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Fuel price hike could end Mnangagwa reign

by Methusi Ncube
29 May 2019 at 22:13hrs | Views
Following a wave of price increases for basic commodities by up to 200 percent in recent days, analysts have said an increase in the price of fuel could be the catalyst for a mass uprising that could unseat Emmerson Mnangagwa's government.

Between Friday last week and today Thursday, basics have spiraled out of the reach of most Zimbabweans.
Two pieces of beef and a plate of rice that used to cost about RTGS$6 shot up to about RTGS$14 at some retail outlets in Bulawayo. A 2kg packet of sugar that was abt RTGS$4 skyrocketed to about RTGS$10 and the commodity appears to be in short supply.

On Tuesday, some filling stations in Harare are said to have briefly hiked the price of petrol to RTGS$7 per litre from RTGS$4,97.

The government which seems to be on tenterhooks following growing threats of an uprising promptly reacted by increasing police visibility around the country and issuing statements that Zera, the regulating authority, had not approved the increase. It threatened to deal with fuel service stations that increased the price.

Analysts told that the swift reaction showed that government was aware that a fuel price increase would lead to an uprising.

"We got unconfirmed reports of mini riots in parts of Harare after news spread on social media that the price of fuel had gone up. The palpable anger of citizens on social media and on the streets really got government jittery. Our government is known for having a thick skin and appearing not to care what happens in the country but they moved decisively on this one.

"To me it shows they know the disaster that would follow if they dare to let the price go up. Fuel is one of the biggest drivers of commodity prices and a fresh wave of price hikes would follow if it's price is adjusted upwards," said a lecturer at a State university, who cannot be named for professional reason.

A businessman in the Bulawayo city centre, Richard Moyo said a spontaneous shutdown of the country that would force Mnangagwa to resign would follow a fuel price hike.

"As it is Zimbabweans last had a salary increase when Mugabe was in power in 2017 when the RTGS$ was trading at par with the US Dollar.

Since then prices of commodities have risen almost tenfold and the RTGS$ is trading at around 1:7 with the greenback.

"The slightest increase in the price of fuel would have a domino effect on prices that would truly leave most citizens destitute. Hungry people would have no choice but to take to the street and remove the failed government," said Moyo.

A number of people noted that civil servants, before Mnangagwa came to power used to earn about US$400 every month but the money has since been eroded to about US$50.

They said an increase in fuel price would further erode their income to virtually nothing.
Opposition MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa recently said high prices would spell the end of the ZanuPF government.

Source - Byo24News