FORMER Vice-President and leader of the opposition Zimbabwe People First (ZimPF), Joice Mujuru, has thrown her weight behind calls for a nationwide stayaway today to protest against a myriad of problems facing the country.
Source: Mujuru rallies behind shutdown – NewsDay Zimbabwe July 6, 2016
BY XOLISANI NCUBE/OBEY MANAYITI
Addressing journalists at her Chisipite home in Harare, Mujuru said President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF government had dismally failed to deliver on their 2013 election promises and should allow citizens to demonstrate without fear of being brutalised by State security agents.
“Instead of repressing and suppressing the popular sentiment among the people manifesting in demonstrations, government has to address the causes of the myriad of problems facing the country,” she said.
“Police should protect the demonstrators. The demonstrators are the people, don’t forget those demonstrators are the government that the police and other security agents should be protecting.”
Several other opposition parties have come out in support of today’s planned work stoppage, which coincides with a civil servants’ strike over unpaid June salaries.
In the past weeks, Zimbabweans from different walks of life have held spontaneous demonstrations, culminating in the violent protests that occurred at Beitbridge Border Post last Friday, where angry cross-border traders burnt down a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority warehouse in protest against a recent ban on the importation of basic commodities to safeguard local manufacturers.
The riots later spread to Harare, where on Monday, police and residents fought running battles, culminating in the arrest of over 90 people.
Mujuru said the decision to ban the importation of basic goods was ill-timed and aimed at enriching a few Zanu PF bigwigs, who had obtained the required import permits.
She said if government was genuine in promoting local industry, it should ban people from seeking medication and treatment outside the country and prop up the collapsing local health delivery system.
“If indeed we are genuine in protecting local industry, why are we not extending the ban to all sectors of the economy including access to foreign medical facilities and services? The local health system has collapsed. It needs the same kind of support,” Mujuru said.
She said since Mugabe had failed, he must step down and call for fresh polls so that ordinary people are allowed to determine their future.
“In view of this myriad of problems, we challenge Robert Mugabe to call for fresh elections now to get a new mandate if he thinks people have forgotten his promises of two million jobs,” Mujuru said.
War veterans also urged government to lift the import ban, saying the decision had robbed the majority of unemployed citizens of their source of livelihood.
In an interview with South Africa’s Africa News Network7 (ANN7), Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association secretary-general Victor Matemadanda said they supported cross-border associations like many other citizens
“Our livelihood is coming from cross-border activities and when you close that without even prior notice, that is disastrous to us. How can we support our own killing? We are being killed,” he said.
“People should be given time and there must be alternatives. There is no industry that is running, there is no employment.
“They (people) are crying because there was no consultation, no alternative means of living. It’s like we have decided to kill our
own people, but people will not die easily. They will resist, they are resisting and if I was asked who I should support, I will support my wife because she must bring food home.”