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Price Controls and Shortages - Index of articles
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
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
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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