Published: Wed, January 16, 2019
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Fuel price hike sparks protests in Zimbabwe

Fuel price hike sparks protests in Zimbabwe

Internet services were cut by mid-morning on Tuesday, leaving many people without access to social media platforms amid accusations that the government wanted to prevent images of its heavy-handedness from being broadcast around the world.

"A memorandum of understanding was signed between the African Export-Import Bank and the Russian-Zimbabwean Great Dyke Investments on provision of project financing by this bank in the amount up to $192m", reported TASS.

"We are now seeing the results of a volatility that has been building for some time and that every one has been very complacent about", said Piers Pigou, an expert in Zimbabwe with the International Crisis Group.

The government announced an increase from 1.34 dollars for a litre of petrol to 3.31 dollars with diesel surging to 3.11 dollars per litre, igniting widespread discontent.

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested a prominent activist, Pastor Evan Mawarire, as protests against soaring fuel prices enter their third day.

There were no immediate response from the United States and Germany embassies in Harare at the time of going to press but the threats by government are contrary to Zimbabwe's mission to mend relations with the West.

Zimbabwe has hiked fuel prices by approximately 150% with effect from midnight on Sunday as President Emmerson Mnangagwa's government battles with crippling shortages that have seen motorists sleep in fuel queues.

The government has blamed the opposition and political rights groups for Monday's violence.

There were clashes in the capital, Harare, and in Bulawayo, as police engaged the youth who had started bonfires, and erected barricades as well as, in some cases, looted shops.

Official inflation is at 31 percent though many say the real rate is far higher.

The fuel price increases coincided with government's decision that the country will have its own currency within 12 months, thus jettisoning the United States dollar.

Security Minister Owen Ncube said the security action caused "loss of life" without giving figures on the number of dead and wounded. All the other networks including NetOne, Telecel and internet service providers also froze out their clients.

Fire, explosion kills 4,000 in Vietnam He said: "The government has today decided on the following corrective measures, with effect from midnight tonight, fuel pump price of $3.11 per litre for diesel and $3.31 for petrol will come into effect".

Ahead of the meeting with Putin, Mnangagwa told RIA Novosti news agency that he would be looking for financial support from Moscow.

Zimbabwe's government is trying to resuscitate the country's struggling economy.

"I call for calm and peace from all of our brothers and sisters". This comes amid reports of a clampdown on citizens by the military there.

A year ago he won a poll marred by violence and claims of election rigging.

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