Back to Index
police break up Zimbabwe protests
December 03, 2008
riot police broke up protests on Wednesday against the economic
and health crises plaguing Zimbabwe as a new 100 million dollar
bill was launched in the latest bid to combat runaway inflation.
As the UN's
World Health Organisation said a cholera epidemic had now claimed
565 lives, doctors and nurses who tried to deliver a petition against
the collapse of the once-envied health system ended up having to
run for cover.
And trade unionists
who tried to stage a protest against limits on cash withdrawals
also found themselves being beaten by the security forces in downtown
meanwhile vowed to punish soldiers who take part in looting, revealing
that incidents of unrest in the armed forces had been more widespread
than previously acknowledged.
Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the former British colony since independence
in 1980, has previously tried to cushion the public sector from
the ravages of an economic meltdown in a country with the world's
highest rate of inflation by giving them regular wages rises.
But the health
workers who tried to present a protest petition at the health ministry
in Harare said they were now struggling to feed their families.
Annual inflation was last put at 231 million percent in July, and
even that figure is now thought to have been surpassed many times
forced to work without basic health institututional needs like drugs,
adequate water and sanitation, safe clothing gear, medical equipment
and basic support services," they said in the protest letter,
signed by Amon Siveregi, chairman of Zimbabwe Doctors' Association.
workers can no longer afford to buy food and other basic goods and
services (since) most shops are now selling their commodities in
United States dollars and South African rand while the ministry
continues to pay us in Zimbabwean dollars."
The health system,
once regarded as a model for Africa, has been ravaged by a massive
brain drain and shortages of even the most basic drugs and equipment.
outbreak, which began last month, has added to the strain, with
water supplies cut off in Harare.
In its regular
update on the toll from the water-borne disease, the WHO said 565
people were known to have died and 12,546 cases had been reported.
The figure represents
a jump of 81 fatalities since a bulletin on Tuesday.
While the military
top brass has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Mugabe, the army has
been embarrassed by pictures of looting involving soldiers on Monday
night which have now been published in the government-run Herald
Sydney Sekeramayi acknowledged Monday's looting which targeted foreign
exchange traders was not an isolated incident and there had in fact
been five days of "disturbances".
the last five days, Harare experienced disturbances by a few unruly
elements from the defence forces," Sekeramayi said.
"As a result,
a number of properties were damaged, innocent people injured, money
and property stolen," he added.
are being taken so that this will not happen again. These incidents
are being investigated and those culpable would be brought to book."
inflation rate has led to widespread cash shortages and an increasing
number of transactions are only being conducted in US dollars.
bank has tried to counter the impact by regularly introducing new
currency denominations, including 27 this year alone.
The latest notes
will be 100 million, 50 million and 10 million bank bills and the
limit on withdrawals has been revised upwards to 50 million Zimbabwe
dollars for individuals and 100 million for company account holders.
The move comes
less than a month after the central bank introduced one million,
500,000 and 100,000 notes.
the country's meltdown on a limited package of sanctions imposed
by Britain and other Western nations after he allegedly rigged his
Talks on forming
a new power-sharing government in the aftermath of disputed elections
earlier this year have stalled in recent weeks.
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.