Zim braces for social upheaval

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF have been warned that the deadly riots which paralysed Beitbridge Border Post on Friday could signal the beginning of social unrest which could tear the country apart.

The warning came as police confirmed to the Daily News on Sunday yesterday that they were on high alert to deal with any disturbances ruthlessly, and at a time that angry civil servants are finalising their plans to embark on a crippling nationwide strike on Tuesday, as the government continues to battle to pay them their salaries.

MDC secretary general, Douglas Mwonzora, said the Beitbridge riots, as well as what he called “simmering discontent” among the populace with Zanu PF’s misrule could be a harbinger of worse things to come.

“The regime of Robert Mugabe is falling apart because of the simmering discontent among citizens. What happened in Beitbridge is only the beginning because there is more to come and we have predicted this in the past.

“We are in support of these revolts and we know the regime will fall before 2018 because government has no solution to what is happening, as well as the myriad challenges facing Zimbabweans,” he said.

Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) leader, Simba Makoni, also warned that tension was building up in the country and that ordinary people were feeling justified to hold demonstrations as Zimbabwe’s economy continued to die.

“Clearly, people are very angry not just about their well-being, but also by the clumsy way that those in leadership are treating them. This is especially so if you look at the situation of civil servants where they just wake up to hear that they will not be paid this month, all this without consultation.

“For the ordinary man on the street, the situation is exacerbated by the economic hardships he is enduring, the banning of imports and the introduction of bonds notes. There is no doubt that tension is slowly building up.

“People also feel that they have to demonstrate their unhappiness ... hence the Africa Unity Square vigil, the hash tag protests and recently the Beitbridge riots,” Makoni told the Daily News on Sunday.

Analysts also said the ongoing cash shortages and long bank queues, looming food shortages, the ban on the importation of basic commodities, an inevitable rise in basic food prices and the broke government’s failure to pay angry civil servants their June salaries did not bode well for continuing peace and stability in the country.

They said it was telling that normally pliant and peace-loving Zimbabweans were rioting against the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority in Beitbridge, after the cash-strapped government’s ban on the importation of basic commodities, which threatened the livelihood of tens of thousands of people and their families who live off street vending.

But Industry and Commerce minister Mike Bimha, who recently evoked Statutory Instrument 64 of 2016 — banning the importation of coffee creamers, Camphor creams, white petroleum jellies, body creams, baked beans, potato crisps, cereals, bottled water, mayonnaise, salad cream, peanut butter, jam, maheu, canned fruits and vegetables, pizza bases, yoghurts, flavoured milk, dairy juice blends, ice-creams, cultured milk and cheese, among other products — insisted yesterday that the ban would remain in place despite the riots.

“Government will not reverse the ban on basic goods imports simply because there are a few people demonstrating. While the decision could be hurting them it is important to also realise that it is in the interest of the wider economy.

“For a long time, government has not been taking action on these people while the country was being reduced to a supermarket. It could hurt four people but help 4 000 and that is not a problem because the few selfish individuals are killing the local industry.

“What kind of government would that be if we were to come up with a policy today only to reverse it tomorrow for the sake of a few selfish individuals?,” Bimha asked rhetorically when contacted by the Daily News on Sunday.

Meanwhile, while police said yesterday that they were on high alert to deal with any dissent, they dismissed the idea that they were working with soldiers.

“Everything is now back to normal in Beitbridge. Police have been heavily deployed and are patrolling the area. We are on high alert,” police spokesperson Charity Charamba said.

“Yesterday (Friday) we arrested three people and today we have arrested over 50 people, but the process of identifying the hooligans is still ongoing. The reports saying we got reinforcements from the army are false, it’s not a military situation. These people (rioters) are just hooligans.

“There was also not even one single injury yesterday. I just spoke to the officer commanding there and he confirmed that no one had been injured. We also did not use rubber bullets on civilians,” Charamba added.

Veteran economist John Robertson has been among the experts who have said that the decision to ban the importation of some commodities will result in the acute shortage of many basic goods, reminiscent of the 2008 era, as local companies had no capacity to fill the gap that was being filled by imports.

“Scarcity generates high prices and this often leads to a rise in black market, which will make life very difficult for ordinary citizens,” he said.

Robertson said the government should have put basic market fundamentals in place, to ensure that local industries were operating at full capacity before banning some imports.

“If we had enough time, perhaps industry could be revived, but that would all be dependent on fresh capital for retooling.

“Considering the fact that our government is broke and failing to meet its own wage bill, this capital can only come from foreign investors who, at this stage, would not want to hear about the indigenisation policy, government interference and lack of respect for property rights,” he said.

Previously seen as a regional breadbasket, Zimbabwe’s fortunes have plummeted precipitously over the past two decades, to the extent that today the country is viewed as a much-derided basket case.

So under pressure is the government, that Finance ministry permanent secretary Willard Manungo advised civil servants recently that their June pay dates had been moved to mid this month due to severe revenue under-performance — a dangerous situation that has caused discomfort, including among the country’s uniformed forces.

Friday’s Beitbridge riots temporarily forced the border post to shut down after protestors toyi-toyed for hours on the South African side of the border, apparently after being barred from marching on the Zimbabwean side.

Property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, including a rented Zimra warehouse, had also later been destroyed by the riots, with Zimbabwe police still to ascertain the exact extent of the damage.

Protesters were enraged by what they claimed was “insensitivity” on the part of the government which has made it almost impossible for people to import even basic foodstuffs.

On Monday, the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) issued letters to transporters threatening to seize any vehicle found to be carrying banned goods imported on open general import licences.

“We are appealing to you the transporters not to load any controlled goods for export to Zimbabwe when the owner has not shown you the proof that he or she has the import licence.

“Please note that your bus/combi/vehicle will be seized in the event that you transport any controlled goods in the absence of the import licence to cover the importation,” Beitbridge Border Post regional manager, BD Chadzingwa, warned.

Importers of these goods are now required to obtain licences justifying why they need the goods even as most local companies are operating below capacity and struggling to manufacture basic commodities owing to antiquated equipment and a lack of capital — raising questions about the government’s decision to ban some imports.

Comments (37)

the country cannot be held to ransom by the few hooliganism who cannot comprehend that govts intervention is to save jobs and stimulate local production,we will not pander to their whims,those in the habit of crossing the border and coming back to profiteer must know that their days are over,govt serves the wider population and not the interests of a few sharks or the opinions of rhodies styling themselves as economists

truth - 3 July 2016

Bimha you are foolish who are the selfish individuals you and your party cronnies.vanhu vezanu ndovachawana maimport licence iwaya munoda kuguta moga makave evanhu zvichapera chete.

Uth Maitano - 3 July 2016

Bimha you are foolish who are the selfish individuals you and your party cronnies.vanhu vezanu ndovachawana maimport licence iwaya munoda kuguta moga makave evanhu zvichapera chete.

Uth Maitano - 3 July 2016

Madoda sesizwile, tanzwa....Im cocksure now that this Mugabe guy is not Zimbabwean which is why he hates the country so much. He doesnt mind walking over dead bodies, as long as he is president. The only hope for Zimbabwe lies in this guy stepping down. Akomana tanzwa..

sandile - 3 July 2016


Ballista - 3 July 2016

@truth the idea of controlling imports is good in the right environment and if applied correctly. It seems Zimra's Beitbridge manager, Batsirai Chadzwanga needs to be educated on SI65 of 2016 since according to The Herald, they are applying to the wrong category of people by confisticating even small items like gifts and food for the journey. How can he expect travellers to have an import licence? How can he threaten to seize cross border buses for carrying listed items. If I fly from SA with SAA with listed items, will they confisticate the plane? We need to employ managers with common sense. Also Zimbabwe companies need to be competitive in quality, price and service of goods. The Energy Minister needs to produce electricity which is competitive by reducing corruption in tenders and employing suitable managers. He needs to investigate the purchase of equipment which was not fit for purpose which was bought by Hwange CC. Most mining companies I have visited use Volvo or Mitsubishi equipment. Some of the items on the list are not produced in Zim like clothing material. Do we have a wig manufacturer?

bexilford - 4 July 2016

Mr Bimha we don't need to ban imports in order to promote our local products. What sort of economics is that. Promote local production and everything else will fall in place. From a general point of view. Who can take the trouble to go and buy milk from South Africa when the country has such a commodity at a favourable price. Kana zvinhu zvave kuwanika muno kusanganisira mabasa monoona kuti the pressure mounting at our border posts will easy without implementing thses draconian polices. Matikuvadza varume. Asi chokwadi hamusi kuzviona here. How can a handful of people sitting pretty in their offices think that the millions of people who are protesting are crazy. Please guys you need to consult the people. Look at what happened in the UK, people were given the choice to choose between staying in EU or opt out. Despite the fact that the Prime Minister was on the losing side. The will of the people was respected. Ndiyo democracy Mr. Bimha not zvinyu zvekutonga nedemo izvi. This will not get us anywhere gentleman. Lets consults the people. That way life will be easy for everyone. I also want to urge all those who say bad language to try and just express their opinions to these guys in our Government offices. We wont win anything by calling them names. Lets show them that we are mature and peace loving people despite them taking us for granted.

felix - 4 July 2016

I personaly wuld want action taken on imports and usage of expensive Rovas n Mercs by government.Willowvale closed coz of lack of business.Mazda is willowvale is capable of assembling a good executive car that can be used by ministers n perm secs.If state were to give orders to willovale,jobs will be created,in workshops n parts supply.Assembly plants are lying idle in Mutare,no use.Start by doing that honourable duty of banning imports of mercs by CMED and resort to local products I.e mazda.Dont ban commodities that affect majority pple.

viola gwena - 4 July 2016

Im informed since the last 2 elections ,inclusive government + the current one,CMED has spent $120 000000, on imported cars.Every minister n deputy ,permsecs, have all requested top of the range mercs n rovas as company cars,simply put.Willowvale mazda industries culd have givern the same locally assembled cars at 52 000000.Imployment culd have been created,lots of employment.So Mr Bimha look at this now if yu realy care.Just take a look in yo garrage.look at the cars the Bitis are driving ,they took as parkage.Look at kasukuwere s vehicles.This is madnes.crazy niggers running the show.This extrvagance is not seen in EU .Auction all ministers mercs n place an order at willowvale.That includes yu opposition,sell yo expensive mercs n place an order at willowvale.That Ndudzo is fast asleep coz of no work.

viola gwena - 4 July 2016

A good point there Felix. And for Mr Bmha to ask "What kind of government would that be if we were to come up with a policy today only to reverse it tomorrow...." I say don't worry man, we know it might hurt your intelligence but swallow the pride and follow what is good for the people. It will do you more good than harm if you consider the people's wishes rather than forcefully embracing your ideas only because 'you cane up with the policy today so you can't change it tomorrow'. Take a good lesson from Zuma when the economy was destined to an eminent crash, he never hesitated to make a u-turn. Pride is nothing, reality is what matters most. If your critics say you changed because you listened to the people that will go to show the good leader in you 'Who listens to the people he serves." Don't feel challenged.

zc - 4 July 2016

What is wrong when I buy items from SA. I work here bec there are no jobs back home and so there is no externalisation of forex to talk about. Actually I should promote SA industry nekuti ndokune hupenyu hwangu. zimra newe BIMHA tikwanirei. Getting a licence to buy 10g of potato chips for my ecd kid. Ndo BUSH economics dze Zanu

you & i - 4 July 2016

foolish Bimha

mkanya - 4 July 2016

Minister Bimha you are not serious when you say the ban will only affect a few pple, to shows us that you are operating in yo own community, u hav no qualities to be in that office. Your ban is affecting the greater part of the population including the orphans, the disabled and other vulnerable groups. Is it the best intervention at this point in time? Gvt has no care at all.

toindepi - 4 July 2016

anomborewei kana achiti a few selfish individuals,,, how many people are living on retailing,, ivo vanoenda kunotenga god knws where vachipinza zvavo duty free...

neniwo ndatsamwa - 4 July 2016

some animals are more equal than other animals.

neniwo ndatsamwa - 4 July 2016

Viola great.I trained n worked at willowvale,now I work in s.a .I was layed off,no work.

andrew - 4 July 2016

@truth, you are missing the point. People are not importing for luxury. People are importing for survival. Right now there is no disposable income and the few locally available goods are way expensive. No ordinary person will afford them. Many people have been turned vendors and were surviving as cross border traders. Right now they have nowhere to start. Mind you they have families. Everyone wants to eat locally ,manufactured goods but they are too expensive. The government should have started the process, step by step, incentivising local manufacturers in others ways until such a point they put the measures. By the way implementing laws overnight always crates chaos and confusion. We all support buy zimbabwe campaign but we need things to be done professionally and step by step. Right now the govermnment is jumping from this to that treatoing symptoms and not fundamental causes. By the way this demo at Beitbridge was not caused by opposition. Its about Zimbabweans whose livelihoods are threatened. As long people see their livelihoods being threatened, they will always find a way to express their discontent. Its high time the government takes its people seriously in matters to do with policy. Musatambe nevanhu, nyoika vanhu iyi.

Viona Ngwena - 4 July 2016

@ Truth you have no authority to call the suffering lot of our citizens expressing anger on your Zanu PF regime's failures and corruption. IF I can ask you where is Geshom Pasi and company and how much public money did they still?. I also need to know where are the 2 million Jobs enshrined in your foolish Zimaset manifesto. It's a shame that you can't even show remorse to the people who have been pushed beyond limit. In short I am trying to tell you that the Beitbridge demonstrators are not hooligans but freedom fighters for the benefit you and I. With this level of anger I do not see Zanu PF winning against the determined people of Zimbabwe. We are fed up of being ruled by animals who had the privilege of learning only how to speak. Tajamuka and Sesijikile. Handei tione/ Asambeni sibone.

Ndabazezwe Viki - 4 July 2016

@ Truth wanted to say call hooligans and the proper spelling is steal.

Ndabazezwe Viki - 4 July 2016

Ndudzo,the head of willowvale once said if given $5million ,he culd order kits n reemploy 700, mechanics to start operations .To this day nothing bt state is importing 5 landcruisers for 5 minister costing $5m.This nonsense must be blamed on the state leadership,the presidium. How are they insensitive to this madness.? President Mugabe is too old to deal wth this,let alone even think about this.His 2 deputies ,the 2 VPs are solely to blame.Chinamasa has been grilled in france on the idle french assembly plant in Mutare,.He failed to give a good answer.This huge car import bill by the state and yet we have Assembly plants here.The brttish ministers drive their own cars,germans mercs n bmw,italians fiat.what is wrong wth our politicians.

viola gwena - 4 July 2016

I agree with you guys. this is not the right environment to impose controls on imports. if the commodities flood the market then there will be no noise at the boarder. Instead what ZIMRA should be doing is charging modest duty and sustain whoever they are giving the money. Truly speaking what they are trying to implement is not going to work. Smith's regime during sanctions managed to produce 63 commodities. They were not looting the financial resources available instead they were supporting. The worst scenario existing at the moment is that the scarce financial resources available are being used to purchase the latest wheels at the expense of sustaining the country. This could also be a ZANU PF strategy to force the ordinary masses into submission because by starving them just like the Korean government which starved it citizens into submission. However, this time it will not work because your Southern African neigbhours are tired of ZANU PF rhetoric. KASUKUWERE yesterday said these demonstrations are minor trying trivialise the situation on the ground. He looted to build a mansion large enough to accommodate a primary boarding school of 1000 pupils. At the moment he is busy destroying the towns so that they can continue looting. Do not fool yourself Kasukuwere. You are going to be a fugitive soon because in the new Zimbabwe there will be no space for you. BIMHA AND ZIMRA, YOUR STRATEGIES ARE ANTI PEOPLE. THINK AGAIN.

mataka - 4 July 2016

KuSouth hapasi pano Mr Bimha, its a long way kwekuti dai basa racho raiwanika kana kuti chimwe zvacho chingakwanisike kuitwa handifungi taiita more than 12hours wakagara mubus going to S.A,zvinotorwadza izvi. Tomboti since murimi muripanyanga chitiudzaiwoka zvingatiraramise? Ipapa tikada kuziya kuti venyu vana varipi we find out that they are at some foreign expensive colleges. Ko vedu vatinavo kuno vodyei? ?

Ek - 4 July 2016

the only solution to mugabe regime is tunisia uprising,no freedom has ever come on a silver plate. mugabe is cruel and lucifarian. at 92 he still want to cling to power, mboko is staying in a hotel 4 two years, hes quiet, wat kind of a president is that. mazu imbavha and all must die //. guys lets all go in streets,, we need our nation back ..period

madzibaba - 4 July 2016

the only solution to mugabe regime is tunisia uprising,no freedom has ever come on a silver plate. mugabe is cruel and lucifarian. at 92 he still want to cling to power, mboko is staying in a hotel 4 two years, hes quiet, wat kind of a president is that. mazu imbavha and all must die //. guys lets all go in streets,, we need our nation back ..period

madzibaba - 4 July 2016

Wataura mwana wamai.Handizivi kuti sei vanhu vasingaongorore kwakabva Bob.He took Malawians&gave them houses because he is from Malawi.Haana basa nesu maZimbabwe.Thats why he ignores our complaints. Chizukuru icho chisinakuendeswa kwababa vacho.Zimbabweans are not as selfish as This animal

matsotsi - 4 July 2016

Our current Government is in the comfort zone and very relaxed as well as not in touch with reality and they have to smell the coffee. Can they read abook titled Who moved my Cheese and soon they will know that times are moving and its high time they become pro active.

Tapiwa - 4 July 2016

Thank you for cleaning dirty at Beitbridge border post. Rubish start at border post and travels along the highway until it evades our offices here in Harare. More fire at the border please,

ziso - 4 July 2016

Munhu wese paposition pake tozoona asina position. If you want foreign currency go to the bank and not at Road port, if you want tomatoes, potatoes and cabbige grow it in Zimbabwe not to import it, if you want shoes let employees from former Bata and GND Shoes manufacture for you and not bring us plastic shoes while exporting our hard earned foreign currency. More fire please at border posts. Munhu wese pa position.

ziso - 4 July 2016

Enforcing regulations to help support and promote local producers on the face of it is a good thing but everyone has to realize that there are many other factors that relate to supply and demand that need to be taken into consideration before cutting off all trans border imports or transactions. Let us remember that some of our Government officials were and probably still are some of the very worst offenders when it comes to illicit trade in currency or imports? So implementing this border control restrictions is likely to affect and harm some of the poorest people who try and make a small living out of importing small amounts of food and other essential items. Why doesn't our President set a good example and start using our own Government hospitals instead of spending so much money on flying abroad, not just for himself but his family as well? Very sad days for Zimbabwe.

Mbewa - 4 July 2016

Zimbabwe ARISE, Operation Shutdown Zimbabwe, The masses have Revolted.

White Horse - 4 July 2016

Lets Take to the streets. MUGABE must GO. MPOKO must Resign. Enough is enough

Machipisa - 4 July 2016

@viola @viona @felix you have a real grasp of the issues. @truth is burying his head in the sand

bexilford - 4 July 2016

Companies have been closing down since 2002, Where ahs this government all along? Zanu PF took all the farmes and they are producing nothing. They took all diamond fields in chiadzwa and they have kept all the sales proceeds in Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore, etc. Zanu PF have failed dismally. We are worse off than we were in Rhodesia. What a shame!

Mbareboy - 4 July 2016

As much as we want to buy locally produced products, most of the masses can not afford them anymore. When it is cheaper to import food than buying locally produced, there is something definitely wrong.

Zim7 - 5 July 2016

Mugabe and his scumbags must go behold the revolution we have suffered enough

tendai mhashu - 5 July 2016

you have been fooling people since independence, labelling those who are opposed to your views as dissidents. Not Zimbabweans have to be killed because they are opposed to your draconian rules and thugery. You unleashed Gukurahundi on Shona moderates and Ndebeles. Now its your turn. Tichakuteverayi mumvura nekumakomo. Hupfumu hwenyika tochautora. We will deal with your children, just like you have murdered our brothers, sisters and parents. Chimurenga/Umvukela wevanavevhu/abantwana benhlabathi is a tsunami. It will only take its natural course. No one will stop us. This serves as a warning to the next government to respect its citizenry. Alluta continua

mdolomba - 5 July 2016

@truth ... I suspect you are one of those people who has become wealthy from corruption, and that you are so desperate that you here peddling your dishonest propaganda as the last kick of a dying donkey. Either that, or you have all the intelligence of the family of fleas that infest my dog's private parts, and you are to be pitied for being so misled and brainwashed. Which is it? Do you really believe these decisions by Government are for the good of the people? Do you even comprehend economics at all yourself? Yet you judge others based on skin colour, even though they are more qualified than you? At this point in Zimbabwe, it is no longer about black and white - it is about people, and it is about humanity. Don't bring your reverse racism here - there is no place for those excuses in Zimbabwe any more. Have you not stopped to ask yourself who will be issued with the licenses to import these commodities? Does it not occur to you that it will be those very politicians who are creating these regulations, because they know they will get even richer by taking control of such imports and personally profiting. Are you really so naive and stupid, or are you one of the selfish, corrupt people individuals who gains to profit from this? What you say means nothing, and nobody will take your foolishness seriously. When a person comes across a dog turd, they will simply step around it to avoid carrying the stink on their shoes. This is exactly how your ignorant comments will be treated. We will just step around you. One of your two brain cells is asleep. Please wake it up so that it can meet the other one for the first time. Let them shake hands and start working together so that you can start to speak a bit more intelligently.

realtruth - 5 July 2016

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