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'Fuel price hike did not spark Zimbabwe rebellion'

by Staff reporter
25 Jan 2019 at 00:09hrs | Views
Finance and Economic Development minister Mthuli Ncube has claimed what really triggered the rebellion in the streets last week was not the hike in fuel price, saying the demonstrations were pre-planned.

The protests started after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a 150 percent increase in fuel prices. The Zimbabwean authorities reacted to the protests by deploying the military and by cutting off Internet access.

In the cities of Harare and Bulawayo, the security forces opened fire on protesters, shooting 68 and killing at least eight. There were at least 100 reported cases of assaults with sharp objects and baton sticks by State security forces.

Ncube stold the media in Davos: "There was already swell and this was one of the issues that was added on. But coming to fuel in specific is that fuel was already trading at a higher price in other quarters.

"There is a parallel market that had emerged and that's where fuel was available as well. The price that was announced is not too far away from what was already out there."

Asked why government is claiming Zimbabwe is open for business when people are being harassed for voicing out their concerns, Ncube said demonstrations on their own are proof that there is now self-governance in Zimbabwe unlike in the toppled Robert Mugabe era.

"What you saw in the streets is a clear sign the democratic space has been opened. This couldn't happen in the past but it's happening now, meaning President Mnangagwa is serious about opening up the democratic space.

"This is about progress, about the future and reforms. Reforms are never easy so we call for everyone to work together. The president has also called for dialogue so that we can face these challenges together.

It is not normal for a country not to have its own currency and it's not normal for this type of decay to be allowed we need to change course."

The Finance minister went on to justify the Internet shutdown even after the High Court had ruled that it was unlawful. On January 15, authorities blocked the Internet.

Some services were briefly restored on January 16, but by January 18, the Internet was once again inaccessible and the block was extended to include email communication.

Source - dailynews