Analysts Speak on Zimbabwe Shutdown
THE following are comments and views expressed by analysts in the wake of a massive work stoppage in Zimbabwe yesterday.
“WE must now acknowledge that we have a crisis and we must not disguise this as challenges. Unrest and uncertainty will lead to more destruction. We must not live in denial mode; we are creating a lot of uncertainty and we will not be able to achieve the macro-economic targets that have had been set for this year. Those targets, such as gross domestic product growth, were made on the assumption of a stable environment. We need to urgently come to the table and discuss whatever problems we have because we are at a standstill. It is all about confidence and that confidence is being eroded,” economist Kingstone Kanyile.
“THE people of Zimbabwe are expressing their anger towards the failure by the government to fulfil its constitutional mandate as enshrined in the Constitution to protect citizens from poverty and its consequences. I think the message is clear as evidenced by the majority’s boycott of work and the literally low activity in Harare CBD and other towns. It’s important to highlight that it has happened, despite the State’s strong repressive apparatus. To me it’s hugely a success because the world has felt it as evidenced by the coverage on various international media channels,” social commentator, George Makoni.
“THE stay-away has been a success, having people plan it on their own simply through the social media and without being mobilised by any political party or any organisation. Today will make history because it clearly shows that the masses have taken over and they have spoken and managed to mobilise themselves. This is just the victory for the masses. It is not political, but simply the masses trying to address issues that concern them, whether one is MDC-T, ZANU-PF, ZPF or any other party, they have won. It is a peaceful stay-away; violence will only erupt if the police or army reacts in a way that will provoke the masses,” political commentator, Alexander Rusero.
“I THINK we are heading for regime change because of two reasons; firstly there is a crisis that has prolonged and reached calamitous levels. The crisis has managed to affect all corners; employers and employees alike, landlords and tenants and landlords alike, capitalists and communists alike. More importantly, government has no solution for the crisis. Secondly, we have a citizenry that is getting bold to challenge those in power by day. The fear seems to have disappeared and people in Zimbabwe seem prepared to face the consequences of protesting. Lastly, there is no consensus within the ruling party, never mind the coming in to existence of Zim People First. A combination of these factors tells me that we are headed for a regime change. It might not necessarily be with this stay away, but certainly in the near future as the crisis is expected to worsen,” political analyst, Ricky Mukonza.
“IT is a day’s production that has been lost, Our gross domestic product is about US$14 billion. If we divide that by the 365 days of the year less weekends that is 92 days (Sunday and Saturday) the days will be 269. It will give you a rough estimate of about US$52 million worth of production lost…The economy cannot afford any further losses. Government should reach out to other political players to ensure that the political situation is stable. Once it is stable this economic meltdown can be addressed,” former president of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and economist Trust Chikohora.
“THE stay-away has been very successful, noble and genuine. Citizens have sent a clear message that they are fed up and tired of misrule, mismanagement and corruption. The silence in town is a very loud message that our people are not happy with what is happening as they have shown that they are unhappy with high unemployment, nonpayment of salaries, shortage of cash in the banks and the total collapse of the economy,” MDC-T Youth Assembly spokesperson Brian Dube.
Meanwhile, government has ruled out the possibility of a state of emergency in the wake of simmering tensions across the country.
Presidential spokesperson, George Charamba, on Tuesday laughed off fears that government might declare a state of emergency, describing the notion as ridiculous.
“Don’t be crazy. How many townships have been affected by the isolated incidences? We cannot declare a state of emergency just because of what has happened in Ruwa and Epworth where people have put a few small stones on the road,” said Charamba.
Government has been caught between the proverbial rock and hard place owing to an imploding economy, characterised by job losses, cash shortages and food insecurity, among a raft of other challenges.
Yesterday, city centres and towns were deserted as people heeded calls from civil society to shut them down.
Last week, riots broke out in Beitbridge with residents torching a warehouse in the border town while protesting against an import ban on a range of products.
On Tuesday, teachers downed their chalks to press government to pay them their June salaries on time.
There are ominous signs that the worst is still to come, hence fears that government might respond by declaring a state of emergency.
A government may declare a state of emergency by suspending and/or change some functions of the Executive, the legislature and/or the judiciary during a natural or human-made disaster, civil unrest, or war.
Under international law, rights and freedoms may be suspended during a state of emergency.
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