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  • Price Controls and Shortages - Index of articles

  • WOZA protest price cut chaos
    Tererai Karimakwenda, SW Radio Africa
    August 06, 2007

    About 300 members of the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (MOZA) were joined by at least 300 Mutare residents in a demonstration to protest the food shortages that have resulted from the government's ongoing price control exercise. The peaceful demo included many school children and adults who joined in as the group passed through the poor high-density suburb of Sakubva. Holding placards and singing songs like "Akuna upfu" (There is no mealie-meal), "Chingwa chiripi?" (Where is the bread) and "Tofa nenzara!" (Shall we die of hunger), the group danced and interacted with local residents about the price cuts.

    Magodonga Malhangu, a WOZA coordinator, said they were airing their views about the government exercise that forced businesses to operate at a loss and left shelves empty. She added that there were no arrests this time and police did not interfere. "We only saw one police officer and people started singing "Mupurisa urikuona zvirikuitika? (Do you see what is happening) and he just walked the other way." said Mahlangu.

    The Mutare demo was the continuation of a campaign they started in Bulawayo a week ago when they delivered an open letter to business owners, manufacturers and the ministers of Industry and Commerce and Home Affairs. Mahlangu said they are demanding meaningful economic reforms, instead of the ill-planned price cuts that produced bad results. She said from the beginning people on the ground have been very cautious about the price cuts.

    Although they were happy to buy basic items at reduced prices, they were always aware it was a government gimmick to increase support ahead of the elections next year.

    The protest began at TM supermarket, and proceeded through Sakubva township where the numbers almost doubled as local residents joined in.

    Responding to accusations that WOZA and MOZA were targeting the wrong people by demonstrating at TM and other shops, she said they were not blaming all the shops, but the few corrupt ones who were selling to police officers and the uniformed forces who beat up people in the queues and buy the reduced products themselves. She explained that they wanted the business owners to bring the people's message to government since they have access to the authorities.

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