stalwart of the ruling Zanu-PF party who took over on Mugabe's resignation and won contested elections in July, has been unable to bring about the economic turnaround he promised voters and investors.

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.

ZCTU called upon Zimbabweans to stay away from their workplaces, businesses and schools from Monday to Wednesday, as a way of protesting "the general astronomical price increases since previous year against stagnant salaries".

Doctors in state hospital went on a 40-day strike beginning early December demanding salaries in U.S. dollars and improved work conditions.

The government's tactics "will serve to worsen the current crisis in the country while further alienating the country from the global community", it said.

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

The announcement comes ahead of Mnangagwa's tour of Eastern Europe and Switzerland to strengthen bilateral and economic ties.

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