Protests: Has Zimbabwe's Crisis Reached Tipping Point?

By Sij Ncube

Harare, July 05, 2016 – ON Monday, citizens woke up to a crippling strike by kombi operators in the capital Harare over corruption by traffic police.

This came as civil servants were also threatening a crippling industrial action over unpaid wages.

Last week, the Beitbridge border, the busiest entry point for the land-locked country, erupted into chaos over a government ban on the importation of basic commodities which are in short supply in most supermarkets.

Hundreds of cross-border traders and residents of Beitbridge violently demonstrated at the border town on Friday night leading to the torching of a Zimra warehouse, impounded cars and destruction of other property.

Fearing escalation of the revolt, the government was forced to lock-down the border town sending in soldiers and riot police in what ranks as one of the most unsettling public demonstrations for Mugabe since he was controversially re-elected in July 2013.

But it is the anger over his seemingly reluctance to deal with corruption in government which critics say has forced citizens to resort to taking to the streets and burning property. Both the public and private media have been awash in recent months with stories exposing corruption in government.

Last Friday, the Zimbabwe Independent charged that President Robert Mugabe and his office were complicit in the corruption in government after his in-laws were cherry-picked for plum multi-million dollar energy project.

In fact, more than half of Mugabe’s cabinet ministers have been fingered in bleeding government entities and have no qualms in driving around in latest car models.

Mugabe has been conspicuous by his lack of action despite documentary evidence incriminating some of his ministers.

With teachers and doctors resolving at the week to strike, critics point out Mugabe has been pushed to the wall by an angry population, adding it is the opportune moment for the long oppressed citizens to go for the jugular.

“The signs are evident the country is ripe for a revolution,” says political analyst Ricky Mukonza, a holder of a doctorate in public policy who teachers at South Africa’s Tshwane University of Science and Technology.

“People no longer have anything to loose and the crisis is indiscriminate as it is affecting everyone across all sectors of the society.”

Not helping matters for the 92-year old has been internal strife which was highlighted last week when a former Zanu PF spin-doctor Acie Lumumba showed Mugabe the middle finger in what critics say is indicative of how the mighty have fallen.

Admore Tshuma, a PHD holder on social policy and an expert in transitional journalism, says it was surprising Zimbabweans have not yet totally revolted against Mugabe after so much persistent misrule and injustices.

“Zimbabweans must come together and reject this shambolic administration which has created mass poverty and wants to prevent them from buying their choice of food from neighbouring countries,” said Tshuma.

But there is fear of Mugabe, who has preciously not hesitated to use state apparatus, particularly the partisan army, police and personal spies to crush dissent.

There was a heavy presence of police and soldiers in Harare on Monday.  

But critics are agreed citizens are fed up as mostly battle to put food on the table despite a seemingly fragmented opposition.

The government has blamed a so-called third force for the mayhem in Beitbridge which the opposition attributes to people power.

 

“Every revolution tends to be bloody. If Zimbabwe rise in their numbers and Mugabe’s administration responds by arresting and murdering civilians, then the U N security will definitely intervene but at the moment no foreign power can intervene because they see Zimbabweans as content,” said Tshuma.