Harare – Zimbabwe is on the brink of implosion, and the burning of warehouses at Beit Bridge on Friday was just the beginning.
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On Monday morning, sporadic protests broke out in parts of Harare over police roadblocks and spot fines, prompting anti-riot police to fire gunshots and teargas to ward off protesters. Police on the streets of Harare were overwhelmed and called in reinforcements.
Zimbabweans have lost patience with a government that is failing to govern, and are now rising up against food shortages, the ban on importation of basic commodities, cash shortages, and the failure to pay civil servants their June salaries.
What is happening in Zimbabwe has not been seen in the nation’s history – where citizens have taken to the streets regardless of the state ordering the police to deal with disturbances ruthlessly.
Civil-society organisations in Zimbabwe have called for a day of protest on Wednesday against the ban on importation of goods, the failure to pay civil servants, and police roadblocks.
There have been threats of violence against those who defy the call to go to work.
The opposition MDC has urged its supporters to join the protest.
“We are heartened by the fact that civic-society organisations are planning for action on Wednesday. We totally support that endeavour,” party spokesman Obert Gutu told reporters.
“These pop-up demonstrations and protests sprouting up everywhere, which are engulfing our cities and towns, are symptomatic of grave national grievances that remain unresolved.”
On Monday, Bulawayo public transport operators decided that all public transporters would park their vehicles in protest against police brutality on the streets. They have resolved that public transport will not resume until all illegal roadblocks are dismantled.
The rise in social unrest in Zimbabwe could lead to an increased influx of Zimbabweans into South Africa.
When Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite Nkoana-Mashabane was asked on Monday, at a media conference at her department, whether South Africa had a contingency plan to deal with this possibility, she did not answer the question.-iol