Fuel protests in Zimbabwe turn deadly

Fuel protests in Zimbabwe turn deadly

Three people, including a police officer, died in Monday's violent protests over the fuel-price hike, Zimbabwe's information minister said on Tuesday.

In the city of Bulawayo, demonstrators attacked minibuses heading to the city centre and used burning tyres and stones to block the main routes into town. Political activist, Vimbaishe Musvaburi, witnessed the protests in Bulawayo which come a little more than a year after President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power.

Zimbabwe's powerful labor-union confederation called for a national strike starting at midnight after the government more than doubled fuel prices to among the highest in the world.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa said the fuel price rise is aimed at tackling shortages caused by an increase in fuel use and "rampant" illegal trading.

In announcing the new pricing regime, Mnangagwa said the new fuel prices are predicated on the need to keep fuel retailers viable.

Several people have been killed and hundreds arrested following protests in the capital, Harare, and Bulawayo.

He succeeded Robert Mugabe in November 2017, who ruled the country for 38 years.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa touched down in Russian Federation today, which is the first leg of his 5 nation trip which will end at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Zimbabwe's mobile phone networks and internet were partially shut down, with one industry source saying the systems had been jammed and many users complaining of limited access.

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At least 13 people had sustained gunshot wounds in and around Harare, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights said.

A three-day nationwide shutdown was called by workers' trade unions in protest.

The stay-away comes as a foreign-exchange shortage has sparked scarcities of everything from fuel to bread, caused doctors to stay away from work and companies to cut or cease production because they can't import raw materials.

"Our struggle is genuine and there must be economic reforms for the poor to survive".

The President is being accompanied by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water, Climate and Rural Resettlement Retired Air Chief Marshal Perrance Shiri, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Dr John Mangudya and Deputy Chief Secretary in the President's Office responsible for communication Cde George Charamba and senior government officials.

The bond notes, or "bollars", have lost value because of a lack of foreign currency backing the note, and are now worth much less than a dollar.

"I am not a politician and neither am I an economist but you don't need a rocket scientist to tell you that we are now headed for the worst following the fuel price madness", said William Masuku, 32, a auto dealer in Bulawayo, the country's second largest city.

"We are now seeing the results of a volatility that has been building for some time and that every one has been very complacent about", said Piers Pigou, an expert in Zimbabwe with the International Crisis Group.

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